Due to the incredibly ridiculous nature of my job as a celebrity gossip-er, I often find myself attending the ludicrous and speaking to the bonkers.
This week was no different to that, in fact I really think I’ve out-randomed myself. And this comes from someone who owns Pauline Fowler’s Blankety Blank badge, a bottle of Dan Akroyd’s vodka, once interviewed Status Quo in a Wetherspoons and Hi-de-hi’s Paul Shane in a back room of Barnsley Leisure Centre while he sat in a garden chair next to an enormous sack of crisps.
The top ten most random celebrity moments I’ve found myself in the middle of is a pretty tight contest. But on Wednesday night there was a new contender in town.
Hope you are well.
Dame Gillian Lynne would like to invite you to the Garrick Club on Wednesday 9th April, from 5.30 – 7pm where she will be making a special announcement, sharing the secrets behind her remarkable vitality and longevity.
This special event will be attended by some close friends in the industry including amongst others; Arlene Phillips, Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Dame Monica Mason, Tamara Rojo, Michael Ball and Elaine Paige.
As most of you will know, Gillian has had a remarkable career spanning seven decades, beginning as a much acclaimed ballerina in the 40′s, going on to direct/choreograph over 50 West End and Broadway musicals, 11 feature films, award winning television drama and numerous television specials. She is best known for her collaborations with Andrew
Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh, and her ground breaking work on Cats and The Phantom of The Opera.
Dame Gillian continues to be as busy as ever in her 88th year, with a new ballet premiering this autumn and several other projects spanning through 2015.
Please do join us for this unique event.”
Ooh – I thought – WHAT COULD SHE BE LAUNCHING???????????? No, actually, I thought ‘Mmm they sound like good people to go and speak to and it fits in with the other job I’ve got later so might as well pop along and see what the Garrick Club is like as they still won’t let women be members so be nice to go and swipe my boobs on the doors or spray perfume in the toilets.’
So I go along and am led up to this tiny room stuffed with oldies and poshies and stare-y women, with about thirty massive paintings of earls and lords (the olden day LADS). I search among the grey crowd and see Arlene Phillips and a gaggle of skinny old ladies in baggy jumpers with scrunchies in their hair. But which one is Dame Gillian? There are quite a few that could be her so in the absence of recognising any PRs I just go for the old ‘mooch and eavesdrop’ – a honed technique diarists use where you lip read or pootle over to the loudest chatters and see if they are with who you’re looking for. CLUE: If someone immediately stares back at you, or eats Japanese cracker from the canape bowls, it’s NOT A CELEBRITY.
Finally the announcement comes, so I rest easy. A sprightly Dame Gillian, who looks a lot like a softer (nicer) version of Dame Maggie Smith, shushes everyone and her husband Peter Land, a sort of sexageneraian Richard E Grant, introduces LONGEVITY THROUGH EXERCISE: THE DVD. Slamming my champagne glass down I grabbled for my iPhone to capture what was about to come on a TV screen fixed behind the pair of them.
A fitness DVD, by an 88-year-old, in a members club that doesn’t allow women.
Yes – this is top ten material.
Dame Gillian is stood on a pathway stretching and limbering and showing off her incredible agility while telling us to “put your buttocks right up in the air, that’s it, riiiight up”. Well it’s alright for her, she’s been doing this for SEVEN decades. After five more minutes of eye-watering viewing, husband Peter, a classical actor don’t you know, then asked everyone to toast to his wife’s longevity, which was lovely, yet creepy. It felt a bit like we were all supposed to raise a glass to someone who should not be here still but is because they can still do the splits, which is creepy, right? Dame Gillian herself was pretty awesome. She’s got pins in her feet and two metal hips but she told me afterwards that “the word retirement should be removed from the dictionary.”
What a woman.
What a head fuck.
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