I was on TV this morning. I got off the train at Flinders Street station all set to go to work. As I approached the set of lights on the corner of Swanston and Flinders street, I observed a ripple of excitement in the crowd there, including a bunch of schoolgirls getting very schoolgirlish, and everyone else craning their necks around to take in something over my right shoulder.
I’m prone to disregard such herd behaviour, but after a bit, I dropped the nonchalant act and turned around to find there was a roving film crew from one of the breakfast shows. My immediate reaction was ho-hum, but as I turned back to the front, I caught from the corner of my eye one of the hosts pointing my way, as if to say, that’s our man.
It was no surprise a few moments later to feel a hand on my shoulder. When I turned around, there was a camera pointed at my face, a couple of smiling hosts, and a bunch of production crew and promotional staff arms full of chocolate.
They asked my name. I told them. They urged the gathered crowd to give H a round of applause. The crowd applauded. I was told if I could identify this ‘noted celebrity’ – the man next to me – I would win the block of chocolate he was holding.
I knew his face, and his name was somewhere in the depths of my mind. I ventured a guess. “Andrew?” I said speculatively.
Yes, they erupted with pleasure, then said they would come back to the rest of my answer after this weather forecast. I stood there while the host did his weather report from the street. I chatted to the noted celebrity, who was a lovely bloke. I murmured to him that I couldn’t remember his name. His eyes darted to the camera, then he leaned in and whispered in my ear “O’Keefe”.
The weather report done they turned back to me, poised expectantly for my answer. “Andrew,” I repeated, pausing theatrically, then, with a speculative, uncertain note in my voice, “O’Keefe?”
The crowd exploded. The bewildering cheer of breakfast TV people was dialled up to 11. I was congratulated on air, all of it by now a blur to me, as Andrew O’Keefe generously offered me all the chocolate.
There were smiles all round and laughter as I was plied with chocolate, probably 40-50 bars of it. I still had a way to go to work, so I had to put it down. I opened my bag and my new mate Andrew helped me shove chocolate bars into it, taking the time to compliment me on my overcoat. I probably managed to jam in about 30 bars, but had to leave the rest with them. We bid smiling farewells and off to work I went.
I then discovered how many people watch breakfast TV – more than I imagined. By the time I got to work, there was a photo of me on screen posted to Facebook by a friend. I received messages. A business acquaintance sent me an email with another photo proclaiming me famous now.
All very embarrassment for a humble character like me.
That’s about 5-6 minutes of fame, but when you add it to other episodes – a vox pop years ago, and an interview I did for a lifestyle program after I’d bought a house at auction – then it probably adds up to about 15 minutes so, theoretically, I’m done.
Little do they know…