I have a distinctive memory of being 7 years old and having a Bros poster on my bedroom wall. Another one is when I was about 11 and thinking, “What will I be famous for?” I didn’t even question the assumption that I should be famous, and to be fair, I haven’t since. The thing I am most ‘famous’ for is being a politician. Fancy picking two interests that repel so many people: poetry and politics! Just today I was enjoying a coffee when someone asked me, “Neil, why isn’t there a litter bin *and* a dog bin on the corner of my street?” I bet Pharrell Williams never gets asked about bins.
Why can’t I just accept a pleasant life of anonymity? Why the constant desire to ‘stand out’? I bet the secretary of the Wyre Piddle Stamp Collecting Federation doesn’t want to be famous. I bet people in lighthouses don’t want to be famous. The man I saw drinking a can of Carling at 7:40am this morning didn’t look like he cared about being famous. Perhaps he used to be famous? Transient fame; fame is transient, like everything else…
I thought I’d look up the lyrics for When Will I Be Famous? How spooky that these are actual lyrics in the song:
‘…You’ve read Karl Marx…’
‘You’ve suffered for your art
With the jogging in the park…’
Not that I’ve read Marx, but I did write a poem about him. Not that I’ve truly suffered for my art, but I do a lot of jogging. Such forced coincidences and striving for meaning!