I've had a pretty grim week. So I thought I'd have a fairly light hearted Satuday blog. I was chatting with friends about the various famous people I've bumped into around the Borough. This was sparked because we are having our five a side football dinner at the end of the month. On one occasion, we had it at The Gallery in Hendon and when we walked in, Pat Jenniongs and Pat Rice (famous Arsenal players from the 1970's) were having a pint at the bar. Of coure I run Mill Hill Music Complex studios and we've had all manner of famous people popping in, such as Kylie Minogue, Tom Jones, Josh Homme, David Soul, Matt Berry, The Damned, Madness, Iwan Thomas etc. But they don't count for this list, as you'd sort of expect them to be at a studio! No this list is where I've just found myself next to them by accident.
Who have you bumped into in and around the Borough? Here's my top ten!
1. Mike and Bernie Winters in Mill Hill Broadway. I was out with my good friend Paul Hircombe (RIP) walking his Jack Russell dog called Reg. As we walked past Mike and Bernie emerged from the Day of The Raj Tandoori. Bernie engaged Paul in a conversation about Reg, saying that he was a very sensibly sized dog. Paul shot back "Well Bernie, size isn't everything" It was a great moment and they were lovely guys.
2. Arsene Wenger in Waitrose in Totteridge. We used to do our weekly shop at Waitrose and the then go for lunch at Al Fresco on a regular basis. One time Arsene Wenger was in the queue behind us. He was on his mobile phone the whole time and gave off a very firm "I don't want anyone to talk to me" vibe. As I'm not an Arsenal fan, that was fine with me.
3. Les Ferdinand in The Orange Tree. Many a footballer over the years has been spotted in The Orange Tree. If you aspire to be a wag, it is a great place to hang out! We went for a meal there about ten years ago. The table next to us was reserved. When they arrived, it was QPR legend Les Ferdinand. He was quite friendly.
4. Tony Blackburn at The Wacky Warehouse. The Harvester at The Green Man in Mill Hill was "The Wacky Warehouse" for a while ( a play area for toddlers). I had the rather strange experience of standing next to Tony Blackburn at a urinal. As we washed our hands, he smiled and said "we must stop meeting like this". He had a toddler and then told me his kid loved the place. He seemed like a nice enough chap.
5. Joe Kinnear at The Rising Sun. Joe Kinnear, Spurs Legend and former Newcastle manager lives in Mill Hill. I've often seen him at the Rising Sun. He is a decent guy and a friend asked him if he could open the Mill Hill Village Youth Team gala and he was delighted to.
6. Sporty Spice at David Lloyd club in Finchley. I used to belong to David Lloyd club in Finchley. I'd go every Saturday morning and do 40 mins on the running machine. When I was running, I liked to be in the zone and not be disturbed. Sporty Spice also used to use the gym and always went on the machine next to me, because she knew I wouldn't talk to her and let her get on. She would give me a friendly nod and then get on. I felt sorry for her, because people would bug her and ask of she could open their kids summer fete etc. She'd always say "I'm running, send a message to our manager".
7. Margaret Thatcher at a bus stop in Finchley. She was out canvassing in the early 1970's, I assume it was for the 1975 EEC referendum as there was a film crew with her, so she must have been Tory Leader (I had assumed it was the 1974 election, but when I did some research, the 1975 referendum seems more likely). She asked my name and I told her. I was waiting for a 221 bus. It turned out she knew my mother and sent her regards.
8. Prime Minister Jim Callaghan in Burnt Oak. When I was at Orange Hill School in 1979, someone said that Jim Callaghan would be holding a campaign rally at the Labour club in Back Lane. Myself and Boz Boorer and Phil Bloomberg bunked off lessons and made our way down. We got to shake hands with the (soon to be deposed) Prime Minister. He was a big chap with a lot of presence. I couldn't envisage any way he'd not be Prime Minister 3 weeks later.
9. Paul Gascoigne in Anstees Bakery in Mill Hill. Spurs used to train at Chase Lodge in Mill Hill. As part of his training regime, he'd stock up on pies at Anstees bakery on the corner of Mill Way and Mill Hill Broadway. Gazza was great, he'd always chat and have a laugh. I was in the queue behind him, with Ray Taylor, a mate of mine (who is an Arsenal fan). Ray, with a straight face, caught Gazza's eye and said "Rog, do you know who that is?" Gazza turned around with a big smile. Ray then announced "it's that famous footballer Paul, erm er, ....... Davis" (Paul Davis was a black player, who played for Arsenal). Gazza roared up laughing.
10. The Tornados at Kellys Corner Garage, Mill Hill East. When I was a very small child, The Tornados were one of the top bands in the UK. One of my earliest memories is going to Kellys Corner garage to fill up the car with Petrol. There was a van parked there with some guys in it. My elder siblings were rather excited and told me that The Tornados were in it. Stuart Taylor, who was the guitarists, family ran the garage. When we got home, they put Telstar on the turntable. It seemed very exciting! Years later, my Dad told me a funny story about the band and their van. It was a very old beaten up banger, on its last legs. The band were on tour, with a load of very expensive new guitars and amplifiers. They stopped off at a pub for a pint and a pie. When they came out, the van was gone. They were gutted, all their gear was worth thousands. They then noticed that the theif had carefully unloaded it all on the side of the road and simply taken the van, that was worth nothing.
Have a great weekend.