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Recently, I became famous

28 Apr 2024 6 minute read
Screenshot of Euron Griffiths in TfW advert

Euron Griffith

Recently I became famous. It crept up on me unawares and it wasn’t at all what I expected.

Having spent a considerable amount of my youth knocking around in bands and playing the so-called ‘toilet circuit’ in pursuit of that elusive record deal I assumed that fame, when it eventually came (and I had the idealism and cockiness to believe that it was only a matter of time), would be represented by a limo, champagne, oodles of cash, a David-Essex-in-Stardust-type castle in Spain and some kind of drug implosion followed by the inevitable Priory sojourn.

There would be cameras and paps. Tabloids would feature photos of me— arm in front of face as I bundled my latest fling into the back of a chauffeured Range Rover— and I’d moan about the intrusion of the press at every given opportunity having spent half a lifetime pleading for their attention. But fame wasn’t like that. At least, not the kind of fame I’ve recently experienced.

It began with innocuous little signs. Someone at the local Co-Op supermarket would glance at me for just a little too long perhaps.

A lady on a bus would nudge her companion and nod in my direction, muttering something under their breath. The companion’s face would light up with a flicker of excitement. Oh my God, yes, you’re right! It is him!

Vanity crashed

Of course, at first, vanity crashed into my head with the full force of a rhino. Having published six novels I wondered if, perhaps, there had been a sudden rush on my books and that I should immediately run home and check my bank account.

After all, the Golden Eagle of Fame had settled on Richard Osman’s shoulders comparatively quickly and so why shouldn’t it also settle on mine?

Two reasons really. My instinctive jealousy concluded that the Golden Eagle of Fame was probably the laziest bird in the whole ornithological world and it had merely chosen to land on the closest and most convenient landing zone— Osman, lest we forget, being almost seven feet tall.

But, realistically, through gritted teeth I had to concede that Osman wrote best-sellers whereas my efforts were considered major hits if they achieved a rank of below 30,000 on Amazon.

So it wasn’t my novels. Perhaps it was something more fundamental? And maybe it wasn’t ‘fame’ at all. Maybe it was just my amazing looks that was generating all these double-takes and nudges?

The sales bumf had claimed that the styling gel I’d recently bought would generate astonishing results even for blokes like me with, er, difficult (i.e. receding) hair.

Now, each morning, I approached my barnet with the reverence and dedication of an origami master— carefully folding this bit there…then pulling this bit over— and it was clearly working judging by the semi-admiring, semi-fearful glances I was generating.

True beauty, so I’d been told, could be intimidating to other mere mortals and so this, I assumed, was all normal stuff and I responded with a gentle, but self-assured and patronizing, smile.

Man with the dog

My vanity in both instances was immediately quashed when one woman in the Co-Op bravely approached me and asked if I was the man with the dog.

One simple question and my world came crashing down all around me like a Lego Niagara.

Of course I was the man with the dog! Now it all made sense. All those looks on buses and pubs and on the streets! Because a year or so ago I got the gig of being a bloke walking his dog on a TV commercial for Transport for Wales.

I’d done a few of these things before— together with one or two brief appearances in Pobol y Cwm— but these jobs came and went and I forgot them just as easily as everyone watching them did. In this instance however, the TV advert with the dog was refusing to go away. It had followed me home and now I was having to keep it.

Because I never watch ITV Wales (unless it’s drama on catch-up) I had no idea that this little snippet of me walking the dog was receiving such extensive coverage. But it was on every night just before the early evening news. Every night! Prime time! No wonder I was being recognized in the street!

I had to go back and apologize to the guy up the road who’d asked me how my dog ‘Alfie’ was. I’d assumed he was a bit mad (and I’d made no real effort to hide my assumption) because he’d seen me many times with my dog and he knew that my dog was called ‘Peggy’, not ‘Alfie’.

Seven seconds

But now it all made sense because the rough plot of my seven seconds on screen is as follows— bloke (that’s me), walks through woods, turns, calls out the name of his dog, dog comes bounding through the tall grass, bloke smiles. And the dog’s name is Alfie.

Warhol’s claim that we might all be famous for 15 minutes in the future was clearly pushing it a bit. For me, it was seven seconds. Seven little seconds that have made me re-evaluate my ideas on fame. Because we don’t end up getting the fame we think we deserve.

When I die perhaps the person delivering the eulogy will talk about my achievements— six novels, my various bands, my acting work, my voice-overs.

People who hardly knew me may be sitting there thinking ‘gosh, I never knew he did so many things.’

There may be a music and a slide show. It’s here, when they see my face (hopefully as a much younger man) that they’ll nudge each other. Of course, they’ll whisper. He was the dog man.

A Casual Life: In Six T-shirts by Euron Griffith is published by Seren and available in bookshops.

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