Sunday, 16 September 2012

The weirdness of slight fame

People want to be famous.  In fact, nowadays they seem to want to be famous just for the sake of it and probably expect to get money and power with it, or something, maybe sex.  Yes, probably that too.  Not something which occurs to me.  Anyway, here's this:

We are very slightly famous on occasion (despite my apparent complete lack of telegenicity ^^^^).  Namely, the children have been on the TV and newspapers, i've been in TV documentaries and news and current affairs programmes and Liz has of course been in magazines and newspapers and on the TV because, to quote "Black Books", she quaffs pints of her own whizz (or is it "wizz"?).  However, fame is a weird thing because it just goes off on its own and has a life of its own, apparently.  You don't have any control on what you're famous for, and the things for which you are known float away and have a life of their own, which is hard to handle because you sort of put stuff out there and then people draw their own conclusions about who you are.

The Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges wrote about this in his story Borges y Yo.  He describes the situation of writing stories for publication and having knowledge of the stranger out there whom everyone calls Borges.  It's a short-short and he notes at the end that he doesn't know who has written the story.  He also notes that he finds himself pompous and annoying and i share this dissatisfaction with him about the other person depicted up there who did this video.  I'm also irritated by the person who wrote this blog, and i wonder if they're the same person in fact.  Maybe this blog is actually written by someone who is stalking the person uploading the YouTube vids, though goodness knows why they think it's worth the effort.  They are both me of course, and neither of them are me.  For more on this aspect, you might want to read the story itself here:

There's also a PDF on certain philosophical aspects of the story here:

However, i also afflict Liz with this problem.  For years after we married, i used to have the occasional experience of seeing a real woman in the distance (these were not hallucinations - the people i saw really existed so far as i know but in a sense that doesn't matter) and mistake it for Liz.  The following thought would then occur:  "Hmm, that looks like Liz Gray.  I wonder what she's doing nowadays."  This impression finally faded when i observed her as part of a training course in adult education.  I sat in on one of her excellent Yoga classes and took notes, and i finally discovered what that figure in the distance with whom i was vaguely acquainted was doing:  she had become an excellent Yoga teacher.

Once i had had that experience, my previous weird impression that Liz was both my wife and a virtual stranger i hardly knew was gone.  I knew what had become of that stranger and that she was both a Yoga teacher and my wife.

I have this image of our rather weedy, pathetic fame which is constantly on the blink and needs the occasional thump to keep the picture from constantly flickering as being a long stick with us at one end and "us" at the other.  It seems absurdly easy to generate tiny bits of fame but it doesn't matter at all, they seem to mean very little and have no apparent connection with any kind of success.  Also, they seem to move along railway lines and we can't control the brakes or the points.  Fame is a train, not an off-the-road vehicle.