The ghost of Emma Thompson came back to haunt me the other week. And she’s not even dead.
She used to go to a school in the same neighbourhood as mine (Camden/Hampstead, London) and from the ages of 15 and 16 onwards we would turn up at the same parties. While I went out with a friend of hers (now a national magazine editor), for a few, innocent, adolescent months, she went out with three or four of my school colleagues. While they weren’t quite forming an orderly queue, this behaviour was remarked upon with some boyish glee. Then, with the split from the magazine editor, I stopped circulating in such refined regions.
About a year later, I was on the top deck of a bus going through Golders Green when a girl walked past and said “Hello Simon!” I wasn’t on drugs or alcohol at the time, but I simply didn’t recognise her so I tried to be polite by saying: “You are who I think you are, aren’t you?”
She replied with a hint of impatience, “Yes, Simon – Emma Thompson.”
I am now convinced that that was the pivotal moment for her. From then on, she decided that she was going to become world famous and no-one would ever forget who she was ever again. Yes. It was I who created the Emma Thompson Monster.
Her startling career since then has been fascinating watch, and I often wondered what she would be like if I ever met her again. Despite hundreds of corporate and fundraising entertainment jobs where I have met the cream of British TV, comedy and film talent, we just never bumped into eachother. The nearest we came to it was when I asked Ben Elton to remember me to her. (I don’t suppose he did.)
Until a week ago last Thursday! Or so it seemed.
At a small gathering in The French House which is in Soho, almost next to the Groucho Club, a celebrity-obsessed friend of mine vowed that this woman who had just come in was Emma! It certainly looked like her as she might be just going about town, dressed normally, not very made up etc…
So I took the plunge and accosted her as she was trying to leave. “Emma! We used to know eachother when we were at school!”
She looked me up and down and I thought I saw a strange look in her eye and slight smile play about her mouth as if she was about to enact a dastardly plan.
“I’m not Emma,” she said.
Now, wouldn’t that have been the most perfect revenge she could get on me for humiliating her 30 years ago? Its perfect circle of completion is the finest piece of geometry I have ever experienced. It was even better than the Lion King‘s attempt to use a circular sequence of events. I didn’t recognise her when she was the unknown Emma, but when I did recognise her she denied being herself! Just to pay me back. I have been that important in her life!
Only one thing bothers me about this story. While I was close up to her, I couldn’t be a hundred percent sure it was actually her. Another friend at the event confirms that he didn’t think it was her.
Which, if true, only means that this circle is still broken and awaiting completion at some time in the future.
But, as I say, it makes a great story!
Filed under: Ben Elton, Camden School, Emma Thompson, French House, Groucho Club, Hampstead, London, Soho, UCS | Tagged: Ben Elton, Camden, Emma Thompson, French House, Groucho Club, Hampstead, London | 8 Comments »