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What Will’s word is worth.

July 16, 2010

Every morning it’s the same routine, dash from the house and pray that the very pretty Irish girl is at the bus-stop, if she is huge sigh of relief…if not, minor panic that I have missed the 06.05 bus. This is despite the fact that it may only be 05.58, this particular bus seems to be very illusive and at times I began to believe that it really didn’t exist as irrespective of being earlier and earlier it never seemed to materialise. The young lady in question seems to be at the bus-stop before me more often than not, there are though, occasions when I am there first and others when she is neither there nor does she arrive after me. Then comes the realization that the big red E3 bus has eluded me yet again and I have a wait until 6.28 for the next one. Timing is in our business crucial, as I refuse to be late in opening up for business in the morning.

While waiting at the bus stop I watch the van delivering the Metro whizz past signaling that my morning read will be waiting for me at the station when I disembark, either the early bus of the dreaded later one. I can remember when the Metro first came out being a little reticent of being I think the term was “seen dead with it”. I have been a reformed man for a long time since well before the credit crunch once the reality economic intelligence had prevailed…. free is good, we like free. A fact which I discussed with one of the clients that we met for dinner on Wednesday evening, this and the now redundant but much loved London Lite and the London Paper how I miss them. Despite being free now, the Evening Standard is no longer the same read in the evening.

Though I shouldn’t admit it, I enjoy the pure unadulterated joyous trash that is the celebrity columns – who’s up, who’s down, been there, done what and so forth. It is tomorrow’s chip paper, frivolous un-taxing to the brain, fodder for the water-cooler or diet Coke break?

This morning the same routine……early bus despite a detour of actually catching it another story perhaps. Irish girl missing though, possibly she is still sitting at our bus stop and hasn’t seen the sign that the road is closed and there is a diversion in progress.

Got to Turnham Green station and picked up a crisp copy of the Metro alighted the District Line spoiled for choice for a seat at this hour in the morning and began to read.

Past the headlines a little way in I catch sight of a familiar face, two actually in town at the moment for a premiere with their son the star of said film. I mentioned I was at dinner with some of my work colleagues and some clients at the Dorchester on Tuesday Night. It was recommended by a colleague who did not attend as a good place to go as there was always an interesting mix of people there. On Tuesday night it was a bumper night. Pele, the current England Manager and Jemima Khan or is it Goldsmith again now. During the evening I went out to catch some air through the restaurants private entrance there to find a trio of photographers lying in wait, cameras at the ready. Being my mother’s son I approached them and asked who they were in wait for, they were non-committal on whom it was and so ensued some friendly banter.

They mentioned that there was a famous actor in town with his family and who were staying in the hotel. He asked if I was eating in the restaurant and to which I answered I was. I was then quizzed on whether they were in the restaurant to which I replied that I hadn’t seen them. He said was there anyone else famous inside, to which I smiled and said perhaps there was but I couldn’t divulge such information tongue firmly in cheek. The banter continued me being cryptic, him egging me on for details (Mrs. Doyle in my head with her go on, go on, go on, GO ON!). I took my leave and returned to the table which was now abuzz with the comings and goings of the celebs. Despite my best efforts I didn’t get a chance to impart who possibly may be making an appearance this was discovered prior to me being able to utter it from my mouth.

Hushed voices saying “he’s here”, frantic attempts to catch a glimpse from our table, trips en masse to the powder room, travelling at a snail’s pace and rather obvious peering and very slow, painfully obvious glances into the private booth. Reports on what had been seen and heard from these reconnaissance missions. The paparazzi had been correct so their wait had not been in vain.

We notice eagle eyed that Pele is ushered into the private booth, another meet and greet he having earlier acknowledged the presence of the current England Manager. 9 pairs of eyes continually scanning the room for fresh arrivals of celebrities. They seem to have decided to go elsewhere this evening or to have stayed in. More fresh air for me and further discussions with the awaiting photographers, I feel it only fair to affirm that their earlier piece of information is in fact true.

On my way back in, I turn the corner to take the stairs down to the restaurant and notice a number of guests leaving. I apologies as you do, for interrupting ascent of the stairs. To my surprise, I get a flash of pearly white teeth, a big smile and an extremely cheery “How are you Sir?” from a tall, slim t-shirt wearing young man. Smiling back I reply “ Great thanks , how about you?” It is Will Smith and his beautiful wife Jada, who I can see is eager to leave with their other guests, I clear the stairs and make my way back to the our table. I do note that their children Jaden and Willow are not with them perhaps Jaden is having some last minute “Waax on, Waaaax off” sessions with My. Miyagi prior to the premiere, or should that be with Jackie Chan.

Getting back to my table I impart the story of my encounter to which I get questioned with words such as he said “What he called you SIR?”, “Will Smith called you what?”. I explained that this is the norm for many Americans and is a form of politeness. It is not a confirmation of superiority nor would I expect it. Every day at the Hallam Conference Centre or indeed at any of our other venues I must say this upward of 100 times. It is etticate, being civil and polite and for the want of not knowing somebody’s given name the correct form of address. Do I feel that this undermines me, I don’t! What it does define is I am totally comfortable with myself, my role and indeed who I am.

My lasting impression of Tuesday evening apart from the great company at dinner is not that Will Smith addressed me as “Sir”, but that he has not lost sight of the fact that being polite and courteous costs nothing but always makes an extremely positive and lasting impression. It made my wait for the bus for 30 minutes at Shepherds Bush on Tuesday evening but a fleeting moment as I played back the evening in my mind and made up in part for my 4 hours sleep before starting my daily routine the next morning.

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