Everyone loves to spot a celebrity in the wild. Until a couple of weeks ago, my top three celebrity sightings were probably:
3. Scroobius Pip buying a twix,
2. JK Rowling cutting a queue,
1. Peter Davidson doing a wee in the next urinal along.
I’ve also seen Walter Koenig using a payphone, but that was at a science fiction convention so it doesn’t qualify. A celebrity sighting has to happen in your world, not theirs. You can’t very well, for example, get a job as an extra on Coronation Street, perch yourself on a bar stool in the Rovers and sit there stroking your chin saying, “blimey, that’s Rita from Coronation Street.”
Also inadmissible are celebrity sightings that took place through a celebrity’s bedroom window or at the bottom of a pit you dug.
Anyway, we enjoyed an excellent sighting recently — one that shits all over Peter Davidson — at the Picasso Museum in Malaga.
I gave Samara a little nudge and said, “Look who it is!”
Yes, it was the lad himself.
Even if it doesn’t fully qualify as “in the wild,” the ultimate celebrity sighting is the sighting of a celebrity thought to be 40 years dead.
Somehow I found the strength not to leap all over Picasso and shout “Busted!”
The skeptical among you are probably thinking that the person we saw was merely someone who looked like Picasso and that, after all, there are many bald, Spanish men in the world with a certain portly charisma.
Just another old fellow on his holidays? Possibly. Samara admitted the similarity but, like you, wasn’t completely satisfied that the man in our sights was The Master, so she tried to explain it away as “Picasso cosplay.”
As fond as I am of the idea of a sixty-year-old man getting out of bed, excited to slip into his Picasso outfit for his trip to the museum, (“Today’s the day, Margaret!”) I’m still not dissuaded. It strikes me as a bit of a “weather balloon” explanation. I know who I saw that day, dammit, and he was alive and well and looking at his own paintings.
As a final piece of evidence, I offer that the man we saw was also there with his wife, a very graceful and stately-looking woman, who with hindsight was obviously Jacqueline Roque. Top that.
I followed him around the museum a little bit, peeking at him over the top of my floor plan, looking for additional clues. I suppose I was hoping to catch him appraising one of the works with pride or (the holy grail) a hint of regret that he painted those women in such a silly way.
But above all, I did not want to let him know that I’d seen him. He was clearly here, of all places, in the hopes of being recognised and I didn’t want to contribute any further to his obviously staggering vanity.
If there can be any lingering doubt as to my claim that we saw Pablo Picasso on our holidays, I can also bring in some evidence from Clive Bell who writes in his book, Old Friends, that when in Paris Mr. and Mrs. Picasso seldom socialised with the Bohemians and instead “lived apart” in bourgeois surroundings — and where, I ask you, could be more bourgeois than the tourist trap Museo Picasso Málaga?
Anyway, we’re off to the Sherlock Holmes museum next month. I’ll keep my eyes peeled.