Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 10 November 2013
Johnny Depp was here - if you want
H.I.'s latest study of an old master. She has probably spent as long on this as Rembrandt spent on the original. It is - as she tells her students - a great way to get into a painting, staring at it for so long.
It's a shame that Leo McKern (another erstwhile Bath resident) didn't live long enough to play Rembrandt in later life.
Mr McKern was a regular visitor to the aforementioned Bell Inn here, and every evening at around 5.30, he would prop up the bar and down three large white wines with soda before getting back into his open-topped Mercedes and driving home.
A Japanese camera crew turned up one night and asked if it was true that Johnny Depp had come into the pub, and the landlord pointed to a chair (the closest one to hand) and said that this was the very place he sat to drink his beer. The crew dutifully filmed the chair and left happy. Johnny Depp is always being spotted (or hallucinated about) in Bath, in the same way that the Virgin Mary is seen by hysterical crowds, perching on the sides of churches or other high buildings in Italy.
Another Bath celebrity will turn on our Christmas lights this year - Mary (not The Virgin) Berry - after a brief period of respectful darkness following Remembrance Day. A very brief period. The day after, in fact.
They probably tried to get John Cleese to nip down from his flat in the Royal Crescent to do it, but I can't see that happening somehow. John Cage did it a few years ago, before he had to sell both his house in The Circus and Midford Castle to keep the IRS happy.
Camilla Parker-Bowles did it the year after that, and a councillor friend of mine whose job it was to introduce her on the night, got herself into trouble by foolishly telling a national newspaper reporter that she didn't give a stuff about the Royal Family.
Last year, they ran out of celebrities and so had to just broadcast the event on a local, live TV program instead. For some reason I always think of that Norman Wisdom film where he ends up destroying an entire Northern town by rolling around on a console wired to tons of high-explosive, when I think of the switching-on ceremony.
I have never turned up to watch what happens, but I think that the celebrity ends up by pushing a plunger down after a count-down from 10 screamed out by hundreds of Christmas shoppers and the M.C. on the podium.
When the Duchess of Cornwall did it, I bet the security forces spent quite a bit of time checking the wiring, just in case there was a short length attached to a few sticks of dynamite just under the stage. Actually, I know they did - I saw them all running around about a week before the night, looking inside rubbish bins.