Celebrity is a cruel and fickle friend. Andy Warhol’s "15 minutes of fame" doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. I know: I’m still waiting for my other 13-and-a-half… Sad? You bet. There I was on a lonely Valentine’s Day, deserted by my wife (off to a girly lunch) and peeking fearfully at the previous day’s birthday columns in the qualities for some mention of this 58-year-old has-been. I’ve been sharing the limelight with Australian cricketer Lennie Pascoe, some warbler called Robbie Williams and the gardening expert, Dr Hessayon, every 13 February for years now, but it looks like my star is dwindling.
I turned to the radio for consolation. It was jammed on Radio One, thanks to some devilishness perpetrated by one of my offspring on a recent visit. Listening to Newsbeat, a pacy little tabloid update around the hungry hour, I heard the name Sienna Miller. And this is where the story begins… Ms Miller was complaining about the paparazzi: "It’s reached a level where it’s dangerous. [I’ve been] running down the street at midnight with 12 full-grown men chasing after me, a 24-year-old girl — it shouldn’t be allowed. But for some reason, you give them a camera and that is allowed."
My old newsman’s interest was immediately kindled. Didn’t I see glammy pix of the 24-year-old temptress splashed all over my tabloids this morning? Indeed I did: the skinny, but beautiful blonde clothes horse was pictured arriving/leaving/posing at the Casanova premiere the night before. And hadn’t I also seen some sort of internet PR newswire invitation to the paparazzi (I know it’s sad, but I still check the usual sources) to take those very photographs? Indeed I had.
Here’s what it said: "LONDON, 13 February PRNewswire — Sienna Miller will be wearing Louis Vuitton tonight at the London premiere of Casanova. The style icon and actress will be wearing a cream silk coat from the Cruise 2006 collection, and black leather boots from the autumn-winter 2006 collection. Note to editors: photos of Sienna Miller attending the premiere will be available through the PA Photowire after the event."
So they arrived, she posed, conquering the paparazzi’s hearts and the tabloids’ headlines — and 12 hours later was sounding off on Radio One about the "dangerous men who chase her at midnight".
Last words on the subject? Not from me, not from Sienna, but from fans on the starlet’s own website.
One wrote: "I went to the premiere, and I got a picture with Sienna and of her looking stunning, so if you guys want them please email me, okay?" A second said: "If Sienna can’t take the paparazzi, she’d better stop being an actress. You choose the career and get popular, there isn’t any choice."
But to hell with the wannabes who say they don’t wannabe, what about my brush with fame? Thank you, The Times and Indy, dear and true friends. And sod you, The Guardian and Telegraph!