The day I met… whatshisname

Last Saturday (22nd April) was a great day: it was my birthday and the sun was shining. My wife, baby son and I went out to meet some friends in nearby Chiswick, and ended up having lunch at Sam’s Brasserie, which we’d never been to before. It was a very cool place and our brunch-type dishes were both delicious and inexpensive. We’d been there for a quarter of an hour or so when another young family came in and sat in the far corner of the section where we were sitting. I had my back to them, but they were in full view of my wife and, when he turned round – which of course he was doing all the time anyway – our little boy. After a moment we realised he’d seen something, or someone, he liked the look of, and soon he and this other baby were “communicating” at some volume across the restaurant, much to the entertainment of us, the other family and the tables in between. I carried on chatting to our friends and was suddenly aware that this other small person had come over to our table. In fact, she’d been brought over by a parent, and was now smiling beside me while our son chatted to her. What a lovely thing for the parent to do, I thought, turning to say hello, and got something of a shock when I realised said parent was Bob Dylan. Actually, no, it wasn’t Bob, but it got your attention. It was in fact Krishnan Guru-Murthy, one of the presenters of Channel 4 News, who is just as famous as Bob, at least in our house. This was a funny thing because Channel 4 News is Thoughtcat’s favourite TV news programme, and in the months when the Thoughtkitten was very new our regular evening routine was to sit down in front of the TV at precisely 7pm when the show started and have a bottle (of milk in TC Jnr’s case and wine in TC Snr’s). “Well, you know who this man is, don’t you?” I said to TC Jnr, who gurgled his approval while I told KG-M the story. He laughed and introduced us to his baby, Jasmine.

I must have been star-struck because at this point I realised I’d completely forgotten KG-M’s name. I racked my brains and was about to say to TC Jnr, “Say hello to Sanjeev Bhaskar,” but something stopped me. I’m very glad it did; the embarrassment may have killed all of us.

Anyway, as if all this weren’t sufficient excitement for one birthday lunch, as we left the restaurant – I still unable to remember Sanjeev’s actual name, and all of us waving heartily to each other as if we’d been friends for years – we passed another table in a different section, at the head of which was the fat(ish) unshaven bloke from Man Stroke Woman. This time not even the wrong name came into my head because I realised I’d never known what his name was. (If it’s any consolation, I couldn’t name any of the other MSW performers either.) Anyway, we made a rapid exit before we could bump into any more celebrities whose names I’d forgotten, or didn’t know, or whom I could mix up with other celebrities who bore no relation to them whatsoever.

I was going to write up this story last weekend, but didn’t get round to it, so it was with a mixture of delight and frustration that I opened this Saturday’s Guardian Weekend magazine to read that Krishnan G-M was the author of this week’s Last Weekend column, in which a famous person writes a few hundred words about what they did last weekend (hence the name). KG-M did mention the lunch trip to Sam’s, and also said he saw the fat(ish) bloke from Man Stroke Woman, whom he usefully named as Nick Frost – of course! – but sadly didn’t say anything about Jasmine and TC Jnr’s entertaining conversation. The irony is that if I had called him Sanjeev Bhaskar, that would probably have been the highlight of the column, if not exactly his weekend.