Celebrity: Four Encounters

Words by Jeremy Poxon

Published on September 14, 2013

Came runner-up in the Nudgee Junior College poetry competition in year seven. The judge was the school librarian, and she awarded the first prize to her son, Thomas, a blonde-haired kid, who was really pale and always sounded like he’d just consumed too much dairy. Our reward was a meet-and-greet with Lemony Snicket, before he delivered a lecture to the school. I was pretty excited-it was my first opportunity to hang out and banter with a famous writer. Throughout my entire conversation with him, however, he didn’t acknowledge himself as an author at all. Instead, he introduced himself as Daniel and refused to claim ownership of the novels, instead talking about Lemony’s genius in the third person. I played along with the ruse for a while: ‘Send my best to Lemony. Ask him where he gets his ideas.’ but I tired of the shtick pretty quickly, which he continued for a full hour.

Met Jimmy Barnes while deliberating in front of two giant self-stirring juice containers at the Sydney Airport Qantas Club. I let out my most Australian-sounding ‘G’day’ and, as a conversation-starter, asked him which juice I should go for. He told me to choose apple, explaining that orange juice can leave a nasty sting in your mouth. I had it in the back of my throat, but despite building this strong rapport, didn’t muster up the nerve to make any kind of legendary ‘last plane out of Sydney’s almost gone’ joke.

Shared a flight with Steve Irwin on the way from Vanuatu to Brisbane, and learnt that how people act on television isn’t how they act in real life. I don’t know what I was expecting him to do — maybe yell out a ‘Crikey!’ or two when the captain told us how many feet we were up in the air? Instead, he remained perfectly silent, and didn’t perform a single antic. He’d pulled a bucket hat down to his eyes, popped his collar, sat really low in his first-class seat, and emitted a real air of ‘I’ve no time for your bullshit admiration.’ I didn’t feel comfortable approaching ‘surly celebrity’ Steve. Instead of politely asking him if he wouldn’t mind taking off his eye mask to sign an autograph, I immediately decided that he was a complete phoney who I never liked in the first place. I changed my MSN display picture from a selfie to a stingray when he died.

A few months ago I met Lil B after his Brisbane concert, and wasted a good opportunity for a small chat, perhaps a pertinent question like, ‘Are you actually for real?’ by immediately asking him to sign my underwear. He managed to scribble something about being ‘Based’ (a philosophy he invented extolling the virtues of kindness, positivity and swag) in spite of the sweat and creases. Still, I was kind of proud of this interaction — it’s my only piece of celebrity memorabilia — until I came home to excitedly show my housemate, and she pointed out all the different areas of my jocks that looked pissed/shat on. Picture below:


Jeremy Poxon lives in Brisbane. He is an editor at Bumf.