The greatest celebrities I’ve ever met

Celebrity has been with us for about 30 years now and it’s gone from strength to strength. From the very first famous person, helicopter pilot Jan-Michael Vincent, to bleached female cyborg Yazz, through the glory days of diminutive real-life wizard Harold Potter, celebrity has brought us many minutes of enjoyment.

There’s nothing more exciting than meeting a celebrity. I mean it’s way better than getting married, or becoming a parent, or running a marathon, or successfully pulling off a bank heist. It’s simply great.

And in my four decades plus, I have met my fair share of celebrities.

Now I’m not talking about planned engagements like my sit-down interviews with Irish laugh manufacturer Ed Byrne or the sadly-deceased former Minister Seamus Brennan. And I’m not talking about my incidental brush on a staircase with INXS or a casual “hello” on Dame Street with satirical comedian Hugh Dennis.

I’m talking about unexpected meetings with celebrity, rendezvous that were not foreseen and therefore left me little time to plan my palaver in advance.

So what is a “famous” person?

Famous people are defined as “someone what’s been on the TV or the radio or in the newspaper but not for reasons of murder or stealing or advertising of the Subway Diet”.

So without further ado, here are my top five unexpected brushes with celebrity.

#1

When? 1986Maurice Pratt

Who was it!? Maurice Pratt

Who? The most famous marketing director of 1980s supermarket chain, Quinnsworth.

How’d you meet him? They wheeled him in to our school to do presentations on sports day. He presented me with tennis medals I’d won earlier on in my career (1984 and 1985).

What do you remember? I still remember his marketing director-like professionalism as he shook my hand. I was, of course, blown away by meeting a celebrity like him at such a young age. He offered me a sweet deal on those fat pens with four different coloured inks too.

#2

When? 1993Justin Edinburgh

Who was it!? Justin Edinburgh

Who? Tottenham’s floppy-haired full back from yesteryear.

How’d you meet him? I was sitting in the crowd at a Tottenham pre-season friendly in Drogheda and he was in the row ahead of me.

What do you remember? I reached over and in my most polite voice asked him to sign my program. He did so while chewing gum in a manner than only cocky Grange Hill characters used to be able to. So Justin can write and chew gum at the same time. I lost the program but I remember his signature being quite dramatic and among the most impressive I’d witnessed at that time.

Here’s Justin getting sent off in a cup final for bitch-slapping a girl.

#3

When? 2002Richie Moran

Who was it!? Richie Moran

Who? Former footballer who played fleetingly for third division Birmingham City in 1990.

How’d you meet him? Through mutual friends in an English bar in Christchurch, New Zealand.

What do you remember? Having a great booze up with him. Well, until he shoved a short Scottish guy off a tall stool for addressing him as “boy”. Given Richie’s documented recounting of the racism he encountered as a player, perhaps it’s understandable why he took this Scottish colloquialism the wrong way. Richie regaled us with tales about Lou Macari and John Barnes and it was a lot of fun.  He subsequently wrote a book about his travels but I did not read it so I don’t know if he mentioned me. Probably not.

#4

When? 2008John Morrison

Who was it!? The Miz and John Morrison

Who? Only one of the hottest acts of the day in WWE sports entertainment.

How’d you meet them? Well I had to hang out drinking with the WWE head of security for six hours in a Stuttgart hotel bar.

What do you remember? Morrison and The Miz strutted in to the hotel lobby at about 4am, excitedly rambling on and on to their security guy, before Morrison stops mid sentence, points at me and says “Wait. Who the fuck are you?”. He then proceeded to offer me a signed photo before the pair made their way to the elevators to pack for their 6am flight.


#5

When? 2008Whitford Kramer

Who was it!? Brad Whitford and Joey Kramer

Who? Two thirds of the under-appreciated part of Aerosmith.

How’d you meet them? A friend in the know brought us to the London hotel where the band were staying ahead of their 2008 Hyde Park gig.

What do you remember? We met the rock veterans at the top of a staircase. Brad was very nice, chatting to our friends young daughter and making her day/year/decade. I tried to engage Joey in a cute story about how they were playing a few miles from my Dublin home next week but even though I could hear them from my bedroom I still bought a ticket. He looked at me stony faced and refused to shake my outstretched hand.

Since all celebrities are brilliant, my assumption is that this was not actually the real Joey.


JaredBut I’m only 41.  So I probably have another 10, 20, 30, 7 years left. Who knows?

I have plenty of time to meet more celebrities. If you are famous and would like to go for a pint, let me know. Not you, Jared.

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The Adventures of Morten Harket (not that one): Part 7

Part 1 – I’ve Been Losing You / Part 2 – The Blood That Moves the Body / Part 3 – The Sun Never Shone That Day / Part 4 – Sycamore Leaves / Part 5 – Shapes That Go Together / Part 6 – Lie Down in Darkness

ANALOGUE (ALL I WANT) 

“Can I have four pints plea…” Morten Harket started to ask the barman.
“A pint of what?”

Morten surveyed the change in the palm of his hand. “Actually make that two pints and two glasses of beer please.”Image

Morten returned to the table where his wife and two friends, Vicki and Larry Nail, were seated. He handed the pints to Vicki and Larry.
“I haven’t been to a karaoke night in about 10 years,” Vicki giggled. “Do you remember the last time we were at karaoke, Lar? Remember?” She nudged her husband in the ribs.
“No! What happened?” he asked, rubbing his torso.
“Remember after…?” She winked knowingly at him and rolled her tongue appealingly.
“I’ve never been to karaoke with you,” he said, looking blankly.
“Oh. Um, well, that might have been someone else…”

“Eh, so,” Mrs Harket interrupted right on cue, “what do you think you’re going to do tonight?”
“I fancy doing a bit of Whitesnake,” Vicki laughed. “If you know what I mean.” She winked and clucked at Mrs Harket.
“You like Whitesnake?” Morten asked, looking slightly bemused.
“I think she’s being suggestive,” Larry said, diverting his eyes downwards.

Silence.

“Oh, right!” Morten exclaimed. “Right! Snake! Yes…ummm…What about you Larry?”
“I fancy doing the Spice Girls.”
“I bet you do,” Vicki giggled, nudging him in the sensitive rib area again. “One at a time!”
“No, I mean I’d like to do ‘Viva Forever’. It’s a timeless ballad about love and hope.”
“Oh.”

“Now you haven’t put my name forward, right?” Morten asked.
“Uh, no!” Vicki said, nudging her husband in the ribs again.
“Will you stop!?”

“Ok, ladies and gentlemen,” the MC announced from the stage, “it’s time to get our first performer up!”

The 40 or so people in the pub gave a half-hearted reception preferring in the early hours of the night to drink as fast as they could.

“Our first name is … Martin Hairnet!”

Morten sat unmoved.

“Martin Hairnet!”

He turned slowly to the MC. “God, no.”
“Is that you Martin?”
“Uh, not quite…”
“Get up here! Come on folks! Big cheer for Martin Hairnet!”

A handful of the gathered drinkers put their hands together slowly as Martin, um, Morten made his way on to the stage.

“It’s Morten,” he muttered to the MC.
“Sorry, Morten Hairnet!”
“No, Morten Harket.”
“Sorry, Morten Hark…” He looked curiously at Morten.
“Morten Harket?” You’re not Morten Harket!”
“Well I get what you’re saying and you’re right. But at the same time you’re wrong because I am. I’m just not that one.”

The MC nodded slowly before swinging around to face the expanding crowd.
“Do you want to hear Morten Harket sing one of his own songs?”
“No!” Morten shouted, seemingly at the wall.
“Would you like to hear Morten Harket’s beautiful Greek dulcet tones!?”
“They’re Norwegian! Although I’m not Norwegian! They are! Although I’m not him!”
Mrs Harket put her head in her hands as Vicki nudged Larry in the ribs.

“Alright, here’s one for you guys.” The MC whispered to the DJ and a few seconds later “Analogue” by a-ha blasted out over the speakers.

“Come back my darling one,” Morten sung awkwardly, “I’m calling on you.”

“He hasn’t got a note in his head,” Vicki observed.
“At least he has a brain,” muttered Mrs Harket under her breath, thinking that she’d love to throw her glass of beer over Vicki if she weren’t so broke.

“All that I need is the time to show you how I feeeeeeel,” Morten screeched, sending several revellers to the bathroom.

“Ok, ok, stop,” the MC cut across as the music faded out.
“What?” Morten asked.
“You’re awful!”
“It’s karaoke! I’m not Elton John.”
“No, you’re Morten Harket.”
“I’m not, well, I am. But I’m not him.”

“Look,” the MC said, “‘Analogue’ was a terrific modern chart single. I mean a-ha came from nowhere to record their first top 10 hit in 18 years and you’ve just murdered it.”
“It’s still alive.”
“Just about. I mean I’d happily give that song 9/10, that’s how good it is. While the chorus may not be as strong as the verse and bridge, the middle instrumental or powerful closing bars, the song still gets inside your head. The only thing about that performance that gets inside my head is a noise!”
“What is this?” Morten asked. “An audition?”

“You probably don’t even know the original version of the song, ‘Minor Key Sonata’. That was due to be a single before Max Martin was brought in to co-write the new version you’ve just butchered. That song had it’s moments but was just not as catchy. The mid-section was furiously cute but overall it comes up a few notches short at 7/10.”

“I’ll get my coat,” Morten said as he did the walk of shame off to stage to virtual silence.
“Yeah, and don’t come back you butchering monster! Morten Harket, my arse!”

Vicki nudged Larry in the ribs again.

Morten turned the key in his front door where he wasn’t met by his expectant wife as she was already with him. He closed it behind them.

“I guess that’s the a-ha curse in action,” she said with a grimace.

“Yes,” he replied, tightening the hinge on the battered front door to ensure it at least stayed up another night.

“Never mind, darling,” she said, embracing him. “Maybe we’ll be able to get singing lessons for you so you won’t stink out the place next time.”

He looked at her. “All I want you to know is that I love you,” he said, smiling.

She smiled back, winked, walked halfway up the stairs before turning back to Morten in the hall.

“Come on! It’s ‘adult time’!”
“Oh, sorry!” he said, scurrying up the stairs behind her.

The Adventures of Morten Harket (not that one): Part 6

Part 1 – I’ve Been Losing You / Part 2 – The Blood That Moves the Body / Part 3 – The Sun Never Shone That Day / Part 4 – Sycamore Leaves / Part 5 – Shapes That Go Together

Lie Down In DarknessImage

“I’m tired,” grumbled Morten Harket as his wife shook him gently.
“Come on, dear,” she said lovingly. “It’s not like adult time lasted that long last night?”
“I know. But I had two Babychams. Maybe three.”

He sat up in the bed and rubbed his eyes, his chest fur curling in the nippy early morning air. “Why am I getting up?”
“You can’t lie down in darkness all morning,” she said sternly. “And you said you’d wash my car this morning. We can’t afford to go down to the garage to get it done.”

Morten muttered a brief rebuke before rolling out of bed in his tight Y-fronts. He reached out for his crumpled jeans, loose change tumbling out of his pockets as he pushed his left leg in to them. “Bugger.”

He pulled on a light blue shirt not realising it was inside out and stumbled downstairs, banging his knee against the bannister as he swung in to the hallway. His medium-length hair was sticking up everywhere, making him look somewhat like a thick-haired version of the guy from Hellraiser. The one with the pins.

He coughed up some Babycham as he poured boiling water from the kettle in to a cracked cup, missing the cup slightly and scalding his hand. “Bugger!”

Morten went out to the garden. The early-winter air grasped his throat tightly, causing him to catch his breath. As he checked that the doors and windows on the Fiat Punto were all shut tight he heard a voice from behind.

“Hello neighbour!”
Morten spun around, backward shirt wide open, unbuckled belt hanging from his hips, sticky-up hair unsure about what direction it should point.
“I’m Neil, your new neighbour. You look a tad rough, soldier.”
Morten looked puzzled and looked behind him expecting to see Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf covered in sand and sweat.
“Oh, right. Me?” Morten extended his hand. “I’m Morten.”
“What an unusual name?” Neil laughed. “Is it Belgian?”
“Belgian?” Morten said incredulously. “No. No. Norwegian.” He shook his head.

“Sorry,” Neil said smiling. “I just remember a Belgian band from the 80s who had a lead singer called Morten Hairnet.”
“It was a-ha. And his surname was ‘Harket’,” Morten corrected him. “And as it happens that is also my surname.”
“Really??” Neil laughed. “You don’t even look Belgian!”
“Norwegian!”
“You are?”
“No!”
“I recall their mid-90s struggle,” Neil said, curiously eyeing the curling fur on Morten’s chest. “They released a US-only promo single, ‘Lie Down in Darkness’.”

Morten turned to the car again before turning back to Neil. “I don’t recall it.”

“Yeah, it was a pseudo-rock track. Started off with a whistly-bit and was quite a tight little number.”
“Any chance of rating the track for me, Neil? People seem to like doing that when they discuss a-ha with me.”
“Probably 7/10. Give or take. Roughly.”

Morten turned to his wife’s car and then looked back at Neil. “You know,” he said, laughing, “I don’t even have a hose. Bugger.”

He turned away and walked back to the house, closing the door behind him.

Neil laughed heartily. “What a nice man. I’ve always liked Belgians.”

Morten stood in the hallway – grimacing at the bannister that he hit his knee off – and was met by his expectant wife.

“So…?”

“No joy,” he said, before performing an impromptu karaoke version of “Sailing” by Rod Stewart. “It was the a-ha curse again,” he said. “And we don’t even own a hose.”

“Never mind, darling,” she said, embracing him. “Next week we’ll buy a hose. Perhaps after we finally get those groceries.”

She took him by the hand. “Come on, I want you next to me…”

And for the second time in 24 hours, adult time commenced.

The Adventures of Morten Harket (not that one): Part 5

Part 1 – I’ve Been Losing You

Part 2 – The Blood That Moves the Body

Part 3 – The Sun Never Shone That Day

Part 4 – Sycamore Leaves

Shapes That Go Together

Morten Harket stood at the bus stop across the street from his modest suburban home. Autumn was kicking in now and leaves of different persuasions filled the pavement. Not sycamore ones. Well, some were. And when I say persuasions I don’t mean that there were any gay leaves.

Ok, back to the story.

Morten Harket stood at the bu…oh, I’ve done that bit.

ANYWAY…Morten guitar

The bus was late. “Nothing new there,” Morten grumbled as he checked his watch for the fifth time in a minute. He glanced at the shopping list, bemused to find Smash on it. He hadn’t had Smash in years. But times were hard and savings had to be made wherever they could.

“Hello, Morten!”

Morten swiveled and smiled instantly.

“Joanne! It’s been a long time,” he said, extending his hand.
“Oh, enough with the hands,” she said, getting him in a bear hug.
“Look at you!” he said, smiling.
“Look at you!” she exclaimed.
“Oh, no,” he said. “I’ve put on a few pounds.”
“I know,” she nodded. “I was about to say that. You look pudgy.”
“Oh.”

He glanced to his left but still no sign of the bus.

“So I haven’t seen you since…”
“1994,” she said, finishing his sentence. “Yeah, I remember that night.”
“Me too,” he said, sounding distracted. “So, how is life for you?”
“Great,” she said, flashing an obnoxiously-sized wedding ring in his direction. “Married a doctor, fantastic complexion. Huge salary. And you?”
“Yes. Married about three years ago. Yeah.”

“I’ve got three kids,” she smiled, taking out a sheaf of pictures so heavy they would undoubtedly squash an unprepared boy scouts division. “Yep,” she said, flicking ridiculously fast through a collection of banal shots of kids in various embarrassing poses including, oddly, one where they created a human pyramid. You?”

“No, no. We have tried but no luck yet. I’d love a child but…”

“And what do you do for a living?” she said, cutting across him.
“I’m between jobs at the mome…”

“I’ve opened my own coffee shop. It’s doing really well,” she emphasised. “Of course it’s uptown – not in this area,” she grimaced, eyeing the passersby with the sort of contempt held for common criminals.

“That’s my house over there,” he pointed. “It’s not a bad area here but the badgers have an attitude problem.”

She looked at him oddly.

“Do you remember the night we broke up?” she laughed. “What was that song that was out at the time? Do you remember the guys were singing it to you when they found out your name?”
“Yeah,” he nodded, glancing in hope that the bus was pulling up. “It was ‘Shapes That Go Together’.”
“That’s it!” she shouted. “Your name was the same as the band’s singer! Oh that was classic.”
“Classic,” he said with a false smile, driving his hands further in to his pockets.
“When I heard it at the beginning I thought ‘Ooh that’s a bit of fun!’ I liked the vocals and it had a cute melody. Bit of a 7/10 song I thought.”

“Very pleasant,” he agreed. “Brings back vivid memories of that night alright.”
“I heard a live version of the song about 2 years ago would you believe. Oh, my husband – who is quite a rich, successful doctor – is a big a-ha fan. Anyway, he had this great version live from Oslo. A few notes are off at the beginning and Morten’s vocals are a tad raw in parts but the electric guitar part in the middle is funky. Probably worth an extra point at 8/10 if this was some sort of strange scenario where one had to rate songs.”
“Right.”

“Oh,” she said, snorting. “That’s the night you proposed to me and I turned your down! Ahhhh, you were so cute! You’d bought that beautiful ring. I still have it by the way!”
“I never did get that back, did I?” Morten asked, knowing full well what the answer was.
“Ahh, well you were very good to give it to me. But you were like totally obsessed with me. Sure didn’t you walk 25 miles to hold me that night…”
“…just to find you had moved away.”
“That’s right!” she laughed. “I had moved in with my new boyfriend a month before but hadn’t told you. Ahhh, and you took it all in good spirits. But seriously, Morten, I mean I just couldn’t take those jokes about your name all the time. It was never going to work.”

“You know,” he said, looking at his watch, “I have to go.”
“It was great to see you,” she said, grabbing him in a hug. “You’re a lovely bloke. I’m sure you’ll find that job, get a better place to live and lose weight soon.”
“Thanks,” he muttered as he turned to cross the street back to his house.
Morten turned the key in his front door and was met by his expectant wife.

“So…?”

“No joy,” he said, vaulting the homeless waif in the hallway. “It was the a-ha curse again,” he said, tears filling his eyes as the memories flooded his brain.

“Never mind, darling,” she said, embracing him. “Maybe next week we’ll be able to get some groceries.

Come on,” she said, taking him by the hand. “Let’s see if our shapes go together, you and I.”

And with that, adult time began.

The Adventures of Morten Harket (not that one): Part 4

Part 1 – I’ve Been Losing You

Part 2 – The Blood That Moves the Body

Part 3 – The Sun Never Shone That Day

Sycamore LeavesImage

Morten Harket stared out of his bedroom window at the sycamore leaves gathering on the street. “What if a-ha had written a song about these leaves?” he said, half-joking. “I wonder what sort of situation I’d get myself involved in this week.”

“Would I walk by a street sweeper shouting stuff like ‘7/10 for the studio version! 8/10 for the NRK version!’?” I bet I would.

“Darling?” came a voice from behind him. “Come back to bed.”

His wife lay there with just a mink coat on. “Maybe next week you’ll be able to encounter that road sweeper.”

“I know,” he said, turning towards her. “I just can’t stop…thinkin’ ’bout it.”

She smiled. “Why don’t you fill me with unease?”

And they indulged in some ever-popular adult time.

The Adventures of Morten Harket (not that one): Part 3

Part 1 – I’ve Been Losing You

Part 2 – The Blood That Moves the Body

The Sun Never Shone That Day

Morten Harket stood in the men’s department of famous international superstore, Bloominghell’s.

“Welcome to Bloominghell’s!” enthused a dapper young man who was clearly making a rather embarrassing attempt to grow a mustache years before it was feasible. “I’m Nicky!”Morten 2000

“Um, hello,” Morten said tentatively, trying to work out if it were fluff or a shadow on the boy’s top lip. “I’m looking for a suit.”
“Wonderful! Well we have plenty of suits. We have black ones, navy ones, grey ones…”
“Great.”
“Dark blue, red ones, green ones…”
Morten winced. “Are you just saying colours now?” he asked.
“Yes,” admitted Nicky.
“And isn’t navy and dark blue pretty much the same colour?”
“To all intents and purposes, yes,” Nicky nodded. “Now what size jacket are you?”

Morten glanced at his chest and then back to the boy. “I have no idea.”
“Ok,” beamed Nicky, exposing a rogue piece of meat stuck between his front teeth. “Let’s get out the….” He paused as he stuck his hands down his pants before revealing a long object. “…measuring tape!”
“Hmm,” Morten sighed. “If you must.”

Nicky wrapped the tape around Morten’s chest. Muttering numbers to himself, he did some mental arithmetic in, um, his head.
“We have all sorts of sizes,” he continued. “36, 38, 40, 42, 44…”
“It’s just an increment of ‘2’ isn’t it?” Morten interjected. Nicky just nodded intently.
“You’re a 42!” he said excitedly, squeezing his hands in to fists. That’s a great size!”
Morten frowned. “Yeah, sounds like it,” he grimaced, almost slipping in the sarcasm dripping from his words.

“And shall I measure you for your waist and inside leg?” Nicky asked, hopefully.
“Let’s skip that bit,” Morten suggested. “I’m 36-inch waist.”

“I quite fancy you in a black,” Nicky said eyeing Morten from head to toe.
“Then get me a navy.”

The assistant ran off to a nearby rack and came back with an attractive navy suit.
“If you can put that on, sir! Do you need a han…?”
“NO!”

A few minutes later Morten returned from the changing room and Nicky made some measurements for the alterations.

“Superb! It looks great, sir. Is this for your job?” he asked, making polite conversation.
“Um, yes…well…no…I’m looking for a job right now,” Morten explained. “I like this…I think I’ll take it.”

“Great!” smiled Nicky as he jotted down some notes. “We’ll have this suit altered for you on Friday. Now if you would like to change out of it and join me at the cashier point when you’re ready.”

Morten returned to the cash register and handed over his credit card. Nicky did a double take as he looked at it.
“Morten Harket?” he exclaimed, wild eyed. “Oh … my … GOD!! You were like my favourite, ever! I thought you looked familiar!”
Morten smiled weakly. “I’m not him actually. I just share his name, but thank you.”
Nicky looked puzzled. “You share? So…on weekends…he…takes it…?”
“I didn’t mean that literally,” Morten explained.

Nicky tapped some keys and started humming everybody’s got to go, everybody tells you so.
“Is that an a-ha song?!” Morten snapped.
“Ehh, no. No, it’s Supertramp.”
“I’m a big fan of Supertramp,” Morten lied, “and I don’t remember that one. What album was it on?”
“It was … on ‘The Sun Never Shone That Day’ album. Um, it was rare. From Japan. They did a live version too.” Nicky cleared his throat.

“Really?” Morten said, disbelievingly. “And how would you rate both of those albums out of curiosity?”
Nicky nodded. “Probably 7/10 for ‘The Sun Never Shone That Day’ album. I like the rhythm and the bridge is groovy even if the lyrics are a bit grade school.”
“This is your view of the entire album?” Morten asked, fascinated by the still-visible beef between Nicky’s central and lateral incisor.
“Yes…” he said slowly, “that is my view of…the whole album. And the live one…”
“Oooh, tell me. Tell me what you think of the live one.”
“Oh I’d give that 7/10 too. I think it’s very…”
“Groovy?”
“Yeah, groovy,” Nicky said nervously as he looked at the credit card Morten had handed him.

“Mr Harket, I’ve tried this card twice and it’s not working.”
“Try it again,” Morten said, looking worried.
“Ok…” He swiped it again and pushed some buttons. “I’m sorry sir, it’s saying ‘denied’.”
Morten took the card back. “My wife probably didn’t pay the bill,” he said without making eye contact with Nicky. “I’ll come back…”
He turned and left the store.
“He won’t be back,” Nicky said looking at the Morten’s hunched shoulders as he left the store. Nicky hung the suit back where he found it before picking at his teeth.

Morten turned the key in his front door and was met by his expectant wife.

“So…?”

“No joy,” he said, staring at the family of rats who were using a handkerchief as a massive rodent hammock under the hall table. “It was the a-ha curse again,” he said as he checked his own teeth for beef. “And our credit card is maxed-out.”

“Never mind, darling,” she said, embracing him. “Maybe next week you’ll be able to buy a wonderful suit.”
“I should have known that today would not be the day. From the early dawn the sky was grey.”
“But the sun might shine tomorrow,” his wife said squeezing his hand.

And they went, hand in hand, to the bedroom to see if adult time would be fun. And, of course, it was.

The Adventures of Morten Harket (not that one): Part 2

Part 1 – I’ve Been Losing You

The Blood that Moves the Body

It had been a full week since Morten Harket’s unsuccessful job interview at the Acme Bank Company. The Morten Harket words of the bespectacled manager Ron McDonald echoed in his brain: “how can I stop now”…

“Indeed,” he thought to himself, “how can I stop now?”

The rain had been bucketing down all day, his flimsy and inexpensive rainjacket barely protected him from its incessant, almost intrusive actions. He stared at the insurance company shop front across the street, the dreary weather hardly lifting his spirits. “Ok,” he muttered.

A bell tinkeled as he opened the door. There must be a bell deployed just over the door frame, he thought to himself.

“Either that or an amazing coincidence,” piped a voice to his left.

“Excuse me!?” Morten frowned, looking towards the man sitting behind a cheap pine desk in the corner.

“If there is no bell deployed over the door frame then it must be a incidental sound that coincided with you opening the door!” smiled a short, balding man.
“But…”
“You’re thinking, ‘how did he know I said that to myself?'”

Morten nodded, looking around him wearily.

“Ah, well, I can read minds. I don’t do it for a living – I sell insurance for a living!” he snorted rather unattractively. “Oh, I’m Ralph Cake.” He extended his hand.
“Morten Harket,” replied Morten.

“Yes, I know. You rang about the job as office manager here at the Acme Insurance Company.”
“I did.”
“Well, please sit down. Your CV was extremely impressive…but I have to say…I thought you would be more suited to somewhere like a bank. Say, a bank?”

“Yes,” Morten smiled. “I did go to the bank but…” Morten paused.
“Yes?” Ralph inquired by raising his left eyebrow – using his finger rather than his facial muscles.
“Well, I just didn’t think I’d be a fit there. The manager was, uh, a bit fixated on my name.”
“Really?”

Ralph Cake pursed his lips. “How odd. I mean what’s in your name that intrigued him so much?”
“There is a singer who shares my name. And Mr McDonald seemed to think it would be funny to talk about the singer all the time.”

“YES!” yelled Ralph, banging his fist on the desk. “Morten Harket!”
“You remember the singer?” Morten asked nervously.
“Of course! Yes, I remember him. Oh, he was great. The blood that moves the body now covers the ground do do do dooo dooo”

Morten stared incredulously at Ralph as he proceeded to sing the entire “Blood that Moves the Body” song.

“I loved that one,” he said excitedly. “Oh, it was so moody. For me it was a direct descendant of that James Bond song. I didn’t like that one. Probably because that guy who wrote all the James Bond songs was involved. I mean COME ON!! How many songs did he get to co-write!!? There must have been about 800 Bond movies. Sheesh!”

The room descended in to silence.

“Anyway, the job…” Morten began to ask.

“The song performed poorly in the charts yet it was one of their most mature works. Makes you wonder what goes on in people’s heads sometimes. I know when that song came out I was a big fan of Sabrina. Remember her?? Boys, boys, boys, I’m looking for a good time.”

Morten stared at Ralph. “That’s the song…”

“Yes, the song, not me recounting my youth,” Ralph reaffirmed. “Wasn’t the background vocal great in that ‘Blood that Moves the Body’ song? The way My love and your love were whispered just lent a mysterious air to the whole thing. I thought it was classic. Definitely worth 9/10 of anyone’s money.”

“Are you finished now?” asked Morten as he started to button his coat.

“I’d just add that they really made an arse of it when they brought it back to the live set in the ‘Lifelines’ tour. Much like the trick they pulled with ‘The Swing of Things’, they slowed it right down and took the urgency out of it. I’d have to say 6/10 for that one.”

“I must go,” Morten said politely, turning towards the door. “Thank you for your time.”
He left Ralph Cake humming the refrain in an annoying, out of tune, high-pitched way.

Morten turned the key in his front door and was met by his expectant wife.

“So…?”

“No joy,” he said, staring at the damp patches that were becoming more prevalent in the walls, as well as his pants. Well, it had been raining. “It was the a-ha curse again,” he said as he brushed away a tear masquerading as a rain drop.

“Never mind, darling,” she said, embracing him. “Maybe next week you’ll find that perfect job.”

“The ironic thing was that as the rain fell and the interiors of the office fogged – my pain didn’t fade. It was sharper and more intense.”

“That’s not irony, dear,” she assured him. “That’s life.”

And they went, hand in hand, to the bedroom to have some more adult time together.