Midnight Cowboying – How to be a paparazzi in London (¡Open Thread!)

How to be a paparazzi in London

I have had many jobs in many lands, some more honorable than others. But at the end of the day, they were all amusing. And one of the most amusing ones was my time as a paparazzi. And as with most of my dealings with the world, I had to do it in style. I worked for the most notorious paparazzi in the world, Big Pictures. Some might wonder how does one become a paparazzi, since you can’t exactly put your resume in somewhere. Well, here is how to be one in London, England.

1) You need an in.

My in of course was the logical one most people have, a Malaysian independent filmmaker. He got me in the door and the next thing I knew I was giving a camera, a map and list of who was considered A List in the British Isles.

2) Rig the game.

I am lazy, some might say bone lazy. I have no desire to chase people around the city on a motorbike. Or to stake them out for hours on end. So I rigged the system. Realizing I would get 150 pounds a pop per photo of A listers doing such mundane shit as leaving Nobo or China Whites, I went and bribed the hosts. After laying a 50 pound note on them, with a promise of 50 pounds more if the photo I get runs, I was soon receiving calls about countless celebs dining at hot spots all over the city. But they can spot a paparazzi a mile away.

3) You have to develop an act.

While those who have met me say I don’t have an accent, that’s because I play an American in New York City. When back home, or aboard, I mosey back on into to my true Texas state. This worked like a champ in London, as I became the yokel Texas tourist who just happened upon English celebs. When they would walk out while I was casually taking pictures of the restaurant, my eyes would become as big as saucers and I would run over Texasing it up saying something along the lines of:

“Oh mah gawd, a celebritiy! I know you get this all the time, but can I get a picture of you? I have seen all your movie/plays/music video/television shows, and nobody back home will believe me unless I get a picture. Please, for the love of Texas, just 15 seconds of your time!”

I had this act down worthy of an Oscar. I would come back not only with perfect picture of celebs in perfect poses, a rarity in the paparazzi world, I would come back with pictures of me dancing with Hugh Grant, smoking cigs with Oasis, or being kissed on the cheek by Liz Hurley. The paparazzi firm was impressed.

They were so impressed they made me production manager and I left the field. And it was then, when I processed the photos from the paparazzis to the magazines, seeing every set, that I got to hold the lowest common denominator of culture in my hand.

4) Post-Game Wrap-up

When you leave, tell everyone what you have done, and become a legend in the industry. You might just be known as The Hillbilly, The Texan Who Outsmarted us All. As my boss put it, “Thank god all Texans aren’t paparazzis, you are more clever than the English.”

And for an Englishman to pay you that compliment makes it all worth while. That and the countless publicity stills I took with me for one of the most dense private pop culture archives on the planet.

And oh, for the love of God, don’t do the same celebrity twice, unless they are notorious drunks. Which, truth be told, is almost all of them anyway.

True story.


But I did learn something.


Impressions on Imperialism During My Time in London

When I was an internationalist punk rock kid, I had the chance to visit some rather swank places. Near the top of this list was London, where I was briefly employed as a paparazzi. Since I didn’t take my job very seriously, I was able to see the cultural treasures of the English people. When I visited the stone monument of the Queen of the Empire, I swear she spoke to me. Here is my reflections on that event.

  Standing at the gates of empire, the revelation of what truly was happening in the world became both joyously and painfully clear to me. Though I am sure there isn’t word for it in the English language, I am equally as certain the Germans have one for such an event. Watching the toy soldiers in their boxes on such the picturesque London day, dark and grey as an Earl tea, I could hear the little fate on old Queen Victoria started speaking to me.

  “Behold,” he whispered in a voice that even his own retainer of stone could not hear. “Here lies the monument of the last great empire before parity.”

  “Whisper softly,” giggled the fate as he kissed the cheek of his once and always queen. “Please, good sir, whisper ever so softly when you mention the wonders of the Internet. For my dear old ruler of the empire of the never-setting sun, she cannot take it, for it makes even her granite brows furrow.”

  Luckily for the English, they, and their dear old friends across the channel, got their empires on well before the advancement of the thundering herd of humanity made such enterprises not only laughable, but extremely adverse and absurd.

  “With such folly,” the Queen finally sighed, “did we grant the masses communication instead of cake. If only my colonies had followed my advise of suppressions of the proletariat through opulence, surely they would not be getting my dear subjects in the line of fire in this movement of ages.”

  She was surely right, in death as in life, in all things political. Surely, political historians will write volumes of the downfall of the American empire will be the releasing of Apranet into hands of the common man in the form of the Internet. With this most seemingly harmless of tools, we clever monkeys gained the advantage of instantanous communications across all parts of our fine little green marble in space and time.

  Now when we act like the imperalistic empires before us, the peoples whose backyard we are throwing our own private party in are able to call their neighbors over for a good old fashion woodshed session. When the French stole the resources of Africa from the Africans, it took a couple of generations for the continent as whole to realize what happened.

  “Pity for the Americans,” sneaked the Fate, “For this happens today with the click of a button.”


My Top 5 Favorite Things Today

1) Apocalypse Ponys!

2) This is so cute it makes my heart explode into candy.

2) Charlie Goes To Candy Mountain

4) b3ta challenge: monkey movies

5) NSFW Unicorn Adventure


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  1. the ONLY POSSIBLE WAY I could deal with it would to be 3/4 drunk….constantly!

    Take that shit seriously for even half a mo….and yer sunk.

    I met all my celebs in Aspen….where they were relaxed and you could really see the damage. The only one I didn’t feel sorry for wsa Nicholson, he just grooved on it

    I wouldn’t mind riches….but lord save me from fame!

  2. my open thread pony party tomorrow has a monkey in it…he terrorizes two young tigers.  a bad, bad monkey.  check it out in ‘future essays’….it’s the eeny, meeny pony party.

    but i swore off monkeys!!  i guess i can love this little guy, since my swearing off didnt post yet…

    i have some awesome candid pics of pro hockey players, but only for my private collection.  the only other celeb i ever took a picture of was connie chung, and that was of her shoes.  my friend michelle just HAD to have a picture of those shoes.  i think we were both just pretty disgusted that she was wearing fur…so i have a picture of connie chung’s shoes.

    i think this is on central time:

    • pfiore8 on September 14, 2007 at 6:32 am

    you got it down, don’t you?

    i was a feature writer for the local paper and had some interesting connections and found myself on the sidelines of the New York Jets doing a story and thought i might as well take the pictures, while i was there.

    Now, I’m not a photographer but i love to take pictures and was happily snapping away (before digital) when i felt the ground shutterings beneath my feet… i looked up to see the green shirts running TOWARDS ME after being introduced on the field … holy shit and olympic leap out of the way, i live to tell you the tale… the other, more experienced photogs came over and said, New here? Yup… a n00b…

    still like that puppy seal face…

    • pico on September 14, 2007 at 6:34 am

    Singular: paparazzo

    *end pedantry

    Although you know better than I do.

    Awesome diary.  Every empire seems to think that it won’t fall like the previous ones, and some former empires (*cough, cough, Russia) still haven’t come to terms with the fact that they’re no longer colonists.  We’re at the top of the world right now, and we’ll probably still feel that way a good generation after we’ve tumbled down to the foothills.  It’s a lingering mentality that takes a while to fade. 

    “Lest we forget”, said Kipling.

    • pfiore8 on September 14, 2007 at 7:29 am

    that was a classy thing to do… and thanks for it… it is important story

    another defining moment for DD… stepping aside when it counts for something!!!

    i believe you now, about being not getting the famous thing…

  3. till a princess is offed by the crown.

    Amazing story, my life seems so bland by contrast.  But dancing with Hugh Grant, I’m not sure if that’s a perk or a nightmare.


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