A Cultural Expedition To Milnerton To Incur The Wrath Of Ewan McGregor
Photos without borders link through to Flickr. (If that is of interest to you.)
Milnerton. I know. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Friday, 3 August 2007: Negotiating Transport
Me: "... so you can meet Ewan McGregor."
My sister: "What's the catch?"
Me: "I need a lift."
[Four hours later.]
My sister: "Do I need to take money?"
Me: "What do you need money for? Dance, Ewan, dance!"
My sister: "I don't know ... in case there's a cash bar or something."
Me: "This isn't a cocktail party, it's a press conference."
Saturday, 4 August 2007: The Bit Where I'm Running Late
My sister arrived promptly at the agreed-upon time of 13:45. I was running late. I spilt tea on the couch. These things happen.
Saturday, 4 August 2007: The Bit Where We Arrive Early
The plan was to leave the suburbs 45 minutes ahead of time in order to beat Saturday-afternoon traffic. There was no traffic, for the first time in the history of the M5-N1 turnoff. We got to the hotel about 20 minutes early. I would have taken a photo to capture my surprise, but I was saving my shots for Ewan. I thought I might run out. My camera also takes video.
Saturday, 4 August 2007: The Bit Where Ewan Runs Late
This is the view from the beach at the hotel. I had time to take multiple shots of it, with the thought of making a panorama later. I know, you're thinking: "... but you just said you were conserving your shots ...." I said I know! It gets boring standing in the sun for over an hour waiting for a celebrity. Plus, it affects your brain.
This is the press. What gives it away are all the large, expensive cameras. This is how you can differentiate the press from the public. If you are ever on a beach and you see the press, chances are something exciting is going to happen. My advice: stick around. The wait may be worth the wait.
This shot holds great significance for me for two reasons. First, I could practically see the circle graphics I would be able to make to illustrate my points. I love circle graphics. It's about the only thing I do in Photoshop these days besides resize images and make black 1px borders. Second, the sign contains a huge mistake: there is a - well, most would say "superfluous"; I would say "highly offensive to my profession" - apostrophe. Someone call Helen Zille immediately! She needs to take care of it! Literacy for all, not just those with crumbling N2 Gateway houses!
Oh! I forgot to point out what the first thing was: see the "No Alcohol Allowed" sign? See the alcohol? That's my point.
Saturday, 4 August 2007: The Bit Where Ewan Arrives
I didn't take any significant pictures. In fact, the only thing of significance was that they were over an hour late, and when Ewan removed his helmet his hair was perfect! You can imagine what my theory as to why he was late is.
This is why one is not allowed alcohol on the beach: because it messes up the lenses of your very expensive cameras. My digital camera cost me over R3 000. That's a lot of money! My Pentax film camera is priceless ... and doesn't belong to me. I left my one at home so that it wouldn't get damaged.
I'm sure, with - presumably - R50 000+ equipment the TV-camera people felt the same way. Although, of course, they didn't have to pay for their equipment with their own hard-earned money. So, actually, nevermind. They don't know how I feel. I am alone in my pain. And it's quite painful.
This is Ewan McGregor with Charley Boorman. Charley is just as important as Ewan, except for purposes of this blog post.
However, I must say, in terms of odds of being able to have a decent conversation without being chased away by "people", Charley is the better bet. He also seems very pleasant and kind and doesn't scowl at the media. More on that later.
(By the way it's hard to take photos such as this when you are not tall.)
I know there's a defect in the lens. I wish I could blame the alcohol, but it wasn't to blame. Sadly, this defect appeared a few weeks ago. I don't really remember how. I think I need to blame alchohol for that.
Anyway, Ewan is saying something about something. I think it was something about Cape Town, but I'm not really sure. You probably don't care either because I'm sure you're more interested in hearing his sexy Scottish accent than what he's saying in his sexy Scottish accent.
Unless you're a guy and not gay, in which case you're probably marvelling at his hair.
Above: Ewan squinting (obscured by red circle). It's not pretty.
This was what I was hoping would be my money shot. Isn't it spectacular? Look at the angle. Look at the lack of crowd (somewhat) and annoying professional photographers blocking my shot. Look at the deep, blue, African sky.
Unfortunately Ewan chose this precise moment to squint into the sunlight. I guess he hasn't spent enough time in Africa or he'd be used to it by now. Anyway, he ruined my shot. I'm not amused. A-list stars should be able to compensate instantly for metereological phenomena. That's why they're paid a fortune.
Here's an annoying professional photographer blocking my shot. Now you know what I'm talking about. This could have been my new money shot. My sister said: "You know, you can crop it." I realise this, but then I can't complain about the guy that's in the way, ruining my money shot. You understand.
Here's another potential money shot. Look at how well I framed him.
Saturday, 4 August 2007: The Bit Where I Accidentally Stalk Ewan McGregor And Incur His Wrath And That Of His People*
*Not the church (for a change)
I got distracted being in the sun for so long and didn't realise it was time to go into the hotel for the press conference. All of a sudden, outside, it was just me and a couple of other photographers (and my sister), and Ewan, and we were on the move into the hotel. Because my primary camera was the film camera, and film is expensive, I figured I should use up my film on something decent so that I could get my earlier shots developed without wasting money. So I started taking photos as Ewan walked into the hotel.
Boy can Ewan walk fast.
We got to the lifts and I managed to get a shot of him with my sister in the picture as well (yeah, she owes me), at which point one of Ewan's people told those of us with cameras to back off. I guess that's when I automatically graduated to "paparazzi".
Saturday, 4 August 2007: The Press Conference
This is what it looks like to be in a row with the television press. I wouldn't know what it feels like to be in front of a row of the television press because, for some reason, no one wanted to interview me.
It's probably just as well because I really didn't have anything of significance to say. As usual.
They wouldn't let us take photos. They gave us 30 seconds, and that was it. So I only managed to take two shots, and this was the best one.
I will have to paint the picture for you then. I'll do it succinctly.
The press conference lasted about 20 minutes, they spoke about Africa, about three people got to ask questions, when Ewan wasn't speaking he sat back with his arms folded and menacingly eyed every person in the room, one by one. It was rather creepy.
I felt fait due to low bloody* pressure, lack of food and water, and nearly three hours of standing in the sun, so I had to duck down behind the rows of journalists a few times to regain my fortitude and, you know, not faint from "the vapours" (since I doubt Ewan would have come to my aid). It was unpleasant because it reminded me of high school assemblies, which was a wonderful way to round off the day.
That, my friends, is the true experience of being a journalist!
Mandy J Watson's Guide To Ewan McGregor: All Your Most Pressing Questions Answered
For those wondering, I have been asked at least half of the following questions. The rest I have included in order to preempt the inevitable enquiries, as I know what you're all wondering about. Now we don't need to have that conversation.
Q: Is his hair sexy?
A: Yes, I guess his hair is sexy.
Q: Does he have a sexy smile?
A: Yes, I guess he has a sexy smile.
Q: Does he have a sexy accent? Is it a thick, Scottish accent?
[You may also refer to the video above for your own personal clarity.]
A: Yes, I guess he has a sexy accent. It's not that thick, it's medium, or whatever. Basically, it's what you hear on film: that's what it sounds like in real life. Reasonably Scottish. [Yes, I generally look perturbed when I answer this question.]
Q: Did he whip it out?
A: No, he did not. He only whips it out when he's on film; we call that "art". If he were to whip it out in real life, we would call that "indecent".
Extra Flickr Photos:  
*Freudian typo. It stays.