As I wander through this world of Social Media and discover the what and the how and the who, the thought has often come to me: what makes a ‘celebrity’. There are many ‘celebrities’ in the Social Media realm – many true but some self-ordained.
So, off the shelf I hauled my Oxford dictionary to define the word:
ce•leb•ri•ty: [L. celebritas < celeber: see celebrate.] A celebrated or famous person; the state of being celebrated, extolled or talked about; fame; renown.
Many years ago, before I became a grown-up with a dog to feed and a yard to rake, I worked for a concert promotion company. We promoted acts like U2 and The Rolling Stones … kinda big deals. My job was to manage the backstage passes for the press, various officials, and a few lucky ‘fans’. I watched the concerts from the Press area then would scoot off to the Green Room to verify and greet pass holders. I had the opportunity to meet and talk with people like Bono and David Bowie (who is taller than I thought he would be and devastatingly charming. Yes. I’m gushing.). It was a pretty sick gig for me.
The second summer into this job, I broke my leg quite badly, requiring a rather cumbersome full length cast. I could still do my job – just more slowly.
Our biggest concert that summer was a band with whom you may be familiar; Pink Floyd. The show was amazing. After the show, the Green Room was an asylum so the band requested relocation to a different venue. Finding that venue was my job. I commandeered a limo to take us to a small venue in the east end – The Diamond. It had a small stage where a local band was performing and also a private area; The Lizard Lounge. Pink Floyd was thrilled with the Lizard Lounge. They had comfy couches, a private bar (although none drank much), and some quiet time.
Herein lies the rub. I spent the next two hours sitting with David Gilmore talking about life, the universe, and everything. He asked about, and was interested in, my life, who I was, and what I thought (and what the hell happened to my leg). He told me about his life, who he was, and what he thought. It remains one of the most genuine conversations I have ever experienced. (And, yes, he signed my cast).
Nothing is very secret for very long. Murmurs were flooding the venue that Pink Floyd was on site. These gentlemen walked out of the Lizard Lounge, onto the stage and jammed with the local band. The thrill for everyone in the room was palpable. The ‘real’ for everyone in the room was extraordinary.
Celebrity is not about being ‘famous’ or ‘renown’ or ‘extolled’. It’s not about having two million followers. Real celebrity is borne of connection, mutual respect, conversation, courtesy, and regard.
What is your definition of a Celebrity? What makes you a Celebrity?