Monday, 12 April 2010

Ricky Gervias & Kev the Pap on Hampstead Heath...

As this was the first weekend for about a year where I haven't either been locked in an edit suite or being shouted at by lawyers, I took a stroll in the direction of Hampstead Heath. I was enjoying the glorious sunshine, and was looking forward to 2 days without any contact with Starsuckers, media law, or anything remotely to do with celebrity culture. I realised this was not to be when I noticed an extremely long camera lens poking out from behind a silver car, pointing suspiciously in my direction. After briefly fantasising that I might now be famous enough to be pap worthy (possibly due to my "Celebrity Squares" interview in The Guardian), I realised it was our old friend Kev The Pap winding me up. He had been trawling the streets of North London with his partner in crime  - "Slippery John" - and they had clocked me walking down the road, pulled over and hopped out. I asked Kev how the pap business was going, and he replied "not bad - got a restraining order from Richard and Judy last week", which made me laugh so much I nearly staggered into oncoming traffic. It seems that Kev had snapped Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan having a liquid lunch a few days earlier, and the pictures appeared in The Sun the following day with the sensitive headline "RICHARD AND WOOZY!". Rather than moderate their drinking habits, Richard and Judy served Kev with a restraining order preventing him taking pictures of them, enabling them to get pissed in peace. It seems that this is a growing trend among celebrities who are using anti harassment legislation to curb the enthusiastic behaviour of London paps. "Slippery John" nodded in agreement as Kev was telling us this, and then remarked proudly that he now can't go within 20 feet of David Walliams. The lawyers and judges who serve these draconian injunctions to curb the freedom of the press, probably didn't envisage that they would become badges of honour amoung the photographers they are meant to restrict. One may not publicly endorse what Kev and Slippery John get up to in order to fill our newspapers with photos of celebrity mishap (even though we all read the damn things), but there is a very fine line between preventing paps snapping boozy TV presenters, and restricting the press reporting on a politician or a public figure. And as the line between entertainers and politicians gets increasingly blurred, it is a worrying day when people in power can stop anybody taking photos in a public place.

While we were chewing the fat over this, Kev did his usual trick of slipping his card to my companion, saying "Give us a call if you see any celebs... if I get a picture I'll sort you out a bung". My friend took the card, and - looking down the street - replied: "Er, isn't that Ricky Gervais?" We all turned, and sure enough, there Ricky Gervais jogging up the high street, panting and wheezing like he was about to have a heart attack. Kev and John then lost crucial seconds arguing about who's turn it was to get the shot, and by the time Slippery John had got his camera out the back of the car, Gervais had run straight past us. John called out after him, but Gervais - presumably realising that he didn't look at his best - found some untapped source of energy and pegged it off down the street. John - by no means a sprightly figure himself - barreled off after him, and we were treated to the hilarious sight of a portly celebrity being chased by an even more portly pap with an absurdly long lens. Gervais cunningly ran round a bus shelter a couple of times, to the surprise of the members of the public out for a stroll in the sunshine, meaning John was unable to get a decent shot. Gervais managed to escaped into the throng, and Slippery John staggered back, looking like just run a marathon. Once Kev stopped having hysterics they jumped into their mercedes, did a U turn, and gave chase. It seems that by the time that they caught up with him, Gervais had used his lead to take a crucial few moments to sort out his appearance, as their pictures that have appeared in The Daily Mail show him looking pretty trim and composed.

It was great to see an old friend again, and if anyone sees any celebs out and about, do give Kev a call and he'll sort you out with a few quid.

Kev The Pap - 07776 347360
Kev's Showbiz Column

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