Cast your mind back to Season 1, episode 8 of Mad Men (for me, the only TV show that matters. Here in the UK, evil tycoon Rupert "Montgomery Burns" Murdoch has poached Mad Men from the BBC for his Sky Atlantic cable station. Which I don’t subscribe to – so how the hell I’ll ever see the much-yearned for Season 5 I’ll never know. But I digress).
Anyway, in this episode outwardly suave but inwardly tormented Brylcreemed ad exec Don Draper swings by a party thrown by his volatile beatnik mistress Midge, where the bohemian East Village guests lounge around listening to 1950s Cool Jazz (Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, to be precise) and smoke reefer. When Don arrives at the Beat party, the door to Midge’s apartment is opened by ... me?
OK, so this actor (I've done a cursory Google search and can't find a screen credit for him) is considerably more handsome than me (and inevitably taller. At 5'6", I'm jockey sized). And I wouldn't touch that earth-toned paisley shirt with a barge pole. But the scruffy ginger facial hair. The vintage horn-rimmed glasses. The pasty complexion. It’s not even like I’m averse to donning a fez on occasion ...
(New Year's Eve 2009: International sex kitten Magda and I. Dig those phallic balloons in the background!)
(Another shot from New Year's Eve 2009)
Before this, the closest I’ve had to a doppelganger in real life was the first time I ever went to the Viva Las Vegas rockabilly weekender in 2003. That weekend a female friend told me that she’d seen me coming down the escalator, went to say Hi and when she got closer she gasped – it looked exactly like me, but wasn’t me. Turns out my lookalike was French, and his name was Jean-Paul. Before the end of the weekend, my friend managed to introduce us. I don’t think he was flattered by the comparison! That was nine years ago – I think I look more like Jean-Paul now than I did then. On that weekend (my dream holiday I’d been looking forward to and saving for, my first time in Vegas) I was stricken with shingles! When the rash erupted it was like a Biblical curse, disgusting and painful. Luckily it happened towards the end of the weekend rather than the beginning. After returning from the doctor’s office, I collapsed in bed tripping on a cocktail of ultra powerful antiviral medication and prescription pain killers. The TV was on in the hotel room, tuned into CNN. While I lay there delirious, hair drenched in sweat, I heard a newscaster’s voice solemnly announce, “Jazz and blues legend Nina Simone has died aged 70 ...” So that’s how I always know exactly what I was doing on 21 April 2003.
Jean-Paul and I in Las Vegas, 2003.
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