I am now officially 'cool' after meeting TikTok star Alfie / Sue Plunket
It's not often you are considered to be 'cool' in the eyes of your children.
But it happened last weekend when I met TikTok star Alfie Webb. Not only did I meet him but he came to my house!
Created in 2016 TikTok allows users to watch, create, and share 15-second videos shot on mobile phones
Now available in more than 150 different countries the app now has around 1.1 billion active global users.
Jenny, my daughter, was beside herself with excitement on learning that Alfie, would actually be in our home. She was also crestfallen that she would not be here to see him when he came to collect some furniture I was selling.
So she got the next best thing when Alfie video called her for a chat. It absolutely made her day.
I also got a 'selfie' with Alfie, just to prove I had actually met him. I felt a bit embarrassed that I don't really 'get' TikTok, to be honest. But his 44.7k followers, who know him as @notroadmanralph, certainly do!
Meeting Alfie got me thinking about all the famous people I have met, usually through work. And I am always star struck if I see someone famous, it doesn't matter who they are.
As a huge Coronation Street fan I was stopped in my tracks when I saw the late actress Anne Kirkbride in Selfridges in Manchester. Anne played the iconic character Deirdre Barlow, famed for her dowdy clothes and huge glasses. But in real life Anne was statuesque and very glamorous, but I was far too nervous to approach her.
As a student working for a local newspaper in a small town just outside Leeds I met and interviewed comedian Ken Dodd and he was absolutely charming. He had called a press conference to speak about a tour of the North West he was embarking on so there were quite a few journalists from the national papers there.
I was so nervous but Ken put me right at ease and took my questions before anyone else. He was polite, down to earth and a joy to interview for a fledgling reporter.
Former Prime Minister John Major was another 'celebrity' I met when he came to Lancashire in the early 90s. The press were giving him a hard time for not being 'exciting' enough so I asked him what he would say to people who called him boring. He thought for a second before replying: 'I just ignore them.'
I didn't get chance to ask him anything else as it was a real scrum of journos and cameramen trying to get to him, I has to fight my way through them all.
Singer Marti Pellow of Wet Wet Wet fame is another celebrity I got the opportunity to meet when he was in the musical Chicago in Manchester. A real heart throb in the 80s and 90s I was surprised at how small he was!!
I am 5 ft 2 and he wasn't much taller. And he had the strongest Glaswegian accent I have ever heard.
I kept having to ask him to repeat himself!!
Although I never got to meet her I did interview Gloria Gaynor by phone several years ago. She was so lovely and chatty it was hard to imagine I was speaking to the woman behind the mega hit I Will Survive.
More recently I interviewed Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer and, due to covid, it had to be conducted via Zoom as it was right in the middle of the pandemic. Considering he must have to deal with journalists' questions and probing on a daily basis, Sir Keir was friendly and engaging.
During a press trip to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Blackpool Tower several years ago I met several celebrities and household names including comedy duo Little and Large, singer Linda Nolan of the Nolan Sisters fame, and singer Joe Longthorne who I was a massive fan of until his death in 2019.
Comedian Jim Davidson was also there and was holding court with journalists who had come from across the UK for the junket.
And my interview with Jim was cut rather short when he made a rather rude suggestion which left me blushing!
Time for me to exit stage left.