May 15: Cannes

Photographers' ladders opposite the Red Carpet at Cannes


They say that if you don’t see someone famous when you’re on Chiswick High Road, you’re not looking. One day as I was driving I noticed Vanessa Redgrave walking by herself, then five minutes later when I was waiting to turn onto the A4, I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw the woman who was the aristocrat in Lovejoy (ok, not so famous) waiting behind me; then I looked away and saw Charles Dance talking to a woman on the street. (Later that day I also saw Ralph Fiennes sitting outside Maison Bertaux, but to be fair, that’s not Chiswick.) That was a good haul, but on the fame thermometer nothing can beat being at Bibendum with Joel for lunch while Princess Di AND Brad Pitt were there (not together). My own personal best was sitting next to Paul Newman on a bus when all cars were snowed in in Connecticut, but I know a lot of people have trouble believing that one. It’s true! I swear!

Gloria and I

What I’m trying to say is, fame seeks me out, yup. For the Cannes film festival yesterday, however, I made an exception. I hung out like a twerp, a gawping fan, at the edge of the Red Carpet. I wanted to see Johnny Dept arrive for the screening of Pirates of the Caribbean. Why, I don’t know. I have a soft spot for him, but mostly I assumed he’d stroll over and give me his autograph for my nephew. (No, I hadn’t been drinking…)

Gloria as Jack Sparrow. I love the look on the Indian TV presenter's face while she waits her turn...

I went with Gloria, visiting from London and Margaret who has an apartment in Antibes. It was actually lots of fun to be part of a very lively crowd, but we definitely felt like the have-nots without Festival passes dangling round our necks. Then we got bored. There’s only so long you can stand behind a jungle of photographers looking at an empty red carpet. There were sillier things to do, like stick your head through cardboard cutouts of Jack Sparrow. And more entertaining things, like watch a whole 1940s military parade, which was advertising a French film about the resistance.

Resistance dog

As for Johnny, I expect he’ll be moving to Chiswick soon, so I’ll just keep my eyes open next time I’m home.

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About Suellen Grealy

In 2011, a series of coincidences led my husband Joel, our cat Ted and me away from London, where we lived quite happily for 30 years, to Nice, where Joel grew up. While he and his sister ran their restaurant, I wrote a novel. Family being family, Joel and his sister no longer work together. Writing being writing, the novel lingers on... Meanwhile, we've found ways of living a completely different life from the one we had in London, including running our own restaurant together, 7 Villermont. The only constants are our Ted, our now-battered Peugeot, and each other. Everything else is a complete surprise
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One Response to May 15: Cannes

  1. Sarah says:

    You know I still believe it was Paul Newman sitting next to you!

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