Wednesday, 2 January 2008

DVD Enabler to the Stars

Blimey Guv…how was I to know?

This was one of my weirder experiences of 2007. It all started the day I had to go to Birmingham on business. It was the end of the day and a colleague and I were standing on platform 2B at Birmingham New Street waiting for the train back to London. When it finally arrived, it was packed and the only two seats we could find in the general stampede were sharing a table with a harassed young mother and her potentially irritating child of about 3 years or so. There seemed no option so we plonked ourselves down next to them.

Mum was struggling with a newly purchased portable DVD player, bought, clearly, to amuse the child for the next hour and three-quarters with ‘The Little Mermaid’. With wires and packing everywhere, mum was clearly struggling whilst child was getting evermore fractious. So I offered to help and after wrestling with the manual, we eventually got the thing working and ready to go - only to find that the earpieces wouldn’t fit in the child’s small ears so would I mind it on speaker if the volume were turned downish?

“No”, I said meaning, possibly.

Relative peace reigned for all of 30 seconds before child decided she wanted a drink. Exit mum and child for the buffet car leaving behind the DVD player and a very expensive looking leather jacket.

It was at this point that my colleague leaned over and hissed at me, “You do know who that is, don’t you?”
“It’s that Janine from Eastenders!” (A long running television soap, m’lud)
Well, the last time I watched Eastenders was when Ian Beale was the irksome son of Pete and Caff and Ali the Turk ran the Café, so this was news to me.
“Are you sure? No, can’t be!”
“I heard her call the kid ‘Kiki’ so it must be!”

But TV stars don’t travel in standard class so I remained unconvinced although the costly DVD player and jacket didn’t really fit the ‘young mother’ profile that you usually see on trains, so the seed of doubt was sown.

Anyway, they returned from the buffet and Kiki spent the rest of the journey spilling her drink down her front and pushing all the buttons on the DVD player so that the disc stalled while ‘Janine’ tried to read her book. As the father of a four-year-old myself, this was all too familiar.

I decamped at Watford without a backward glance, but later the next day I googled ‘Janine’ and judging by her photograph, it seems a good possibility we had been sitting next to Charlie Brooks aka ‘Janine’, real life mother of Kiki (b 2004). And I didn’t even get her autograph. So if you are reading this Charlie, I’m sorry I didn’t recognise you and hope the DVD still works.

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