Top 5 Celeb Sightings

A rite of passage that everyone goes through when they first move to London is experiencing their first celebrity sighting - it really is impossible to live here without bumping into the great and the good when you least expect it as the city is teeming with stellar residents and visitors, adding a big pinch of glamour to everyday life. Here are my top 5 celeb sightings (and near misses) since I've lived in London.

1. Hollywood royalty 

One day a few years ago as we were strolling down St. Martin's Lane near Covent Garden, my boyfriend Alex suddenly had a fit of mild apoplexy, grabbing my arm while trying to suppress manic vulpine howls. It turns out that the wholly inconspicuous gentleman who had just walked past us was none other than cinematic luminary Steven Spielberg. Had I been on my own, there was absolutely no way that I would have ever have recognised him. It just makes you wonder how many more of the world's premiere creative talents I've walked past obliviously over the last decade. On another occasion, we got to meet the popular cult film director Kevin Smith at a double bill he was introducing at The Prince Charles Cinema just off Leicester Square, his favourite cinema in the UK. I have a photo of Alex on stage with him looking as chuffed as a hamster in a popcorn factory.

2...and surprise hosts! 

Around the same time, Alex and I managed to bag ourselves some last minute free tickets to a low key preview screening in one of the smaller cinemas in Leicester Square of John Wick 2, a fun but gory action flick starring Keanu Reeves as an assassin having a hard time retiring. As we settled down in front of one of the smaller screens amongst a decent but by no means packed audience, who should stroll in to introduce the film but Keanu Reeves himself. He stayed for all of 30 seconds, saying, 'I hope you enjoy the film, it's crazy!'. He wasn't wrong! Another time, we went to a promo Q&A for another film in Leicester Square with actual real life Will Smith (though he was actually scheduled to be there), possibly the most famous person I've seen in the flesh bar the Pope in Rome.

3. Sporting legends and political villains 

The 2012 London Olympics was an amazing time for all Londoners and a positive, feverishly happy mood swept through the city for the whole of the summer. I watched the opening ceremony at The Anchor on Bankside, right next to the Thames and I remember watching the amazing moment that David Beckham hurtled down the river in a speed boat on the screen in front of me only to realise that he must have just sped right past where I was sat. I got to watch a day of the Paralympic athletics at the Olympic Stadium and saw the incomparable David Weir snare one of his six gold medals and the now infamous Oscar Pistorius in action (as well as weaselly Chancellor George Osborne get booed by the crowd before presenting medals). And two years later, I very nearly got to meet the ultimate Olympic hero - a friend and I were at the legendary Hip Hop Karaoke night which back then was held in the basement of The Social off Oxford Street, and we had to leave around 11pm to get home for work the next day. I later read in the paper that Usain Bolt had arrived moments after we'd left to start a long night of partying in the capital.

4. 90s Heartthrobs 

When I was a student at King's College, I worked in the uni's legendary and now sadly closed nightclub on the Strand, Tutu's, named after preeminent King's alumnus Archbishop Desmond Tutu. From time to time they hosted gigs by lesser know members of the musical pantheon, and one day I was told that one such fixture would be a week long residency by 90s boyband Hanson. I - along with every other member of staff - laughed my head off at the idea of the them trying to stretch out their one hit wonder 'MMMBop' for five whole days in front of their one 20 something fan. But how wrong I was! Before we knew it, the whole week was sold out and there were whispers of extra security to stave off the advances of the crazed megafans, who right on queue started to camp out outside. More research revealed that Hanson had in fact written a whole host of very popular and admittedly very good albums (who knew?). When the first night finally came around and Hanson appeared on stage, I was legitimately swept up in the hysteria as they turned out to be the most preternaturally angelic presence I have ever laid my eyes on, a far cry from the bleached 90s fringe-sporting teens they had once been. I've never been so unexpectedly star struck before or since!

5. Knights of the Realm 

I also used to work at The Hampstead Theatre as an usher. One day as I was clearing the auditorium, I noticed that someone had dropped their wallet. As I bent down to pick it up, a distinguished figure walked towards me to retrieve it. It was Sir Ian McKellen. Come to think of it, I probably should have checked a bank card to make sure it was his, he could have just nicked it.  

Bonus round!

Oh, and as a bonus, I've just remembered - after heading down to Parliament to gawk at an anti-Brexit protest with a friend in the summer of 2016, as we walked back down Whitehall we spotted someone turning down a side street. 'It's Gareth Southgate!' my friend exclaimed. Me: 'As in the footballer? What's he doing here?' My friend: 'He's probably having a meeting with the FA, there's a rumour that he's going to become the next England manager.' Me: 'Pfft, can't see it.'