Following a strenuous morning's Christmas shopping at Lakeside, Mrs Stodge and I retired to Ed's Easy Diner for an early lunch (not up to Red Robin standards but not bad). We had seats up at the "bar" area and had just got our burgers when Mrs Stodge remarked there were security people and a commotion.
I looked round to see the end booth being sealed off by a very large security man while another guarded the door as four young people walked in, two girls and two boys, and a crowd of near-hysterical teenagers gathered outside.
I got a look at the assembled foursome and at the two young men and failed to recognise either of them. Were they members of One Direction or possibly Union J or some other boy band ? The girls on the outside tried everything to catch a glance of their hero and screamed at every half-appearance.
Curiousity got the better of me and I asked our waitress:
"Oh, it's only Joey from TOWIE" she replied, "No one else on any of the other tables knew who it was either."
As a 51-year-old man who was never watched TOWIE, I had to look up Joey Essex. He looks an unremarkable figure but the very sight of him had thirty or forty teenage girls in near-hysterics. I thought lunch at Ed's Easy Diner at Lakeside hardly marked the height of notoriety but he was apparently "entertaining" a pair of competition winners.
Nonetheless, as I opined to Mrs Stodge, as we left the restaurant and the crowd of fans, "their mothers probably screamed at Donny Osmond and their grandmothers at Elvis Presley so nothing much changes".
Walking away from the darkness of "Z"-list infamy back into reality left me strangely subdued.