A lifetime ago I saw Vicky Coren in a pub in Oxford. Didnt know her from Adam Dalgliesh at the time - she stuck in my mind because although she looked like a right posh bird, she laughed like the lovechild of Sid James and Dot Cotton.
A few years later she turned out to be An Famous and more especially, An Famous who played cards on the telly. An Famous who played cards on the telly, who I'd seen in a pub. Brilliant. Pub Story Gold. According to the rules of popular culture she became an anecdotal fixture in my life whenever poker, laughing and/or posh birds came up in the conversation.
"That Vicky Coren, yeah she used to drink in my local, got the best laugh in the world that girl, and she plays cards on the telly. She's lovely she is."
All based on nothing of course but clearly repeated often enough to ensure that when Once More With Feeling hit the bookstores I got 7 copies as birthday presents. I had to return 6 of them and to this day I'm still known to the staff in my local bookshop as "the porn book guy".
So, skip some years and replay the scene. This year I only got 4 copies of For Richer, For Poorer - clearly I've lost some mates over the years - but still not a bad show. In the birthday gift Top 10 that got her third spot behind some rather nice malt whisky and a painting by Sadie Hennessy - a good result for a random, one anecdote, half serious, 14 year old, pretend celebrity crush.
And now she's gone and ruined it.
Not only has she written one of the most honest books about the poker lifestyle ever, but in a surprise move she's thrown the rules of conventional Celeb-Biography out of the window - she's only gone and been straight up about herself.
No more mysterious, half imagined, poker playing posh bird with a cockney sparrow laugh, no more saucy funny bird tucked up on Charlie "it's not a panel show" Brooker's silly chair. Oh sure, she's still An Famous but now she's gone and revealed herrself as an actual real life person. A real person who has the same thrills and spills as the rest of us. A real person who gets down about herself sometimes, who sometimes gets overdrawn at the bank, who muddles on just like we all do. How on earth am I supposed to have a pretend celebrity crush on her now? Play the game Coren!
I suppose we had a good run but it looks like I'll have to buff up the Tracey Emin anecdote now and god alone knows where that'll all end up.
Buy this book. It's a belter, and so by all accounts is she.