Sunday 6th May – In Friday’s narrative The Last Ship I penned a parody review of Sting’s theatre production of the same name. A thought-provoking drama infused with music manifesting from the creatively fertile mind of the ex-Police frontman.

Within the monologue of this offering I omitted to mention that during a former life Sting taught at the Newcastle school where a few of my cricketing mates studied. I don’t believe he taught any of them, or they covertly inspired the lyrics to Sting’s Police anthem ‘Don’t Stand So Close To Me’, but they weren’t shy at relaying this connection.

Basking in other people’s glory is a bizarre trait that we’ve probably all been guilty of at some point in our existences. In the past I’ve boasted off attending the Gateshead school where two of the Euro 96 England football squad attended – Paul Gascoigne (Gazza) and Steve Stone.

As I’d left that alma mater before both lads arrived, I didn’t know either of them. That being said, it doesn’t stop me attempting to acquire kudos on the back of the tenuous link. The only real connection being, like Gazza, during my time at Heathfield Senior High I was told by teacher Mr Hepworth I’d never be a professional footballer…….. At least he was right on some occasions!


If truth be told, though, the five bellies of Gazza’s mate Jimmy were on closer speaking terms with the Bensham lad. My sister was in the same school form as the sister of footballer Steve Stone. Sensibly, though, I rarely attempt to bask in that particular snippet of info.

My wife Karen and I had a discussion many years ago about our particular ‘claims to fame’. It was an unremarkable conversation where I unearthed my spouse basked in celebrity glory of the fact her English teacher once met actress Judi Dench. To add a further spin of desperation, they weren’t related, they’d just met once.

Underwhelmed by my missus’ revelation, I felt moved to ridicule this ‘claim to fame’. Thankfully, though, when I thought more deeply about it I desisted antagonising Karen. After all, was her anecdote any less impressive than attending the same school as international footballers who I’d never met!

If truth be told, although I have fleetingly engaged in conversation with a few professional cricketers and Harry Gration’s butcher, if asked about my existential connections with celebrity I now respond “My wife’s old English teacher once met a young Judi Dench.”

When I was but a nipper, my grandma Phoebe mentioned we were related to master of movie macabre Alfred Hitchcock through marriage to a distant cousin. Even though my dad uttered “First I’ve heard of it!” when I sought confirmation months later, shower times became a lot tenser for GJ Strachan after my paternal grandmother’s ‘revelation’.

In middle age, I’m of the opinion that it’s a bit sad we feel the need to bask in the glory of individuals who’ve had their fifteen minutes of fame, as Andy Warhol labelled it. Consequently, I’ve decided to address this attention seeking behavioural trait.

Anyhow, I need to bring the narrative to a conclusion, I’m meeting Basil Brush’s minder for a pint in less than an hour!………. Boom, Boom!!