Saturday, 15 April 2017

Excuse me, but aren't you....?


I saw the strangest thing in my village street yesterday: a little Paul Weller lookalike.

He had the whole feathery hair thing going on – the too-short fringe and the too-long bits in front of the ears, and he was wearing a nasty beige jacket and smoking something smelly which barely concealed the scent of an also rather nasty aftershave.  As our paths crossed I could see quite a facial resemblance: the slenderness and pointed jaw, close together eyes, a longish nose – although it was kind of like viewing Paul Weller in a Hall Of Mirrors. 

I assume he’s a fan and not getting paid for it, although I s'pose he could front a Jam tribute band .  It got me thinking, though… as a lot of fans do like to look like their idols, which comes first?  Do people remark that you remind them of someone and then you consciously assemble everything from there – not just the whole look, but wanting to buy their records and go to their gigs too?  Do you have to convince yourself, maybe even force yourself, to like the output of the artist you so naturally resemble?   Or is it pure coincidence that you’re already a fan and just happen to look like them too?  Almost like there’s something in the genes – for example, statistics show that  93% of people with Elvis-type (‘Elvine’) features also have an innate penchant for The King’s music.  But I may have just made that up.

When I was working in a record shop, one of our regulars was a Gary Numan fan, who really did look like his idol.  Of course the dyed hair and the black and red outfit helped with the illusion, but he already had the basics covered in his facial features.    Siouxsie lookalikes were also a common phenomenon in the ‘80s, but probably not too hard a look to achieve if you have the right make-up and some hair crimpers.  I’ve seen Princes, Rod Stewarts and even now there’s an assistant at our local B&Q who’s a slightly shorter version of Elton John.  I’ve often wondered if she’s an Elton fan.

I should’ve asked them those questions.  Which came first, looking alike, or liking a look?

Anyway, I saw the Modfather lookalike again this morning, getting his fags at the paper shop.  Well, there was something about him - I just knew from his demeanour that  it would really make his day to hear a stranger say to him, “Excuse me, but has anyone ever told you – you’re the spitting image of Paul Weller?!”  or, better still, “Erm, hello…. you’re Paul Weller, aren’t you?  Wow!”  Oh, he would be so chuffed!  So, feeling uncharacteristically callous, I’m afraid I didn’t say a word.

15 comments:

  1. This is great. Not sure how I feel about fans trying so hard to look like their idols: isn't it a bit creepy? I knew a bloke once who did everything he could to look like Midge Ure (Ultravox phase, not Slik, sadly); he was even featured in The Sun and was such a persistent (obsessed?) fan that he got to know Midge and some of the other 'players' of the New Romantic thing quite well. I did think it was a bit pathetic but he seemed happy enough. A couple of years ago I was at a Dweezil Zappa gig and there were a number of people who looked very much like his dad. Thought that might have been a tad off-putting for him. You were right to not feed the deluded Weller fan's madness but I did once see Van Morrison and seriously considered asking him if he knew how much he looked like Van The Man; then, remembering his lack of sense of humour, let it be.

    As for the theory about fans beginning their interest because the do happen to think they look like someone famous - that needs some serious study. It probably explains how got into both Sam Cooke and Charlie Drake.

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    1. Thanks SB - I agree, a bit creepy. Understandable to be influenced by someone's style but when it becomes an obsession to be some sort of clone it all seems rather sad and contrived, to build your identity on someone else's. A venue full of Zappas does sound like a wonderful sight to behold, though.

      Sam Cooke and Charlie Drake?! - ah, proof at last of this theory ;-)

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  2. Being in possession of thick hair which naturally forms into a quiff, perhaps your theory explains why I have found myself drawn to the music of both Elvis and Morrissey. That said, on the many occasions I have been to Morrissey gigs, I have found my quiff pales into insignificance compared to some of the preened peacocks in attendance...not to mention those middle-aged Moz fans clinging to the ghost of a quiff despite the encroaching MPB.

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    1. Quiffy hair? - maybe we're onto something here then! At least you don't have a shaggy perm...

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  3. The middle aged (and younger) Weller dress ups are sometimes known as Well Ends and can be found up and down the country (and on Twitter).

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    1. Haha, Well Ends - I will forever remember that now, SA, thanks.

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  4. Just discussed this with Mr WIAA and he is of the opinion that people adopt the look of their heroes and morph into them over time. I'm not so sure - I have a feeling that subliminally people are drawn to artists they look like. Also I have noticed that lots of people are drawn to jobs relevant to their surname - Tom Kitchen the chef for starters (no pun intended). I often have to peruse our payroll at work and this theory does tally - Mr Gardiner and Mr Ploughman are groundsmen and once you get on the other categories of staff many other examples.

    Glad you didn't say a word - I wouldn't have either.

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    1. I wonder - perhaps it's a bit of both - I think you've hit on something with being drawn subliminally too, seems to be human instinct to identify with those who share similar physical traits.
      The job/name thing is even more fascinating! Mr SDS and I have often talked about this too - there are so many examples and they really make you wonder what came first. I have another theory too, which is that as the name originated from an ancestor/ancestors' profession/skill etc, then maybe the calling/ability to do that job is already inherent in our genes?
      Love spotting those less directly linked ones too, like 'A Tapp - Plumbing Services' etc. Sadly no such fun to be had with my real name, although I did go to art college with a boy whose surname was Painter!

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  5. C, be callous! If you don't want to say anything to your Paul Weller lookalike then at least start whistling a Jam or Style Council song next time you seem him and see if there's any reaction. Strike up a conversation with him and drop in a few questions: "Have you ever found yourself in a strange town? Have you ever had it blue? I wouldn't like to go down in a tube station at midnight, would you?" He'll either think you're mad and edge away slowly or he'll know he's been rumbled and that you know who he is.
    I used to live next door to Andrew Marr in the village of Otterton in Devon and one day I walked down to the local mobile shop with him which really confused a lot of the old farmers sat out by the pub. I said good morning to them and they were all left scratching their heads, thinking who the bloody 'ell's that bloke (Marr, not me) and where do they know him from?
    And whilst on this subject, I always liked the anecdote of the guy (the poet Jock Scott, actually) who went up to Paul Simon at a party and shook his hand, greeting him with the words "Hello darkness, my old friend." Paul Simon, of course, had never met the guy before in his life.

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    1. Haha, brilliant...that imaginary conversation. I am far too soft, I'd walk away worrying that I'd hurt his feelings... my inner callous self could only fantasise about delivering those lines (or discuss his absurdity on a blog...) I just love that idea though, such scope...

      Love your Andrew Marr tale. Reminds me of when an ex-colleague once went to a show in London and sat next to a man she she recognised from somewhere but out of normal context just couldn't fathom where. Then she twigged it, oh yes he must be someone who worked across the way in her large office complex, so she asked him. "No, not me - I don't work there," Paul Nicholas replied....

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  6. I think the whole bizarre notion of "Weird Celebrity Crushes" has a lot to do with it. I hate the whole thing because it's implying that attraction isn't a very diverse and personal thing and that there is some "Approved" list of "Attractive People" in a vault somewhere that we should be checking against.

    What I mean is, someone like Paul Weller, if he had never taken up music and found fame with The Jam, would not be considered that HIT by the ladies (or guys) down his local boozer. He isn't conventionally attractive so would very much be a Weird Crush if it wasn't for his fame. So maybe it would occur to similarly featured skinny blokes from the provinces, who haven't had much luck on the dating scene, that if they make themselves look more like Weller, then maybe they will have a better chance with the ladies. The weirdest part is that they are actually correct. I had a friend growing up who always dated guys who looked a bit like her latest Rock God crush... but only noticed the similarity of they also dressed appropriately and had the required amount of hair. She even married a short Welsh Axl Rose (well, if you squinted and he kept to the shadows).

    So I think it might all be about subliminal hopes of increasing your chance of passing on your dodgy DNA?

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    1. Ah, interesting! Perhaps it's time someone did a serious study on the subject (I could make a start next time I see Paul Wellerish, I'll ask him some questions).
      It is weird about the attraction of a celebrity lookalike. For some reason Mr SDS has been likened to various people in his time, and one music personality in particular in the '80s - not intentionally - it always felt a bit freaky when people thought they recognised him for being that man (I won't say who!) Especially as they then wondered who I was (unlikely the aforementioned celebrity would have had a *girl*friend!)

      I am squinting now whilst trying to imagine a short Axl Rose lurking in the shadows and all I can see is Chuckie in a bandana...

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    2. ha haaaa, I didn't realise you'd met the Welsh Axl Rose! ;o)

      A woman from my home town claims to have married her ex hubby because he reminded her of Jimmy Sommerville at the height of his fame (I know, bless!) but he reminds everyone else of Preston the bulldog from the Wallace & Gromit films.... Maybe that makes him really attractive to animation fans too in some weird Disco/Stop Motion mishmash?

      I wrote this comment before and it disappeared into the ether so forgive if it turns up twice

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    3. Only got this comment once, Yve, so no problem - but, oh, not sure I'd want to be thought of as a hybrid of Jimmy Sommerville and Preston the bulldog if I was that man. Although if he ever committed any crimes it could make building an Identikit image a bit easier, I guess...

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