A Case of Mistaken Identity

Ben Miller and Alexander ArmstrongBack in June I had another “pint glass” shoot, just like the one with Dara O’Briain, but this time with the comedians Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller in a pub in Primrose Hill.

Same drill as before, as far as the questions go, and both lads were very intelligent and entertaining – quick to laugh and very friendly. The interest in this shoot arose from the behaviour of some other photographers, and for matters of professional interest I shall expound upon them herein!

On arriving at the pub myself and the journalist were greeted by the landlord, who was very pleased to see us, and very happy to have us shoot in, and thereby promote his drinking establishment. However, he pointed out to us that a small gang (is that the correct collective noun?) of paparazzi were drinking in one corner. He promised that as soon as they got out of hand he’d kick them out. I began setting up my lights, much to the interest of the paps, whom I treated to one of my “special” stares.

Ben Miller and Alexander Armstrong

Ben playing with his invisible ball. It kept him occupied for hours.

A slight digression at this point if you’ll permit me. I don’t look down on paparazzi, although from my experience they can often be relatively unpleasant people. Their job will always be essential as long as a large portion of society has an insatiable demand for pictures of complete nobodies getting out of cars, buying milk, going to the zoo and so on. Without this huge market demand there would be no paps, it’s as simple as that, so please stop buying the Scun, and Heat magazine, and all the rest before you accuse them of anything. And don’t even start me on the whole princess Di thing!

Sorry, back to the story.

5 minutes before they were expected, our 2 boys rocked up. The paps leapt into action – shooting them from within the pub. Both Alex and Ben didn’t bat an eyelid, and the landlord promptly threw the paps out, where they continued to shoot through the windows for a few minutes before he fetched a broom. Then they retreated to a safer distance. About half an hour passed, and then Alexander announced he had to nip round the corner to put some more money in the parking meter. And then things started to get interesting.

Ben Miller and Alexander Armstrong

Alexander steals the ball, and won’t let Ben have it back.

A few minutes later he returned, almost bent double with laughter and barely able to contain his mirth. Eventually he was able to tell us what had happened. On leaving the pub one of the paps had started snapping away with a telephoto, and Alexander had thought nothing of it. Then, as he rounded a corner one of them started running alongside him holding a camcorder and shouting: “Paul, Paul, how does it feel Paul? Isn’t it ironic 10 years after her death that you’re still making money out of her? How do you feel about her children Paul?” and so on. Alexander was very confused indeed until it dawned on him that the idiot, sorry, Pap, had mistaken him for ex-royal butler Paul Burrel. Since Ben Miller bears a faint resemblance to Rob Brydon, we spent the rest of the interview concocting various evil schemes that the 2 of them would have been hatching if they’d been working together.

As with Dara, not a lot of business info to pass on here, but a reminder that the job can bring some very amusing moments, even if it is at the expense of other photographers!

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