January 19, 2003 2:46 AM   Subscribe

Autographica The European convention for celebrity signature collectors happened recently. I was once an extra on a film and got people like Robert Carlisle to sign the advert, so I can see why it might become an obsession, what with y'know meeting famous people and all. But what happenes when the hobby become your business?
posted by feelinglistless (12 comments total)
Plunkett and Maclaine perhaps ?
go on , tell us what you were in !
bobby carlyle rules !
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:08 AM on January 19, 2003

I'm in all the crowd scenes at the end of 'There's Only One Jimmy Grimble'. I said I was in a film. I didn't say it was one anyone had seen.
posted by feelinglistless at 4:56 AM on January 19, 2003

Working Title: "There's Only One Person (who's heard of) Jimmy Grimble".
posted by jonson at 7:36 AM on January 19, 2003

Great article. My wife and I have been collecting signatures for several years now, mostly autographed hockey cards but also a few Star Trek ones; however, to the best of my knowledge, we haven't bought a single one directly from a player/actor -- they've all been autographed cards inserted by the manufacturer into a particular set.

Yet, while I have gladly paid for those, I would have a real problem meeting a celebrity and paying them directly for their signature. I don't know, perhaps it's because in that situation there is no way to escape the reality that what might be a memorable encounter for you is no more than a business transaction for them.
posted by filmgoerjuan at 7:38 AM on January 19, 2003

If you meet a 'celebrity', isn't asking for their autograph one of the most unpleasant things you could do?

Instead of simply encountering a person whose work they've perhaps admired and interacting normally, fans instead choose to pester for a mark on a bit of paper, it's a horrible idea. No wonder some celebs end up viewing their fans with contempt, more of them should refuse autographs and tell the pests to get a life.
(if they're being paid it's obviously not intrusive, but still demeaning for all involved)
posted by malevolent at 8:21 AM on January 19, 2003

For any collectors reading this, can you explain to me why autographs are "desired?" No offense - just trying to understand why a signature holds such significance. Wouldn't a photo of "Celebrity X and you" hold more meaning?
posted by davidmsc at 8:55 AM on January 19, 2003

Zadie Smith's newest novel The Autograph Man addresses every single one of these questions ("why bother?"). It's also freakin' hysterical.
posted by akmonday at 9:22 AM on January 19, 2003

Wouldn't a photo of "Celebrity X and you" hold more meaning?

Add with an autograph, then I think you've found your answer. A pen & paper I may have in my pocket or even teh celebrity, not a camera.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:08 AM on January 19, 2003

I don't really understand wanting autographs of anyone but authors. There just seems to be a...mismatch...between signatures and sports people or actors, somehow. But to each his own.
posted by rushmc at 10:13 AM on January 19, 2003

Surely part of the autograph's allure is simply the eerie sense of connection--ooh, that person made this mark. I had a similar response to working with nineteenth-century manuscripts for the first time, even though it was a minor novelist.

I've got a few autographed things--some books, a poster, several playbills, a CD--but only two of them were autographed for me personally (the poster, which I bought at a charity auction, and a book by Chaim Potok). I usually wind up with the autograph because I want the item, not vice-versa.
posted by thomas j wise at 10:38 AM on January 19, 2003

I would have to agree with thomas j wise, an autograph does give a sense of connection with the person who signed it.

As well, a signature is something that our society intrinsically values; it is a mark that is both personal and yet public. Probably the first thing most people learn to write is their own name. It is used to seal contracts, close off letters, etc. One person's celebrity is largely due to his signature.
posted by filmgoerjuan at 11:53 AM on January 19, 2003

I got Ben Elton's autograph and he spelt my name wrong! :)

At one point I was interviewing many musicians as part of my job. Asking for autographs seemed tacky as I was lucky enough to sit down and talk with these people.

If I was to enter that kind of occupation again, I would get a few autographs as they would probably have some financial value in the future.
posted by skinsuit at 4:17 PM on January 19, 2003

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