richie at GQ.jpg


Wow, wow, wow ...

the beautiful and ‘chiselledIkaris!




There was a very short ‘run-in’ period for this particular event, the annual GQ Men of the Year Awards.  In fact I only began planning on Wednesday 28 August … when I noticed it being advertised via social media.  I must have tuned-out earlier, as I’m on their mailing list, but had ignored news and information prior to this!


I was just minding my own business, scrolling through social media whilst sitting in a doctor’s surgery as a companion, when I read about the event and I suddenly recalled that Richard had attended the event in previous years, including 2018.  I also checked Getty Images to confirm this … it transpired he’d attended in 2014 too.


I’d read that Richard had undertaken a photo-shoot with GQ during the UK’s hottest day of 2019 (25 July), without knowing the reason why … he has a close association with the magazine, but they’d already featured him in an issue late last year.  Was it a clue, I wondered?


Anyway, I contacted my friend, and fellow Richard admirer, Ruth to make plans to attend the Red Carpet the following Tuesday 03 September.  The event was to be held at the Tate Modern Gallery on London’s Southbank.  It would be extremely easy for me to get to … because it’s just a stone’s throw from Thameslink’s Blackfriars station!  We even met up the previous Saturday to check out the area, during a trip to London.


Richard was definitely in London, ahead of the start of filming of the MCU’s Eternals at Pinewood Studios, as he’d been spotted at the Wyndhams Theatre on Friday 30 August, when attending the show Fleabag.  He also posted a photo of his ticket, upon his Instagram stories that evening.


In fact he’d been in London for a while, presumably preparing for his role as the super-hero Ikaris, punctuated by a visit to LA and the D23 Expo in connection with said film.  It transpired that his costume is going to something very special; a tight, cobalt blue number!


Anyway, we made arrangements to meet up outside the Gallery on Tuesday afternoon, as Ruth was working in the morning.  I took the day off work, purchasing a ticket the evening before in preparation; I bought an anytime one day travel-card in case I decided to travel during the rush-hour.


The weather was dry (or at least it was throughout my time in London itself) but it didn’t make choosing an outfit any easier for me!  I decided to go for the ‘too warm’ option, rather than too cold.  And I ended up wearing my cobalt blue peplum hem skirt, purple M & S top, black ribbed V-neck cardigan, black gilet, teal jacket, grey thermal tights and pink Hotter Livvy shoes (flats).


I took my blue/black/gold/white Kipling Defea handbag and Faith black fancy backpack style bag … I took a copy of my best Glasgow photograph, just in case I was fortunate to get near enough for him to sign it.  I forgot to take a bottle of water with me.


In the event, I was very laidback about my departure time … too laidback in fact.  I left home around 09:30, catching a bus to the City station and caught a fast train into London; deciding to stand all the way there … for some unknown reason.  I was hopeful that, having rested since a busy day on Saturday had aggravated my ongoing pelvis problem, I’d be okay for the entire day.


I exited Blackfriars via the Southbank entrance and headed along to the concourse outside the Gallery.  Having realised I needed to buy water, I headed down Sumner Street and discovered a Co-op convenience store … I bought a bottle of water and two bottles of Drench.  Okay, that was excessive, but I found Drench first, then the water, and couldn’t be asked to put any of them back on their shelves! 


I then returned to the area beside the ‘sloping’ western entrance to the Gallery; I had recognised a number of people from my previous excursions … and asked someone named Max, if he could add me to the list he was making … I was number 34.  That’s fine I thought, not realising that the red carpet area was, in fact, very short for this event.  In fact I later discovered some people had turned up the night before!!!


I tweeted Graeme, who I’d met at the Rocketman premiere, to ask if he was coming down today; it transpired he was already there, and we agreed to meet up later.  At one point, I decided to go in search of a stationery shop … my route taking me back through Blackfriars station to the north bank of the Thames.  I also spent a penny … 30p in fact … in the station loos on route!  Unlike Waterloo station, where the loos are free of charge!!!


Anyway, I failed miserably … I was in search of a clipboard to rest my photograph upon … just in case.  I saw St Paul’s Cathedral, but no Rymans or WH Smiths … apart from the latter within Blackfriars, but it just stocked essentials.


I returned to the gallery … at which point I met up with Graeme; he was under the impression that Richard wouldn’t be attending. L  And then our meeting was followed by an emergency!  Someone had climbed over the wall and railings at the top of the Tate Modern and was threatening to jump.  The police and emergency services arrived and everyone was evacuated from the area where we had been sitting.  I couldn’t believe the number of people who were filming the prospective jumper upon their mobile phones.  


We were shepherded down Hopton Street and out onto Southwark Street.  I headed around the block and back up Sumner Street, eventually.  I loitered for a while, before continuing along the southern perimeter of the Museum; it was still open for business, as people were still heading in and out of the southern entrance.


I continued along Park Street, before turning left and walking along New Globe Walk to reach the pathway beside the Thames.  I turned left again, to return along Bankside, by which time the police ‘tapes’ were just being removed; disaster had been averted and the evening event was still on.


Ruth arrived at around 15:00, her allotted number being 58, and we chatted whilst watching the barriers being set up; you just wouldn’t believe the chaos, with barriers being placed, then moved, then moved again.  Surely it couldn’t be that difficult to interpret the written instructions which had been supplied!  Spotlights were set up too … but in a far more civilised fashion!!!  A red carpet was also laid.


At one point, whilst waiting, someone had their phone stolen by a thief on a bicycle.  An elderly security guard wandered around, looking for the thief ... as if he would find him?  He’s long gone, having obtained what he wanted ...


Late arrival spectators tried to push in on the action by taking up positions to the nearside of the red carpet; so everyone had to rush across to find a position at this point, including ourselves.  But, it transpired that the press photographers would be standing on this side, and the fans on the other side.  So everyone was organised into number order before being trouped around to the far side … that’s when I discovered I’d be on the second row, not the first as hoped. L  Nearly all those on the front row were regular autograph hunters; I’m beginning to recognise them as such.


Someone received a list of attendees … but I couldn’t quite hear the names as said person read them out … but then she asked if any of her fellow autograph hunters had a photograph of Richard for him to sign; so he was attending after all. J


The professional photographers took their place in the pen opposite … and then the people without numbers, who’d arrived late, were allowed into the large empty space which remained therein.  Typical, they hadn’t made much effort to be there early, but now had front row places. Noooooooooooooo!


The celebrities began to arrive with, as always, Richard Arnold being one of the first.  The main ‘flush’ of arrivals were expected at around 19:15.  As usual there were many I didn’t recognise, but I did know Gordon Ramsey, Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue, Dexter Fletcher, Susanna Reid, Piers Morgan and Sam Smith.   


I did get excited when Richard arrived, he stopped off to sign autographs and take photos on the far side, close to the entrance, before making his way up our side to do the same.  The crush had been awful on our side, lots of pushing and shoving throughout the arrivals phase, so I’d had to give up with my Lumix camera and rely upon my Samsung phone.  The behaviour certainly surprised Ruth; this being her first event of this nature!


I didn’t feel in a position to ask for anything, so took just a handful of photos of Richard, with my phone; Ruth saw him, but couldn’t even get a photo, it was such a scrum!  Oh well ... we saw him head down the red carpet towards the entrance doors, along with three companions – his clothes stylist Gareth Scourfield, his ‘groomer’ Charley Mcewan and his friend Jeremy Langmead.  Sam Smith was standing at the bottom of the slope and they greeted each other in a friendly manner.  Taron Egerton arrived, later than most, and Sir Ian McKellan arrived a long time afterwards – I understand due to a prior engagement.






We couldn’t pull ourselves away, knowing that Richard was so close to us … so we stayed at the barriers; hoping that we might see him as he left the venue later in the evening.  We did see Richard Arnold leave, also Iggy Pop, Sebastian Stan, Susanna Reid and Piers Morgan. 


Ruth left at gone 11:00; the western doors were locked at 11:30, which meant those leaving after this time would be required to leave via the southern door, onto Sumner Street.  I decided to head around to that entrance, along with many others, just in case.


I did see Stormzy, Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Patrick Stewart, Gary Kemp, Dexter Fletcher and Taron Egerton leave … but, despite staying until gone 02:00 when the party ended, there was no sign of Richard … presumably he’d managed to disappear without trace, before I’d relocated. L  Oh well, I had to try, didn’t I, otherwise I’d have kicked myself …


I’d even been witness to a fight which broke out amongst the awaiting fans, with security back-up having been called to sort it out!!!


However, I had replied to an IG story earlier in the evening, from Charley Mcewan, and he was now following me on Instagram!  Wicked.  J


The shutters having come down within the Tate Modern, I headed back to Blackfriars station; fortunately a train arrived within 5 minutes … although it was an ‘all stations’ one!  Trains run regularly throughout the night, on Thameslink, linking the City to Gatwick and Luton airports.  I was still surprised to find so many people travelling on the train at that time of the morning!!!


I confess that my ticket was no longer valid, but the barriers are open overnight so it didn’t actually matter.  It also started raining as the train headed through north London; it was pouring by the time I got off the train.  Despite it being the middle of the night, I stopped off at one of the ticket machines to buy a return ticket for work the next day … or rather the same day as it was now!


Obviously there were no buses, at around 03:30 to 04:00 in the morning; although I did get an offer from a stranger to drive me home … I don’t think so!!!


So I walked from the station, in the pouring rain, through the deserted streets to reach home.  But I did ensure that my photograph, which I hope Richard will autograph one day, remained dry!


I have to get up at 06:30 each weekday morning, for work, so I only got around two and a half hours sleep … and that was interrupted by someone too!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!


I missed my usual train, but caught the next one, just five minutes later.  No harm done, as I was in plenty of time to start my working day as usual!


So what is on the agenda next?  The TV Choice awards on 09 September but it’s supposed to be very popular with autograph hunters, according to the conversation I overhead outside the Tate Modern.  Richard and Bodyguard are nominated, but I think my favourite man will be starting filming that day.  Evidently it’s mostly soap stars in attendance … so I won’t know anyone!!!


But, as I prefer to go but he not to attend, rather than not go and he does … that’s another date in the diary for Ruth and I.  It’s held at the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane, and is an evening event.  We’ve both booked the day off, from work, so can arrive early.   


*  *  *  *  *  *  *



As expected, Richard did not attend the TV Choice Awards on 09 September; Bodyguard won its category, but Richard did not – that honour was given to Adrian Dunbar who stars in Line of Duty.



Photographs – the same as above!



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