Many years ago *cough* when I was a teenager I had a Saturday job in WHSmith in Kensington.
Leaving aside The Time I Couldn’t Go To Live Aid Because I Was Working, it was quite an enjoyable job. If we were quiet I’d spend a lot of my time browsing the books, particularly the art books.
Because of the location, we used to get quite a few famous people coming in the store. The late great Frankie Howerd was a regular, plus various other minor celebs.
One day I noticed a man wearing a cord jacket with blondish hair and round glasses browsing the books. I recognised him instantly: David Hockney.
I knew that I would never forgive myself if I didn’t speak to him. So with typical schoolgirl chutzpah, when he was writing a cheque to pay for the books he was buying, I said: ‘If I buy a copy of your book, will you sign it for me?’
‘OK,’ he said in that familiar voice, looking a bit surprised.
And that’s exactly what happened. He even wrote my name, bless him. The book cost £18 – probably my whole day’s wages – but I have a little piece of David Hockney to keep always. Worth every penny.
My mum took my niece to see his exhibition at the Royal Academy on Sunday – and she was thrilled to see the book with his signature in. I’ll give her the book one day.