I used to sell books at the Melrose flea Market in Hollywood. It was fairly common to see minor celebrities. Michael Des Barres was a regular. Alice Cooper showed up periodically, as well as people like Richard Belsen, Kelly Lynch, Cheryl Hines from Curb Your Enthusiasm, Jason Lee, that kid from Malcolm in the Middle, one of the guys from Freaks and Geeks. Lots of people you recognized from bit parts here and there. Most of the time I didn’t even notice, unless they came into my booth or one of my neighbors pointed them out. Occasionally I saw somebody who’s work I admired, like JG Thirwell, Chris D., or Laila Nabulsi. A couple weekends in a row Julie Delpy came into my booth. Of course I never said anything or showed any sign of recognition. But, still, it was cool to have an interaction with somebody who’s work means something to you.
One Sunday an older couple came into my booth and started looking at the books. The guy pointed at the copy of Chuck Palahniuk’s Lullaby on the table and said something about how he hadn’t liked it. I asked if he liked Palahniuk’s other books, and we agreed that Fight Club was pretty good, though he preferred Invisible Monsters. I pointed out the copy of Survivor on the table that I considered a decent read. He said that one was good too. The woman said to the guy, “Oh, should I read that?” As I handed her the book I noticed she was wearing a Gun Club shirt. I told her they were one of my favorite bands. She goes, pointing to the guy, “He produced this album.” I looked at him and said, “Oh, yeah, what’s your name?” Thinking, they could very well be insane (you get a lot of crazies at the flea market as well). He shook my hand and said Chris. I said, “Chris? Chris who?” He shrugged and said, “Just Chris.” I looked closer at him and then at the woman, and then at the guy again and then at the woman. As the recognition sank in–I’m sure it was obvious on my face–the woman said, “Yeah, it’s us.”
Us being Debbie Harry and Chris Stein. (Chris Stein produced Miami, the second GC album and Debbie Harry sang on it, credited as DH Lawrence.)
It took about 8 1/2 seconds for the internal freak out to pass… Then, for some reason, I just went on talking about the Gun Club, the new documentary coming out and again about Palahniuk. I didn’t mention anything about being a member of the Blondie fan club when I was a kid, or how much I loved the band, or anything…
After perusing the books a little longer, she asked me how much for the copy of Survivor. $2. She gave me a five, I gave her change and they left.
End of story.