Sometimes when I'm too tired to get up off the couch, I do a little channel-surfing at home. It doesn't take very long, as we don't have cable, and have only six or so channels to nip around. Sometimes I run into the Letterman show. I don't really enjoy this rather smarmy host, or his over-rehearsed formula, or the self-promoting adulation of that guy on the keyboards, but the writers are funny enough; and his visitors often edgy and nervous enough to make a good spectacle.
Where we are staying now is just one block [update: I blogged a while back about an apartment on the Upper West Side, but the photos made it appear far too small for the three of us for a month, and instead, I found us a larger place on West 53rd, at Eighth Avenue] from where the show is shot. Around 5.30, just as the traffic really starts to heat up, the crowds start to gather to see the stars exit the stage door. Big black cars and vans with blackened windows line up, and the stage door opens and closes constantly as assistants and security men prepare the way. The serious paparazzi are there, and last week Paul switched between masquerading as one of them, and then taking photos of them:
He's probably just an ordinary person squinting into his camera to do his job, but that tall blonde one really does look predatory, doesn't he?
We wait for about thirty minutes. Joel and I find a little barricade to stand on, opposite the stage door on the other side of the narrow street, but a man comes and moves it away. Big lorries and vans drive slowly down the street in peak-hour (sorry: rush-hour) traffic, to the moans of the crowds on our side of the street whose view is blocked. And suddenly, there she is, a vision in white. We all cry out her name and cheer. She stops, poses, and smiles for the cameras.
After a while she is ushered into her car, and heads west. People with big glossy photographs held with elastic bands on stiff cardboard rush after her, and contrary to my expectations, when her car stops at the lights, the window is wound down and she signs a few.
I like Paul's photos very much, but we realised we were not true paparazzi when he said, as we walked back to the apartment, "I should have taken the telephoto lens." Oh well, another day, another star.