Lunch with Kevin Pietersen at the Wolseley. We’ve both recently been cruelly cast into the unemployment ether after troublesome clashes at work – me with the gun lobby on air at CNN, he with equally gutless cowards at the English Cricket Board.
As we sat and ate, a man approached the table and gave us his card. ‘I’d love to work with you both, especially you Kevin.’ ‘What do you do?’ he asked. ‘I’m a psychiatrist.’ Samuel L Jackson was at a nearby table, and we went over to say hello.
‘Samuel, this is Kevin,’ I said. ‘He plays cricket.’
‘Crick-et?’ The great man’s bemused face as he slowly rolled his tongue around this strange word had such a crushing effect on Kevin’s own visage that I felt myself instinctively reaching for our new psychiatrist friend’s card to book him the first appointment.
When we left, a young guy stopped us outside the front door. ‘I’m such a big fan!’ he almost shouted, ‘ this is a great moment for me!’
He then pulled out a camera. ‘Could you take a picture with me and my hero?’ he asked. Kevin Pietersen’s frown when the camera was passed to HIM will live long in the memory. the Eurostar to Paris. A more alarming message it would be hard to imagine. But by and large, I’ve assiduously owned this particular real estate of reflected celebrity glory.
Then, out of nowhere, my little brother Rupert (well, he’s 42, 6ft4in and built like a docker but he’s the youngest so he’ll always be ‘little brother’) emailed me last week to say: ‘I’ve been drinking with Harrison Ford in the Punchbowl for the last hour.’
I put this outlandish claim down to the heat, and almost certain mistaken identity.
Tonight, I walked into 34 restaurant in Mayfair for dinner with Simon Cowell, only to find Harrison Ford standing in front of me at check-in. ‘Mr Ford!’ He turned slowly, with that famously unimpressed grimace, then smirked. ‘Hi, Piers, how are you?
‘I’m fine, but is it true you’ve been drinking with my brother..?’ Never have I prayed for a mystified, indignant ‘No!’ more in my life.
‘I have! Your brother is a GREAT man!’ he exclaimed, excitedly. ‘We had a TERRIFIC time. Please tell him I’d like to do it again soon.’
Harrison then began to say how sorry he was my CNN show got canned, and thanked me for my gun control campaign in America – ‘Our obsession with guns is insane!’ he raged, ‘ We need someone like you from another country to tell us that!’ – but the words tumbled into a meaningless fog.
All I could think of was him and Rupert swigging pints of hand- pumped Harvey’s together and swapping old Raiders Of The Lost Ark tales.
Simon arrived a few minutes later, and introduced me for the first time to Lauren, the mother of his baby son Eric. ‘I thought you’d met before?’ he said. ‘No, Dumbo! I told you I’d never met Piers,’ Lauren replied, tweaking his cheeks. And in that moment, I realised he’d finally met his match. Lauren’s a smart, funny, very warm and tactile American lady, who’s clearly not going to take any nonsense from Mr Ego. Simon also seemed more relaxed in her company than I’ve ever seen him. ‘You seem extremely happy,’ I said. ‘I really am,’ he beamed. ‘Lauren’s been very good for me.’
However, towards the end of a delightful meal, he suddenly went down with one of the migraines that have blighted him in recent years.
Nothing could shake it off, and eventually, despite phoning several of his doctors (Michael Jackson had a smaller team of medics) Simon apologised, and said he’d have to go home to bed.
When I departed a while later, the phalanx of paparazzi had stayed behind to deliver a message.
‘Simon says he had to go because you were giving him a dreadful headache!’ one of them bellowed.
I suspect the real reason was a bit closer to home.
‘Annoyingly, Lauren really liked you…’ read a text from Mr Cowell at midnight. Harrison Ford has broken his ankle after an accident on the set of his new Star Wars movie, and can’t film for the next two months.
Is it wrong that my first thought was relief that this will prohibit him from boozing again any time soon with my little brother?