Wednesday, 6 April 2016

This is fame month

Crows in a treeSo here it is, April, the month when I'm due to see someone famous. It hasn't happened as yet but there's plenty of time. For those people new to this blog, a little background. Regular readers will be aware that I have noted my apparent tendency to see more celebrities, while going about my everyday business, than might seem 'normal'. I calculated that I see about 0.23 per month. I have not been able to discover an average rate for the general population but that seems high to me.

I haven't been able to find any statistics on this, perhaps not surprisingly, so I don't know what 'normal' is. I do, however, have a baseline to compare with. I have only started to see celebrities frequently in the last few years. Before that I probably only saw maybe half a dozen famous people in the whole of my life. I could name them all there were so few. This is why I'm convinced I'm now seeing an abnormally high number. But why?

My best hypothesis is that as we grow older we see, over time, more and more famous people in the media. So the number of celebrities that any individual might recognise grows with time. So, even though the chance of meeting any celebrity remains the same over time, older people will recognise more of them. This doesn't, however, explain why I seemed to recognise a lot more of them quite suddenly. But if this wasn't weird enough, there's another twist.

Back in April last year I wrote, that (23 April 2015): " I'm expecting my next celebrity in around 4 months! ". Now, of course., 0.23 is just an average, it doesn't mean that celebrities will turn up every four months on cue. Except that, in this case that's exactly what appears to be happening. So, I saw my next celebrity in August (see here) and then December (see here). And the next one is 'due' this month!

Am I creating this phenomenon through expectation? I don't believe so. I have a dreadful memory and most of the time I have forgotten all about the idea of seeing famous people. Indeed, on each recent occasion I've only remembered the 0.23 average AFTER seeing the celebrity.

I decided to mention it BEFORE any celebrity sighting this time as an experiment. If no sighting occurs I'll note it at the end of the month and put the whole phenomenon down to coincidence. But will mentioning the thing now make it more or less likely that I'll see a celebrity this month? It could make me think about the possibility so that, quite unconsciously, I might scan people in the street more carefully than usual. That would obviously increase the odds of seeing someone famous. I certainly won't do this consciously as I'm keen to see if it's a real phenomenon. So far this month I haven't thought about this subject until now and don't recall scanning people in the street. My gut feeling is that I won't see anyone famous this month but who knows.

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