My Week With Ozzy Osbourne

The week I spent working for Ozzy Osbourne was one of the most amazing of my life. What? You don't believe I worked for the legendary rocker? OK, you'd be right. But I was once mistaken for a member of his entourage.
A few years ago, way before MTV's The Osbournes introduced us to him and his remarkable, often dysfunctional, family, I happened to be in San Antonio, Texas, at the same time as the great man himself. More than that, it seemed Ozzy, his family, and the band were ensconced in the same hotel. I didn't know this until two teenage Texan girls began trailing me around in the mistaken belief that I could introduce them to their hero. They'd been hanging around the hotel lobby, heard my English accent, and assumed that I was part of Team Osbourne.
They accosted me in the lift, told me they were "two of Ozzy's greatest fans", and asked me if I was going up to his room. I pleaded ignorance, and, to be honest, was so out of the loop on head-bangers I wasn't even sure I'd recognise him if I'd met him over the breakfast buffet. But they had logic on their side: I was British, Ozzy was British, we were staying in the same hotel, and I had just pressed the button to go up to the penthouse.
Actually I had pressed the button for the floor below the penthouse, having been unexpectedly upgraded when I checked in. But no amount of protesting was going to change their minds because, to get to the "exclusive" top two floors, residents had to use a lift accessible only to holders of a special key. I had one, Ozzy had one ... you get my drift.
Undeterred, the teenage rockers followed me out of the lift, across the corridor and to the door of my room, where they begged me to let them meet their hero, just for a minute.
I was tired, hot and hungry, and there was a frozen margarita with my name on it on the bar downstairs, so I opened my door wide to let them see its very ordinariness - no sleeping rock stars, no guitars, no wild party aftermath.
The most rock and roll thing there was my discarded straw cowboy hat on the bed. "Now do you believe me?" I said.
They didn't. So I'm afraid that I resorted to the only thing I could think of. I told them that, if they didn't leave immediately, I was going to get one of Ozzy's "security guys". They looked at one another, then at me, and retreated to the lift and back down to the lobby. I was too weary to feel guilty. Besides, at least they now had a story to tell the folks back home.
I never did meet Ozzy, didn't see a trace of him, not even a decapitated bat in the hallway. But my new stalkers continued to hang out in the lobby just in case.
That wasn't my only temporary brush with fame.
I once spent 10 days on a coach tour through California trying to convince the little Australian girl on the seat next to me that I wasn't "Muriel from Muriel's Wedding". I'm not convinced she ever believed I wasn't. And, thanks to a misunderstanding on the telephone, I had to explain to a magazine editor that no, I wasn't the daughter of Lord Rippon of Hexham.
Mind you, even people I know have mistaken me for someone else, or rather someone else for me. I was once "spotted" in the Oak and Acorn - a pub on the other side of my hometown; a pub I've never visited. "You were drinking a G &T and chatting up this bloke," I was told.
"I certainly was not, I don't even like G & Ts!" I protested.
"Well it was definitely you."
At first I was annoyed that this person thought I was so vacant I wouldn't even remember where I'd spent my Saturday night. Then I began to panic.
What if I had a Doppelganger? My double might, even now, be out there drinking G & Ts and chatting up strange men, or, worse still, committing some heinous crime that might someday be attributed to me.
Then I remembered what my Nana used to say about doubles; that encountering your own was a harbinger of some terrible fate. What if I met this mystery person? We live in the same town so I might just walk into her in the middle of TopShop. I managed to shake myself out of my superstitious paranoia, but I made a mental note never to stray into the Oak and Acorn … just in case.