Burgers and celebrity on a rainy night

People of Silicon Valley – is anyone working on an app that is a little like Shazam but instead of identifying music,  it identifies famous celebrities spotted in public who you can’t quite put a name to? I want something I can hold up, locate the face with my camera, take a snap and then it would search away and come back with: “Brad Pitt”! or “Grandmaster Flash”!

I realise this is a mark of me getting old, not being able to put names to faces, and also being out of touch with “celebrities” (read: youtubers) — but it’s getting increasingly frustrating.  In November there were two celebrities in line behind me at airport security: one was very obviously the much loved Australian actress Jacki Weaver (squee! she’s TINY!) and the other was some guy I know I know, but I don’t know. I spent the next hour in the airport lounge googling “80s celebrity stocky TV male moustache funny” and “TV dad (maybe) with jowls” .. no luck. Endless streams of photos. I took a photo of him from across the lounge and sent it to Amelia, who I knew was in drama class, hoping she or her drama teacher might have some clue. All she texted back was “mum that’s a photo of your knee and some blurry guy. Lol. Sorry.”  Shazam for celebrities would have been brilliant and instead I had a lingering frustration that lasted with me until… well, forever.

Last night I sat in a local eatery here,  (Rocksalt, good for burgers on a rainy night) with Lily who regaled me with tales and dramas of 6th Grade Everything. While I nodded and rolled my eyes at the appropriate places I was well aware of a stir happening all around me. Sitting across from me was a gentleman in his 60s, I’d guess, and his wife, also enjoying burgers… but with a knife and fork, unlike me. They chatted amiably and laughed a little, looked at messages on her phone together and were very, very nice to each other. The only thing that really stood out to me about them was the guy had a really nice pair of sneakers. Nice, fashionable shoes are a rare and noteworthy commodity around here – celebrity in itself. All around me, the occupants of every other table were keenly aware of this man’s presence, and I am pretty sure it wasn’t just about the shoes.  I noticed a group of 3 people come in and sit down not that far from them. One of the guys whispered something to the others, and did a lot of motioning with his eyes and waggling eyebrows. The other two turned to look surreptitiously and I noticed their entire bodies tense with excitement as they turned back quickly. They didn’t really converse for the rest of their meal as they were too busy glancing. This was not dissimilar to how everyone else was behaving. The waitress was extra attentive and did a lot of hair tossing when she brought them the bill. He was definitely not one of the usual celebrity possibilities from around here (Raffi, Randy Bachman, Robert Bateman, occasionally Colin Firth, rumoured Keanu Reeves) so I could rule those out….

So, here’s what I have:

He was in his 60s
He had really awesome expensive leather sneakers
He had a pierced ear
He had a super cool vintage style jacket
No plastic surgery
Very nice to his wife


I tried googling that… this is what I got:

Hopeless! Come on Palo Alto, get on that!

Ps. He was also none of these people

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13 Responses

  1. Alexandra says:

    Harrison Ford??

  2. AJ says:

    Was the guy in the airport Tom Selleck? that’s Magnum PI for all the youngsters reading 😉 and was the burger guy Ted Danson? Steve Martin?

  3. Alanna says:

    David Foster has been know to make an appearance

  4. Ian Chia says:

    Hi Claire. Great to see you blogging again!

    This is actually a thing:


    Maybe you and Phil can wrap it into something on the App Store. Plenty of examples around. Google “iOS was rekognition”.

    Have a great day!

    – Ian

  5. Ian Chia says:

    “aws” not “was”…

    Stoopid autocorrect!?!!$:#{^*+=|£<?!!!

  6. Rose says:

    I’m so curious now who it was! You’ll have to post again if you ever figure it out.

    Also I had no idea Colin Firth ever came to Salt Spring, whaaaaat.

  7. JG says:

    Robert Redford maybe.

  8. alison says:

    I’m late to commenting on this, but my possible guesses:
    Daniel Day-Lewis
    Kevin Costner
    Tommy Lee Jones
    Jeff Goldblum

    I’m guessing you would have recognized George Clooney

    Was hair gray? Was he white? Did he have any discernible facial features? facial hair or whatever? balding? I love a good celebrity sleuthing.

  9. We had a similar thing happen while visiting Vctoria B.C. we finally had to ask our waitress. It was the chef from Chopped, Geoferry Zakarian.

  10. Sonja Bee says:

    I would have asked someone at another table who obviously knew who it was. Sometimes I just throw manners to the wind and go for it. Now this is going to drive me INSANE as my brother and his family live there and we go over often. He is always trying to get me to move there And if I knew that there was even a possibility that I would see Colin Firth I would start packing right this second.

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