So, rumour had it that David Beckham was in Edinburgh today, filming a whisky advert 10 minutes from my flat. (It was true! Here’s my photos…) But in the few hours between arriving with a book in hand to kill time, and Becks’ brief appearance, I thought he wouldn’t show and it would be a super un-event. I paid attention to the wee things that were going on and thought I’d give these hours of absolutely nothing a little dramatic flair.
It’s one in the afternoon. The sun is shining down on a warm, Scottish day – who knew there was such a thing? The tremors of online speculation have led dozens to a central meeting point, one fated location: 99 Hanover Street.
“All he has to do is come out and say hi, then we can all fuck off,” one woman said, clutching the remains of the panini she so heartily scoffed. She says, later, that she didn’t want to meet David Beckham with a mouth full of cheese.
As people slowly congregate around the building, with black curtains blocking the windows and a man-made wooden blockade of similar darkness, expectation is in there air. A small member of his entourage comes in and out, his hair sleekly quiffed. “He’s too wee to be David,” someone astutely notes, avoiding any potential confusion.
The sun hides temporarily behind a cloud and the usual dull grey hovers over the streets. Jackets aren’t so much as comfortably on the body before the sun peaks out again, causing a mumbled, “This is bullshit” from someone who removes it just as swiftly.
Crowds push in gradually, and one man dares to be brave. He pushes through the crowd, causing stern frowns in his direction from people too polite to speak up. Alas, he is just picking up car keys from his girlfriend, who he offers some sour Haribo too. “Does anyone else want any?” he grins, holding the back aloft. “Keep your sugar levels up.”
As lunch time passes by, anger slowly takes over some people’s mentality. “I have to get back to work, he’s going to get me fired,” one man complains. For shame, David. For shame. One by one, workers give up hope and return to work, kicking themselves for not being there when David will show – for, one woman explains, he is too good a guy to leave without saying hello.
The sun dips, it rises, dips and rises, and jacket frustrations are rife. Photographers keen to get the prime shot sidle up to those waiting for the longest, those tucked inside the bus stop right in front of the door, and try to befriend them to snag a spot up front. A chair is quickly removed from the venue – brown leather, fancy – only to be returned about two minutes later. “Maybe he’s snuck out inside a chair,” a man laughs.
But the determination of one solitary woman stands out above all, one who has bore the brunt of the on-off jackets, the lack of food these past hours and the continuous stream of people saying David had left, that he was never even here. She stands, resolute – I will stay here all day if that’s what it takes, she decries. All she’s ever wanted was to see Beckham in the flesh.
And then her phone dies, and after one groan of frustration, she leaves without question.
For, if you see David Beckham, but don’t have battery on your phone to take a picture, was he ever really there at all?