London 11 November 2004
I felt the earth move when I was just browsing the internet on Friday November 5th and read some incredible news. To promote her new children’s book ‘The Adventures Of Abdi’ Madonna would sign books in Selfridges in London on November 11th! This was in just a few days time, I completely lost it and panicked! I have always said that if Madonna would do a signing in Europe that I would definitely be there. For ‘The English Roses’ and ‘Mr. Peabody’s Apples’ there were only signings in the U.S.A. So it was just a little bit fair that this time she would do a signing in London! I was determined to attend and started to make plans instantly. Simon also immediately said that he would join me. I was just completely crazy, couldn’t breathe normally and didn’t knew what I was saying, I just went mad. Unfortunately Hans couldn’t come due to store commitments.
We booked a trip by coach to London, there was no other available option (a trip by plane would be way too expensive, and the times did not fit our schedule). We found it hard to believe, was it really all going to finally happen? My biggest dream, meeting Madonna, was it to become reality? It was almost just too absurd to even think about it. Madonna is probably the one artist that is the hardest to reach. I remember for years people asking me ‘Did you ever meet Madonna?’, unfortunately I always had to say ‘No, it’s fairly impossible to meet Madonna’. Was I now going to be answering that question differently? I had dreamed many times of possible meetings with Madonna and had thought a lot about what I was going to say. The funny thing was, is that the same week I had this image in my mind of meeting Madonna at a signing. And now it was about to become reality. Also the fact that I had prepared myself for probably not seeing Madonna for a while after the Re-Invention Tour, was funny. Just a little time after I was going to see her again and probably even speak to her, what a surprise this all was!
Tuesday November 9
Tonight we would be taking the coach from the Amstel Station in Amsterdam to London Victoria. The trip went smoothly.
Wednesday, November 10
Right before we arrived at Victoria Station I woke up and recognized the streets, so I knew that we were almost there. We arrived earlier than expected, it was just 06:30! I hoped that the people at the hotel would be friendly enough to have us enter our rooms a little earlier. First we took the tube to Bond Street Station, Oxford Street was almost deserted, I had never seen it like this before. We were trying to find Selfridges but couldn’t seem to find it. After walking a little while we finally found it, it was huge and to our surprise a large billboard was on their wall
advertising Madonna’s signing at their store. I was a bit annoyed as lots of people would know about the signing (including non-fans) and would just come around for fun. Unfortunately only 250 people got to meet her, so yeah wasn’t too happy about the poster but then again it would be ridiculous had they NOT promoted it.
All the shops were still closed, so after some breakfast at McDonald’s we went up to Marble Arch to find our hotel. We were going to share our room with two friends from England, Sharon and Tas. But they would be arriving later that day. The hotel they had booked was directly opposite of Madonna’s house. The entrance to the hotel faced her entrance to her house, which was quite freaky but funny at the same time. Thankfully the people at the hotel let us enter our hotel room right away, and boy the room was big! When you’ve stayed in London you’re used to small rooms. But this was something else, this was just really really big, had lots of space! Later on we met with Sharon and went to get some dinner. Then we started getting text messages that the rules at Selfridges for the meeting had changed. We paid our bills and made our way to Selfridges immediately.
When we got there we asked a few people working there about the supposed new rules. We heard that they had indeed changed due to the huge demand. There would be a queue outside Selfridges in an alley and the first 250 in the queue would be meeting Madonna. At 1 in the afternoon you would be let inside the store and at 3 the meeting would take place, those were the new rules. We decided to go around Selfridges and see where the queue would be. To our surprise there were already people there in the freezing cold! It was only 7 in the evening so they had lots of hours to go. Even though we understood them, we just couldn’t bare the thought of already queuing now in the cold until tomorrow. So we went back to the hotel room to plan..
Meeting Madonna! Thursday November 11
The alarm woke us at 3:30 in the morning. I put on about five shirts, three trousers and two jackets. We then dumped our stuff in the hotel lobby and went to the queue at Selfridges. When we arrived there were just about 30 people there, so we were right on time. We sat down on newspapers and had a blanket to keep us warm. After a while some more friends arrived so we had some fun. We were like a bunch of homeless people trying to stay warm by sitting close next to each other and drinking hot chocolate and coffee. We were talking lots of nonsense but this was a good way to pass time. Some security came and handed out tickets that would serve as proof for you spot in the queue, I got number 45.
Someone from Selfridges came outside to explain the rules to us and confirmed that the people standing in the queue were guaranteed of a meeting with Madonna. Still I just couldn’t believe it, I just felt I was standing out in the freezing cold for nothing. Then finally after 8 hours of freezing cold, the clock turned 1 in the afternoon and the queue started to move towards the entrance. Groups of 4 were being let inside the shop at the same time, your ticket with your number on it was checked by security and then you could enter.
Finally it was our turn, I almost couldn’t move, I was so stiff due to the cold. We (me, Simon, Sharon, Tas, Steve and Tony) then got inside. We all paid for the book in advance, were given a new receipt that served as a ticket to our meeting with Madonna. We were so glad to be in a heated surrounding again. I basically stripped off almost all my clothes, which felt very very good and didn’t care that some people stared at me, carrying around so many clothes with me. We decided to walk up to the second floor to continue the queue for the meeting.
Arriving on the second floor we saw that a little queue had been formed already at the women’s designer clothes section. We were now standing in the centre of women’s lingerie and the queue was leading up to a small room sealed off by curtains. Yeah now we started to become extremely nervous, and started thinking about what the hell we were going to say to her. No matter how much we talked about it, or thought about it, we still couldn’t believe all of this. But also the situation was just too funny, here we were standing around in the middle of women’s lingerie and all about to lose it. There were moments when I just thought I couldn’t bare to wait and anticipate any longer, it was just becoming too much. All I was wearing now were my blue trousers and black sleeveless Madonna shirt, so of course my tattoo got lots of attention. We tried to calm each other down, but just resulted in the fact that we just became more and more anxious. Suddenly we heard that Madonna had arrived and was reading her book to children, so we had to stay quiet. I was silently preaching to myself that I was just at Selfridges to shop for some clothes to calm myself down, again it did not work. Because of the nerves I suddenly had a craving and ate Snickers, other candy and a sandwich all at the same time. I then took a mint for a fresh breath.
At 3:30 the queue suddenly started moving, my heart was in my throat. Then a guy returned from the area where Madonna was at with the book in his hands and a shocked expression on his face. He told us that Madonna had signed the book for him with his name in it. When Sharon and me heard that, we just again lost it, looked at each other and tried to keep ourselves together. A woman that worked there came up to us to ask if we were alright, we just said ‘yeah we are’ and she left. I then just refused to look at the people returning from their meeting with Madonna, they were only just making me nervous. My heart was beating like a maniac, I was sincerely having a panic attack. We got closer and closer to the black curtains of which behind would be Madonna. We had to give our stuff to employees of the store to enter the area empty handed. Again I saw fans coming out of the room, all teary eyed and filled with joy. Suddenly someone from security said ‘You must be a real big fan, to have a tattoo of her’ and I said ‘Yes I am’. Another lady working there told me that Madonna was going to love my tattoo.
The time had come, the curtain was pulled back for me, Simon and Sharon and we were let in. There was a light relaxed vibe in the area, people standing around but very quiet and a friendly atmosphere. And then I saw her, right in front of us, sitting behind a table with a stack of books. My heart nearly stopped, I was standing in the same room as Madonna, minutes away from meeting her. I noticed just how tiny and fragile she seems, like this porcelain little doll. She had her blond hair straight ending in a light curl. Wore a black top with a skirt and some great shoes, exactly as I had imagined her. I recognized Angela sitting beside her.
It first was Simon’s turn and he walked up to Madonna. Simon was planning on asking Madonna to sign his arm (even though we had been told not to ask for more personal signatures). Simon just froze on the spot and couldn’t utter a word. Madonna asked for his name, and Simon answered. Madonna asked him how long he had been waiting so he said ‘since 5am this morning’ and she answered saying ‘you’re crazy’. Then Simon told her he had a tattoo of her and if she wanted to sign her name below it. Madonna asked him if he had a pen, but he didn’t hear her so she repeated her question. Simon then gave her a black marker, Madonna grabbed his arm and signed her name boldly beneath his tattoo. While she did this she asked ‘Do you know what you’re doing?’ Simon said that yes he did and smiled. Then Simon thanked Madonna and wanted to walk away, until Madonna found out that she had forgotten to get him a book, laughed, grabbed one and gave it to Simon.
Completely blinded by the fact that it now was my turn, I slowly made my way up to her Madgesty. I saw that she was sneakily looking at me from the corners of her eyes, and when I came closer, without giving me a chance of saying hello, she said ‘WOW, let me see that!’ and turned her head so that she could see my tattoos. Nervously I turned so she could have a better look at them, then when I looked into her eyes, I thought I had died and gone straight to heaven. I know I have had eye contact with Madonna before, but never this up close and never this personal. Her eyes were just huge and green! I know that everybody says it when they have met Madonna, and you can’t really explain it until you share your experience with each other. It’s true that no photograph and no video or which TV clip or whatever captures her eyes as beautiful as they are in person. I couldn’t help but stare right back at her. Somehow it seemed that I forgotten everything around me and felt like it was just me and her. It was the strangest thing. What also occurred to me was how stunning she looked up close, just perfect. Truly the strangest things were going through my mind. Suddenly she asked me, ‘What’s Your Name?’, and I told her. Then she said ‘When did you had it done?’, I didn’t quite understand her as I was so nervous and said ‘Excuse me?’, so she repeated ‘When did you had it done?’ while focusing her eyes on my tattoos. So then I understood her, I pointed at my ‘Madonna’ tattoo from the DWT logo and said that I had that one done in 2001, and that her portrait was done recently.
I asked her ‘Do you like it?’ about my tattoos, she looked me in the eyes, got the most funny expression ever on her face and said ‘I’m not too sure how I feel about tattoos, but yours is great!’ So she made me laugh and more relaxed so I just said ‘Well I think you should get a tattoo of something that is very important to you, and you are very important to me’. THERE! I had said it! I finally said the words that I truly wanted to say to her for sooooooo many years! But the way I told her was a bit funny, as I got a bit emotional and was struggling to hold back tears, I just kind of choked while saying that to her. She noticed that I was about to break down, and she got this very warm and friendly expression on her face and nodded as if trying to say ‘I know how you feel, but it’s okay’.
Then I asked ‘Can you sign it?’ and she said ‘No I can’t, I am already breaking all the rules today’. Then it occurred to me that she thought I was talking about the book (they were pre-signed before the event) I felt silly and didn’t want to ask it again, I just let it be. So I nodded and then she said ‘Would you like a book?’ and I answered ‘Of course I would like a book’ and then we both laughed while she handed me one. I asked her ‘can I shake you hand?’, she said ‘Sure’ handed out her hand and I got a firm handshake from her. I looked into those gorgeous green eyes one last time, thanked her and said goodbye, she said ‘Bye’ to me. I then turned around to walk back and did that just in time, because I literally burst into tears right there on the spot. I was so ashamed!
I put my hands over my face so that no one could see me crying and literally stumbled back into the area where our bags were. Thank god Simon was there who caught me and already had gathered our stuff. I just couldn’t believe what had just
happened and was in complete shock. I tried telling Simon through my tears that she didn’t understand me when I asked for a signature, and that I did tell her how important she was to me. While crying I opened my ‘Adventures Of Abdi’ book and found a beautiful signature from Madonna on the inside. I was so happy but so emotional at the same time. Then our friends started coming back from their meeting. At first they were all pretty cool about it, but when we got outside and they started calling their friends about it and soon were crying their eyes out as well.
It was a funny picture, a couple of Madonna fans right in front of Selfridges, all crying. We all were just so surprised at how lovely and friendly and beautiful Madonna had been. She had exceeded all our expectations, she was such a lovely lady. Also the way she completely focused on you, and only you when you were talking to her, made us feel like a million dollars. I had met her, I had spoken to her and I had told her what I had wanted to tell her. I was very proud of myself en even more so of my tattoos. We all then went to get something to drink and to eat and just share our experiences with each other. Afterwards said goodbye to our friends and returned to Victoria Station as we had to catch a bus back to Amsterdam.
It had all been worth it, the hours of waiting, the freezing cold, the long trip in the coach etc. Madonna was truly wonderful and so down to earth, so lovely. I had spoken to the most famous woman on the planet, a living legend, but most of all a very sweet and lovely person. I now truly knew why I was a fan of her and why I would always continue to be a fan of her.
Madonna thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Kimberly – 2004