We don't subscribe to the idea that British people all have bad teeth. We understand that the island nation discovered fluoride sometime in the Seventies, just as they managed to spin out a chef or two and learn to cook in the past fifteen years. We do hold the belief that all British men have had at least one gay experience, and that even the most lady-killing British male is overcompensating for a buggering in his schooldays-- a prejudice enforced over the weekend when we cracked open Victor Spinetti's book and later on the Virgin America flight home read an Esquire UK article about some hot tart named Rosamund Pike who claimed her hottest romance was with a guy who turned out to be gay and that they and his new boyfriend now go on threesome vacations together, not that there's anything wrong with any of that but which simply isn't so taken for granted in America.
Which leads us to Jules Segal, a young British guy who's arrived in the States to research a new book and embark on a stunt crusade to get 500 US celebrities "to sign a British flag with messages of support for the British people" (the flag will be auctioned for a kids' charity).
Jules pulled off a similar stunt in the UK, in which he got celebs like Cheri Blair, Ian McLellan, Jonathan Ross and Chris Martin, the bedwetting guy from Coldplay and a lot of people we're not familiar with (but who are very familiar in the UK) to shake his hand. He got a lot of publicity and a book out of the deal: Greeting The 500.
Now, like Sacha Baron Cohen, Toby Young and Marco Pierre White (well, not Marco Pierre White...) he's headed across the pond, and like de Tocqueville and Allan Whicker before him, will take the pulse of the big country while exploring the "special relationship" between the UK and the US, and speaking to Americans about their views on all things British, "our accents, our bad teeth, the Beckhams, our music, our common foreign policies, whether we should always go to war together..."
And then there are the 500 celebrities, a list he gathered from a Facebook poll and whom he's approaching quite formally, quite British, actually, through letters and proper channels as opposed to the good old American tradition of stalking.
We like the idea that Jules' project started out as a bet. Jules' mate gave him a list of 500 UK celebs and six months to get his photo taken shaking hands with as many as possible. He need to meet 20% of them to win the bet. Gambling comes into play this time as well:
"Jules has very little money, no full-time job and the residue of a gambling habit. In order to finance his trip, he has placed two bets with the William Hill bookmaking firm. One of these bets relates to how many of the 500 he will manage to meet in 90 days, the other bet will be paid out if amongst others, he meets Tiger Woods, Scarlet Johansson, Kanye West, Emeril Lagasse and Daniel Negreanu and completes a pre-arranged task with each of these individuals..."
The list follows. If you are on it or have an in with someone who is, you can reach him here. We spoke to Jules this week, he comes recommended by our pals at Anorak and we'll be keeping track of his progress.
Jules in in Los Angeles now. He's got quite a task ahead. Some of his target celebs are in prison; one or two may be dead.
Fellow journos: go out and do your jobs, run a feature on The US-Say project and book this guy for your shows.
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