NZ broadcaster Paul Holmes is retiring, and the press is full of reminiscences of his eventful life lived in the public eye (and ear) in NZ.
One such 'signing off from the airwaves' interview, in yesterday's Sunday Star-Times, refers to a brief meeting between Paul Holmes and Janet Frame.
He'd been in Dunedin promoting his one-off easy-listening CD and she approached him to sign a copy, using the pretext that she was buying it not for herself, but for her niece.
I still have the Paul Homes CD she used as the excuse to meet him, that he kindly signed "For Pamela, with love, Paul". The CD did not kick off a singing career, but it sold well I think.
One of the things that Paul and Janet had in common was they'd both very publicly survived a brush with cancer (she'd had ovarian cancer in the early 1990s and "beaten" it, and he'd been successfully treated for prostate cancer).
I wasn't at the meeting, which took place at the Meridian Mall in Dunedin, but I met Janet and the friend she was with later for coffee at the Meridian food court (we could still see Paul Holmes at his signing table on the other side of the mall), and heard there'd been a warm mutually flummoxed conversation, as can occur when celebrities collide, and a photo taken, and I was presented with my CD!
The Star-Times interviewer spotted the photo:
"Among the photographs on the sideboard (Kiri Te Kanawa, Bill Clinton, family, family, family) is a picture of a dark-suited Holmes with an old woman with wild white hair. Janet Frame approached the broadcaster at a CD signing session in Dunedin. He says she told him they were both survivors."