MY Pardon Monsieur moment with American Emmy award-winning actress Kirstie Alley was random in the extreme.
It was 1991, and Kirstie was at the height of her TV fame playing Rebecca in the US sitcom Cheers. It was also a weird time for music and movie celebs buying pieces of Scottish real estate.
Paul and Linda McCartney had long been established at their farm on the Kintyre peninsula, while former Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson had bought a Scottish fish farm and comedy star Billy Connolly was eying up a Highland castle.
So when the small island of Gigha (pronounced Geeya) was put up for sale in the summer of 1991 it did not come as much surprise to hear that both Mick Jagger and Kirstie Alley had expressed interest.
At the time I was in my first editor’s chair at the small weekly newspaper The Argyllshire Advertiser while also covering the adjoining Campbeltown Courier.
I decided to try and harden up the rumours of the celeb interest in our wee west coast island of Gigha – population 140 – and telephone both Mick Jagger and Kirstie Alley.
I was given short-shrift by Jaggers’ agent, but surprisingly had much more luck from Miss Alley’s who promised me an interview.
I was gobsmacked some few hours later to receive a personal call from the sitcom star. And as it was about 2pm our time, she must have been ringing very early morning from the States.
In either case, her Kansas drawl totally flummoxed an English editor still coming to terms with the Argyll lilt of the Scottish West Highlands.
“Hi, am I talking to Nic?”… I could just make out, as I answered my phone.
I could barely translate the next line, but am sure she said: “I gather you want to talk about Giga.”
Or she may have said she was ‘buying a cider’!
I was already confused.
She then went on to tell me how she loved the Scots, how ‘wonderful’ she thought Scotland was and how it was her spiritual home.
Or she could have said: “I love a Scotch, I think Scottish bands are wonderful and I am thinking of becoming a spiritualist.”
To be frank she could have told me anything. And to be fair to Kirstie I am sure it was just a communication breakdown between two diverse accents that meant that after a 10 minute interview I had nothing written down in my notebook.
Nothing at all!
And I still do not know, some 22 years later, whether she wanted to buy Gigha.