Twitter, trailers and the long wait for a mega star
- 27 September 2011
- From the section Northern Ireland
In cafes, in offices and all over cyberspace - there's only been one topic worth talking about in Belfast on Tuesday.
"She was in the chippy last night."
"She's filming in the New Lodge."
"A farmer told her to cover up while she was filming on his land."
In fact, they were all true. But there were plenty more rumours that weren't. One colleague ended up in Downpatrick after a bum steer.
And that was the task - track Rihanna down, find out where she was filming the next part of her music video and get a picture of her.
The Barbados pop star hit the headlines on Monday when a Bangor farmer asked her to dress more 'modestly' when filming on his land.
The story went global and Rihanna's attempts to film her video while in Northern Ireland to play the Odyssey Arena became a whole lot more difficult. Throw in Twitter, the Belfast rumour mill and she wouldn't escape our clutches for long.
And that's why we ended up standing in a car park in Donegall Street in Belfast city centre at 10:30 BST. The car park attendant didn't know what had hit him.
He normally only has customers during rush hour and pigeons for company. On Tuesday he had more than 50 members of the media and 250 fans to contend with.
And no one could get their car out.
We settled in for the long haul. Rihanna was in her luxury trailer. Well, it must have been luxurious, because she showed no sign of coming out of it any time soon.
The stories circulated again. Pictures of her in a Belfast chip shop the night before did the rounds. A thousand jokes offered land and more for her next video.
Every few minutes someone sang snatches of Umbrella - her massive breakthrough hit - to help explain who she was to those with only a passing knowledge of the R&B dance scene.
Over two hours we were stationed there jockeying for position. At 11:14 BST there was a flurry of activity as a round of coffees from a very well known high street chain were delivered to, what became known as, 'The Trailer'.
Rihanna wasn't going anywhere soon. She was in 'The Trailer' and she was drinking a skinny caramel macchiato. Or something like that.
At 11:37 BST the blacked-out people carrier that famous people always seem to travel in moved beside 'The Trailer'. The photographers clambered to new perches.
At 11:49 BST the people carrier moved again and opened its back door. The photographers ran back to their original positions.
The whole universe had shrunk into focusing on 'The Trailer'. Is that why they're called stars?
And at 12:53 BST it happened...
Rihanna left the sanctuary of 'The Trailer'. And the watching Belfast public completely ignored the barriers put in place by police and her security team. They surged forward to see her.
She waved, smiled and ducked into the people carrier. She was tall, striking, and wearing sunglasses - every inch the mega star.
And she was gone.
Camera phones snapped with reckless abandon, the experts flash-bombed her car in search of another money-making image and there was a collective sigh as her fame wagon zipped her away to her filming location.
"I got a picture of her!"
"She smiled right at me!"
Some people tried to follow her. Others headed back to work happy with just a little stardust sprinkled into their lives.
A farmer complained that he saw too much of Rihanna on Monday - a day later we waited over two hours and we barely saw her at all.