The Prodigy were the first band I saw live. As a 14-year-old in 1997, Brixton Academy at the start of The Fat of The Land tour was an imposing place. Even the tube ride there was intimidating. But it was nothing compared to inside the venue, where a frightening, fighting, swelling mass of a crowd surged forward to see what was perhaps the biggest band in Britain at that moment. Their album was at number one seemingly everywhere, while their latest video had just been preserved for posterity by being banned from the BBC.
Few concerts that I've been to since have matched either the energy of the band or the enthusiasm of the audience. So when I was asked this week if I wanted to meet Maxim, one of the vocalists from the group, it didn't take long to say yes.
Maxim was launching LeipdropTerror – his debut solo art show in London. The exhibition, dystopic fantasies in a dark room, was suitably impressive. So were his views on art. But meeting him reminded me that we can be disproportionately excited at meeting someone if they were famous when we were young.
Despite being an adult when I bumped into them at a TV awards ceremony, I'm sure I came across as an embarrassingly excited fan when I met the very funny Vic Reeves and Charlie Higson. I would far sooner have a drink, or demand an embarrassing photo on my phone, with a member of the QPR squad from the early Nineties than with anyone from today's first team.
I have been more excited by the thought of speaking to Andi Peters and Chris Evans (TV staples of my childhood and youth respectively), than other so-called "bigger" stars. Quite frankly, Rainbow presenter Geoffrey Hayes and his Sooty counterpart Matthew Corbett should watch out if we ever cross paths.
Just as songs you hear at school and university stay with you longer than those in later life, so too do the people you watch, follow or admire when you're more impressionable.
Just like Maxim's art show, in which the sword-carrying butterflies on the canvas aren't necessarily what they seem. The figures from my youth, who I have been lucky enough to meet, are usually more interesting and have more depth than expected – more three dimensional figures than simply posters on bedroom walls.
I say disregard the old maxim – if you'll excuse the pun – you really should meet your heroes.Reuse content