My brush with the Muscles from Brussels

So that was my top claim to fame as told in the Small Claims Court of BBC Radio 6 Music. Here’s the full story…

I met Jean Claude Van Damme in LA in 2001, back when I was just 20. He was living in the same apartment block as my friend’s Dad who we were staying with. On our last night we passed him on our way out. I had missed him so turned back under the guise of having left my purse back at the apartment. I’d only wished to sneak a glance at his face, but when I turned round one of his two dogs was following me so obviously I stopped to stroke the animal.

He came over and started chatting with me – he’d been walking his dogs with his son, Kris. Dressed in double denim and aviators I was really shocked by his somewhat diminutive stature. He waxed lyrical about how he’d rescued the dogs from the street and how smart they were, attempting to get them to perform small tricks for me. Does that impress a 20 year old British girl? No sir, no it does not. Anyhow, the dogs refused to perform, as if weary at this well-worn ruse for attention. After a few more minutes of small talk (boom) he whipped off his sunglasses with full on movie-style flamboyance, extended his arm and  introduced himself “Jean-Claude”. Stifling my laughter I shook his hand, mumbled a pleasantry, made my excuses and left.

On my return to the UK I learned he was desperately trying to make a come-back, and wondered if we should have acted starstruck instead of feigning ignorance (as one does in LA!). Admittedly, I’ve since watched every film he’s ever featured in – most of them in the ensuing weeks as I recuperated from an operation (special nod to JCVD which is a must-see). I must also confess to having a teeny weeny bit of a crush, but at the time he was just an embarrassing, ageing, has-been. Sorry JC, you truly are a star.

Update 29/10/13 >> have a bit of fun with this JCVD poll: