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Meeting Jenson Button

November 20, 2009

Jenson Button, 2009 Formula 1 World Champion was in London this evening. In fact he was in Selfridges for the launch of his new book ‘My Championship Year’. As a fan, with the day off school for various reasons I decided to catch the train up to London to see if I could use this opportunity to get some nice photographs of the soon to be crowned Champion. In truth this was also an effort to shift the various negative emotions I’ve been suffering with this week.

Once negotiating both the underground, which I’m not really a fan of, and the hustle and bustle that is Oxford Street at 4pm, I found myself in Selfridges on the ground floor in the to the book shop.

With just less than 2 hours until Jenson’s arrival to say that the area was busy would be an understatement as the queue of enthusiastic fans already stretched into the depths of the shop. I managed to purchase a copy of Jenson’s book and was then quickly grabbed by a shop assistant who placed a silver band around my wrist. He explained that I’d be in the reserve queue and that there would be no guarantee I could get my book signed. I was never really intending on getting his autograph so I simply smiled at the assistant and headed off in search for something that would keep me entertained for over an hour while I waited for Jenson to appear.

Thankfully I’m starting to get used to going to events like this, and knew that I should arrive in a good spot to take photos from in plenty of time. In this case that meant getting there over an hour early. So I stood, and waited, and waited, and waited.

Less than 10 minutes before Jenson turned up the official photographers swarmed in, and I watched them set up their many cameras green with envy. Luckily I managed to tear my eyes away from the photographers for long enough to notice that a familiar face had appeared within the crowd of officials. Jules Kulpinski, Jenson’s PA, was chatting to a security guard close to the signing area.

© Lou Johnson

I looked to be the only person who had spotted her, or even knew who she was for I seemed to be the least taken by surprise when a few moments later Jenson walked around the corner. He posed for the mandatory press  photographs before sitting down to start signing books and meeting his fans.

© Lou Johnson

Jenson sat for his designated hour signing copies of his book for each of the fans in the guaranteed section of queue, ensuring that he at least spoke to each of them. He was chatty, smiley and most importantly seemed genuinely interested and excited about meeting some of his fans. It was warming to see his interaction with people and their reactions. Everyone was smiling and even Jules seemed to be enjoying meeting everyone.

Having taken the photographs I wanted and watched the signings for a while I decided that it may be best to beat the rush and leave before Jenson did. I headed back through the crowd and was walking towards the escalators when a security guard caught a glimpse of my silver wristband and my unsigned Jenson book.

‘Don’t you want to meet him?’ he asked. I explained that I assumed there was no point in queuing now as Jenson would no doubt be leaving soon. He told me that Jenson was wanting to stay later so that even the people in the reserve queue could meet him too. My eyes lit up and I joined the back of the queue. Within 15 minutes, there I was standing face to face with Jenson Button.

‘Hello! How are you?’ He asked.

‘I’m.. great thanks, you alright?’

‘Never better!’ he smiled as he started to sign my book. I smiled back and looked at both him and Jules. I was totally overwhelmed with surprise that I was actually standing in front of them! I paused for a moment and then, I surprised myself by talking even more.

‘Congratulations on the most amazing season Jenson! It’s been a real inspiration, and it’s been a real joy to support you.’

‘Thank you! It’s been an incredible year.’

‘One that’s made me more keen to get into the Formula 1 world one day’ (I have no idea why i was still talking at this point)


‘I’d love to be a Formula 1 photographer…’

‘A Formula 1 photographer? Awesome! It’s tricky though, lots of (he started doing silly panning motions with an imaginary camera)… and things. Best of luck with it though and I hope to see you on the grid in a few years!’

I walked away with a huge smile from ear to ear, hardly believing that not only had I stood right in front of Jenson Button, but I’d even managed to have a conversation with him.

© Lou Johnson

I’ve been supporting Jenson for years, and have now finally met him. I was really impressed with the way he reacted to the crowd, at least pretending to take an interest in everything that was said, constantly smiling and above all giving up more of his time than had initially been allocated so that he could continue signing for his fans. I think it’s safe to say this may have cheered me up a little!

Please note: more photographs can be found in my flickr set


27 Comments leave one →
  1. Steven Roy permalink
    November 20, 2009 02:07

    I am so glad you had a great time and he lived up to your expectations. Nice to see that he wasn’t clock watching and was prepared to do more than he needed.

    ‘One that’s made me more keen to get into the Formula 1 world one day’

    I bet when you said that he thought you wanted to be a driver.

  2. November 20, 2009 02:08

    lou, this has made my day!

  3. Amy permalink
    November 20, 2009 02:09

    wow, that is awesome!

  4. Lou permalink*
    November 20, 2009 02:10

    I bet when you said that he thought you wanted to be a driver.

    yeah I think he did, because when i mentioned about wanting to be a photographer he seemed both surprised and intrigued 🙂

  5. Lou permalink*
    November 20, 2009 02:11

    lou, this has made my day!

    it kinda made mine too 🙂 Still can’t believe i met him!…:)

  6. November 20, 2009 02:18

    It looks like you had a good time. Even though I’m not a fan of Jenson it still would’ve been cool to meet him like that.

  7. Journeyer permalink
    November 20, 2009 02:23

    Speaking from experience (:D), Jenson is a great guy to meet in person – he can and will talk to you if you speak up, unlike many other drivers. 🙂

    Jenson will always have his weak points (and this week emphasized that more than anything), but make no mistake, he knows the value of his fans, and he takes care of them.

  8. Journeyer permalink
    November 20, 2009 02:26

    Nice shot of Jules, BTW. Too bad there’s this blurred thing-y blocking her left side, otherwise, it’s perfect.

  9. Rich permalink
    November 20, 2009 05:22

    Very inspirational given what is being spread in the press. I know that I am in the minority but I think Brawn (Ross & Nick) mishandled the negotiations as much as Jenson if not more so. I can so understand Jenson wanting to be with the most competitive car and to have a straight shoot out with Lewis. Finally I am glad you confirmed what I always thought, Jenson in public is very media friendly.

  10. November 20, 2009 07:17


  11. November 20, 2009 08:09

    Lou, This is absobloodylutely brilliant!

    What a great day!

  12. November 20, 2009 08:52

    That is quite spectacular. You had a proper conversation with him!! How awesome!! I’m so pleased for you, and what a nice guy to boot 🙂

  13. Steve (McLaren Fan) permalink
    November 20, 2009 10:53

    Great read Lou, and glad you had a fantastic time.

  14. November 20, 2009 11:05

    Awesome Lou! Really lovely 🙂

  15. November 20, 2009 11:41

    Wow Lou,

    I have a tear in my eye reading this I’m sooooo chuffed for you. And a bit amazed that you actually said something. What a wonderful experience to top off a fantastic year for you.

  16. Lady Snowcat permalink
    November 20, 2009 18:50

    That’s lovely Lou….

    You’ve had a great year and this just crowns it…

    I hope you gave the Security Guard a big hug…

  17. rubbergoat permalink
    November 20, 2009 19:38

    Wow that’s cool!

    Jenson’s a good bloke having a proper chat with you like that, considering how many people were there!

    Congrats on having a great experience meeting him and for such a great season – 2010 should be a cracker for you!

  18. Lou permalink*
    November 20, 2009 20:17

    Jenson’s a good bloke having a proper chat with you like that, considering how many people were there!

    he had chats like that with almost everyone 🙂 so awesome 🙂

    Congrats on having a great experience meeting him and for such a great season – 2010 should be a cracker for you!

    thanks, lets hope so 🙂

  19. November 20, 2009 23:05

    1) Well done you for not fainting on the spot

    2) Did it encourage you or cement your feelings on F1 photography?

  20. Lou permalink*
    November 20, 2009 23:31

    I hope you gave the Security Guard a big hug…

    i was in way too much shock to have gone back to find the guy.. all i kept thinking was ‘i just met Jenson Button….i actually met Jenson…. ‘ lol 🙂

  21. Lou permalink*
    November 20, 2009 23:38

    1) Well done you for not fainting on the spot

    hehe thank you, it was kinda difficult, but i tried to make the most of the short time i had to say hi 🙂

    2) Did it encourage you or cement your feelings on F1 photography?

    It’s certainly encouraged me, seeing Jenson trying to mime panning was soo funny and both Jules and i laughed at him. But that’s besides the point. i’ve already decided that i definitely want to go on and complete a photography degree at uni, but then i’m not sure. depends how the degree goes, but my overall aim in life at the moment is to get into f1 photography, then i suppose it will be to successful 🙂 i could change my mind though 🙂

  22. November 21, 2009 00:10

    I’m glad you got to meet him! Really good to hear he was so pleasant with the fans, so often you hear of F1 drivers who do the minimum necessary even at their own signings (rather than sponsor ones).
    At first I was convinced he’d made the wrong decision for next year – the more I think of it though, the more I think he and Lewis will get on really well. I like Rubens but you have to say Lewis will be harder challenge, and maybe that’s the challenge he was looking for, not so much the new team. Will be interesting to follow.

  23. November 21, 2009 21:56

    Go Lou!

  24. robinchhabra2311 permalink
    February 13, 2010 21:28

    Hey Lou… such a nice article buddy. your article shows your passion. I would like to invite you on (India’s one of the most happening sports website) for sharing your thoughts. we are a team of more than 70 bloggers and would be fortunate to have u with us.

    Robin Chhabra


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