Paul Simon stepped back as I rushed him at the hotel elevator.
I could see in his eyes, if not in his expressionless and - up close - piscine face, he was alarmed. He might've written a meaningful song called The Boxer but, it was obvious - up close - the diminutive troubadour wasn't capable of any meaningful self-defence.
Not that superstars need to physically defend themselves, they retain burly minders for that task and two of them moved between me and their charge as I closed in.
"Mr Simon," I said. "Mr Simon."
I hoped by using the honourific, I'd come across as non-threatening, but once deployed, it just made me seem more so.
I imagine after Mark David Chapman had approached John Lennon with a .38 revolver and a copy of The Catcher in the Rye outside The Dakota apartments in 1980, the last thing the Walrus was left to ponder on this Earth was: "Did he just call me Mr?"
Indeed, he had.
Some 33 years later, not in New York, New York, but Newcastle, New South Wales, another case of celebrity obsession ended on a happier note, for the fan at least.
Disarmed, I'm sure, by my idiot grin more than my formalities, the guards parted and the object of my affection shook my hand. I was still grinning, Paul Simon's strumming fingers still in mine, when the genius was whisked into the elevator and up, I assumed, to the penthouse, where, I pictured, hummed a suite of restorative, hospital-grade machines to which the septuagenarian would be connected after having that night left a stage covered in finite sweat and an adoring crowd wanting more.
"Thanks," I said. "Loved you all my life."
As the doors sealed shut, so was my chance to salvage any dignity. Not that I cared. I'd actually met him.
Despite how it sounds, I hadn't stalked the singer. My wife and I had, in our first night out in five years after having children, treated ourselves to a concert and a posh room with quality sheets. We had no idea an idol was staying in the same digs and it was while we were enjoying a post-show drink in the lobby, the unwitting performer wandered in and I pounced.
Paul Simon doesn't think of that serendipitous moment, ever, but I do, often.
Simon (along with Mr Lennon and The Beatles) was pretty much my maiden musical crush. The first CD I bought with my own money was The Simon and Garfunkel Collection (and talking of a scant dignity, the first tape I ever bought was a cassingle of Star Trekkin' by The Firm).
That CD still works great and has never left our pile of high-rotation discs. Its cover photo would appear to show the pair walking along a beach together but on closer inspection, neither Simon nor Garfunkel can be positively identified and there's plenty of online conjecture it's not them at all, just a couple of actors. Art Garfunkel's shoulders do look a little too broad for an egghead mathematician with the voice of an angel, while Simon's shoulders have a cynical guitar slung over them. The internet has a lot of fun with Simon and Garfunkel album covers in general, such as bringing to our attention the iconic photo from 1970's Bridge Over Troubled Water, where Garfunkel, standing behind his much shorter collaborator, appears to be sporting a moustache fashioned by Simon's retreating fringe.
Singing as Tom & Jerry, teenage Simon and Garfunkel had their first minor hit in 1957 with Hey, Schoolgirl, a loving and catchy imitation of any song by the Everly Brothers. As ''Jerry Landis'', Simon aped the sound of Don and Phil Everly relentlessly, using them as a template to hone the skills which would eventually establish him as one of the 20th century's greatest singer-songwriters (Graceland turned 35 on Wednesday).
Also, as of this week, the source of Simon's inspiration (and Lennon and Paul McCartney's) is gone. Don Everly died in Nashville on Sunday, aged 84, seven years after his younger brother, who died aged 74.
MORE B.R. DOHERTY:
There is additional magic to creativity when the product of two artists and it feels doubly sad when duos come to an end, whether it be through attrition or something more acute.
My pop culture formation is crowded with double-acts, mostly male, I must admit, except maybe for Laverne & Shirley and Cagney & Lacey.
As a child, I laughed along with my father to Wayne and Schuster, Morecambe and Wise and the Two Ronnies. Dad was also a sucker for Jan & Dean and I remember being engrossed by the 1978 TV movie, Deadman's Curve, which chronicled the aftermath of Jan Berry's crash in his Corvette.
A few years later, alone one night and, again, in front of the telly, I was mesmerised by the film version of The Pirates of Penzance starring Linda Ronstadt and Kevin Kline. From it, the wonderful works of another two-man team emerged.
In the next decade, I came to love Roy and HG and remain thankful they - in an era of knee-jerk outrage and online offence - continue to be a source of rare irreverence in the face of so much cultural piety. Their Tokyo Olympics coverage was a particularly welcome slice of sanity during that jingoistic fortnight.
Being a movie buff, it's hard to find a better double-act than the Coen Brothers, so it's been distressing to learn their collaborations may be over. Ethan seems done with film altogether and Joel is about to release The Tragedy of Macbeth, the first offering ever written and directed by a lone Coen.
Two brothers who've been working together for almost as long as the Everlys did, Ron and Russell Mael, form avant-garde pop act Sparks. They've been thrust into the mainstream this year thanks to Edgar Wright's documentary on the pair and the fact they conceived Leos Carax's new film Annette.
Unlike the Coens, the Maels have never looked like breaking up, which is kind of a pity because we love a reunion perhaps even more so than the union itself.
You can hear this in the buzz of the crowd attending the 1981 free concert in Central Park, which brought Simon and Garfunkel back together after a stop-start decade of bickering and jealousy.
That event almost led to a return to the studio for the old friends, but they fell out again, and the ensuing 1983 album became Simon's solo Hearts and Bones, its title track a raw account of his disintegrating marriage to Carrie Fisher.
You take two bodies and twirl them into one ... their hearts and their bones ... and they won't come undone ...
No matter how hard they try, some singles will always be doubles.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.