Sunday, 8 March 2009

Dining with Radiohead and singing with Peter Frampton.

After a night of bellowed conversations with longtimenotseen friends last night, with us all screaming at each other over the superb heavy rock of live band Brazen, my poor throat has been stripped of several layers of skin and hurts like hell. Eating my Sunday bowl of properly-made porridge this morning was like swallowing shards of crushed glass - not good!

So a quick trip to town and a bottle of foul tasting Chloraseptic later, and here I am, sat at the macbook, sucking on Cadbury's Buttons (to disguise the hideous taste of the spray, you understand.)

It's been an interesting few weeks to say the least, involving a chicken dinner in a school hall with a member of Radiohead & his family, ten days of LA sunshine & countless meetings with fascinating industry types, not to mention unexpected BV sessions sharing a mic with bonafide rock legends...

I'll start with the chicken dinner. It was our good friend Roy's wedding, a small affair at a beautiful registry office in Leatherhead, Surrey, followed by an afternoon reception at his former primary school near Oxshot. The wedding itself was very special indeed; Roy and Rachel found each other only a year ago, with one marriage already behind them. Roy is a producer of plays and audio books and met Rachel, an actor, when they worked on an adapation of 'The Woman In White' together for BBC Radio 3. Their love is one of those truly beautiful things - they positively glow in each other's presence. They already have one gorgeous child together, Jamie, and a brand new bairn is bubbling up in Rachel as I type.

When Rachel walked through the doors of the registry, to the sounds of Lakme's Flower Duet, dressed in an absolutely stunning deep red dress with white fur trim and long white silk gloves, Roy's face exploded with adoration and there was barely a dry eye in the room (and I'm referring to the men here, too!) The ceremony was brief, but perfect, and the glorious sunshine in the adjacent gardens of the building made for a great location for sipping champagne and mingling with the party. We felt priveleged to have been a part of it all.

Dave and I knew maybe a dozen of the 30 or so guests, some of whom we rarely get to see, so it was great fun being able to catch up with everyone. When we moved on to the reception, we were a little disappointed to see we were the only couple of our group of friends who were sat away from everyone else, with people we didn't know - but still, we were on Table 2, immediately beside the main table, so we were honoured by the positioning.

I was sat beside a tall, well dressed man in a striped suit, his two young boys to the left of him and his gorgeous wife on the other side of the boys. The kids had strawberry blonde hair, so we immediately had plenty to talk about! 'Philip', it turned out, was a really lovely bloke - his family equally lovely (and the kids brilliantly mischievous, as 7/9 yr old boys should be). We chatted about banal stuff through the main course, which was a gorgeous chicken chasseur served out of the school's usual heated metal vats - great fun and very tasty. Then he mentioned that he was glad to be able to attend the wedding as he's usually away from home a lot.

'What do you do?' I asked.
'Oh, I'm a musician' he said.
Me - 'Ahh that would explain why we're sat together!'
Philip - 'Really? Why, do you play something too?'
Me - 'Oh I'm sorry, you go ahead & finish saying what you were saying, then I'll tell you what we do'
P - 'Right... well, I play drums'
M - 'Oh great! And you get to play all over the world? So, is that with a band then, or are you a session player?'
P - "Erm, well, yes, with a band actually'
M - 'Really? Would I know them?'
P - "Well, it's Radiohead...."

(insert very awkward pause and a stifled cough from me as I very nearly choked on a shallot)

Yes dear readers, there I was, sitting beside the unmistakable, baldheaded, striking figure of the legendary drummer Phil Selway**, and I didn't even notice. To my defense, I was NOT expecting to spend Roy's wedding reception sitting beside a member of one of my favourite bands, but still! HOW could I not recognise him?! Of course, as soon as he said it, I immediately realised my ignorance and it was as if his head morphed instantly into that of the one and only Phil From the 'Head, a likeness I was absolutely blind to before that point.

I then had to admit that I worked for Running Media, managing Corinne Bailey Rae who he's met before and who is a known, avid fan of the band. In other words, I really should have known better. I did, however, keep to myself the fact that I'm also an occasional indie DJ, who should be able to distinguish her Legendary Indie Rock Drummers from her EveryDay Wedding Guests...

I could have killed Roy for not warning me in advance but, as he said himself, if he HAD told me, I probably would have had palpitations and anxiety attacks from the second I entered the school and would have refused to sit down for fear of making a complete t*t of myself. I managed that rather well tho regardless, eh?! And anyway, killing Roy would have made for a very sad end to what had been a very beautiful day.

By the way, my eventual response to his announcement was something horrendously embarrassing like 'Oh right, of course, I thought you looked familiar!' ouch....

We did manage to continue having a fairly normal conversation throughout the pud (a splendid apple crumble drenched with lashings of thick, skin-ny custard), and I managed to refrain from becoming the jibbering wreck that I so desperately wanted to slip into. I think I was, in part, saved by the fact that everything I've ever known about Radiohead immediately vanished from the reachable parts of my memory as soon as he revealed his true identity - the facts and figures of a former DJ suddenly burying themselves in the darkest recesses of my shamed brain, not to be drawn out of hiding again until I'd stopped embarrassing myself and I could make correct use of them.

And sure enough, when one of these hovering Journo-Prompts DID rise to the surface and spit itself out before I could stop it (a dreadfully pre-fabricated line about the pressures of the band to always do something new and inventive and blah blah blah blah) he immediately shrank into himself, spooned a last dollop of custard into his gob and murmured that he really had to see to the kids (who were, at that point, being swung around by their ankles in the hallway by a slightly taller yoof.)

And as if by magic, there comes Radiohead now on the iTunes playlist!! Ahhh Bullet Proof. Such a great song - and yet, I cant quite bring myself to listen to it... so I'll log off for now, readjust the iTunes and tell you the tale of the LA studio session in my next blog. Enough excitement for today methinks!

My final words, though, have to be 'I'm so sorry BtB...!' You know who you are :)

CDH signing out, and reaching for more medication.

** I linked to that particular pic of Philip (who hates being called Phil, btw), because I think it's the exact same suit he wore at the wedding...HOW did I not recognise him?!

Haven't really bigged up any music in this blog, so I'll just copy the playlist that was on while typing this out - clearly I had my iTunes set to alphabetical!

Bleeder - Emiliana Torrini
Blind Love - Tom Waits
Blindsided - Bon Iver
Blondie's Call Me - Franz Ferdinand (from War Child 09)
Blood Upon Copper - Seth Lakeman
Blue Light, Red Light - Harry Connick Jnr
Blue Motel Room - Joni Mitchell
Blue Ridge Mountains - Fleet Foxes
Bob Dylan's Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat - Beck
Bodysnatchers - Radiohead

Boom Boom - John Lee Hooker
Born Under A Bad Sign - Richard Hawley
The Box - Johnny Flynn
Branches - Midlake
Breathe Me - Sia
Bride of Rain Dog - Tom Waits
Broken Down Cowboy - John Fogerty
and then (part of) Bullet Proof..I Wish I Was - Radiohead

No comments:

Post a Comment