It's been a while - I've been away and done a few lovely workshops, but I'll have to tell you about those another time. However, I was prompted to write this post, having read Gina's Brush with Celebrity story HERE.
About a month or so ago I went to see Sunny Afternoon at the Hampstead Theatre.
Of course, I realise that I'm a bit biased. I was a Kinks fan from the beginning - they were the first band I ever went to see when I was sixteen - at Boscombe near Bournemouth, and Ray Davies has remained my all time musical hero ever since.
As indeed I told him a couple of days before Christmas a few years ago when I happened to bump into him in the gift department of John Lewis at Brent Cross. I actually said "Oh goodness it's my hero!" He smiled and asked if I'd got everything I was looking for and I said "Well, I have now". Pathetic, isn't it?
Over the years I've seen him lots of times - with the Kinks, performing solo, and with the Crouch End Festival Chorus. I even braved camping and hideous portaloos to see him at Glastonbury in 2009, so when I read about this show, I was always going to go. I went with my mate Jan on the second night, and it was absolutely fab- the cast were superb - great actors and performers - they played all the instruments themselves and I couldn't have enjoyed it more. It received justifiably brilliant reviews and when I got home, I immediately booked a ticket for the last night (there were only single tickets left, but I didn't mind going on my own and I got a seat in the third row from the stage).
On the day I was due to go, I was at a stitching workshop during the day, and I joking said to my mates "I expect Ray will be there tonight as it's the last performance" and they all nodded and smiled in the way that you do when you are humouring a delusional friend.
I decided to drive to Stanmore Station and get the tube. What I hadn't bargained for was the fact that there was some 'important' football match on at Wembley that day (sorry - no further details, in the event that any of you are even mildly interested), so the traffic was horrendous. THEN, when I got to the car park the whole world and his football-mad son was leaving Stanmore Station. Turns out, there's only one way in and out of the station car park, and it's really only designed for one car width, so it wasn't looking promising. To confirm this, a bloke at the top said "You'll never get down there love, everyone's queuing to get out." I smiled and said "Really? Watch me!"
I gradually forced my way down against the flood of cars getting out, and everyone was moving over as far to the left as they could, without actually graunching their car along the fence - I guess they could see I was a woman on a mission. Anyway, I eventually arrived in the car park, got parked, ran to the tube and got my ticket and got the train. By this time I was really pushed for time, and kept glancing at my watch and counting down the stations to Swiss Cottage. I really began to doubt that I'd get there in time for the start and worried that they wouldn't then let me in until the interval.
As luck would have it, I got there - literally - with one minute to spare. I swapped my printed email for my ticket and programme and ran into the theatre. I handed the ticket to the girl on the door and said "I really didn't think I was was going to make it - the journey was a nightmare!" A male voice to my left said "Yeah, tell me about it!" I turned - and it was RAY DAVIES!!
I would LOVE to be able to tell you that I told him that I was his biggest fan, or that this was the second time I'd seen Sunny Afternoon because it had been so bloody brilliant the first time, or even that I'd politely asked him to sign my programme. But no. I just looked at him, said "Oh, Hello!" and he said "Hello!" back. Then I took my seat.
For the rest of my life I will think of all the clever, intelligent, meaningful things I could have said.
If ever I see him again - I'm going to have a speech prepared.
PS - I just searched and I think this was the gig I went to -
Imagine that - under a quid to see the best band in the world!
PPS - When I went to the bar in the interval to get a coffee, I found myself standing next to Paul Weller, but this paled into insignificance against Ray, I'm afraid.
I'm Not Like Everybody Else - The Kinks (but I think you knew that)