Two things have dominated my life the past week or so. Well, one thing has dominated it. The other has irked me to the point of writing about it.
An ex pop star took exception to a couple of things I’d written in a review of his gig. It was a solid 9 out of 10 review too, the sort you’d think most artists would be content with. Not on this occasion. He took to social media, calling me out for wrongly writing his band name in one conjoined word rather than his preferred two. “There’s no such word as Wonderstuff,” pointed out the man who had a hit with ‘Circlesquare‘.
“Sorry ’bout that,” I replied, genuinely embarrassed. My normal stringent self-editing skills had clearly left me when I needed them most.
“And there was no ‘flatness’ to the show either,” he spikily added.
Oh, there was. There was. And the steady flow of people after a quarter of an hour on their second and third visits to the toilet? The bar? Anywhere but an auditorium where the hits that had taken the headliner there in the very first place were being steadfastly ignored will tell you that. In hindsight, I’m rather glad of publishing the now-offending line ‘the gig was on the verge of flatness until…‘ rather than the deleted ‘From the blander stuff to the Wonder Stuff‘ one I’d originally gone with. Imagine if I’d stuck with that little nugget?!?
Naturally, when the big hits were rolled out, the gig went into orbit and the tiny venue was vibrating with joyful noise and giddy abandon. The sooner ex pop stars realise what their audience is there for, the better for everyone.
Not that he apparently cared much for his fans either. “They’re only here to get drunk and hear me play “(big number 1 hit record), so I’ll not be doing that,” we were informed beforehand. And he didn’t. Those’ll be the same fans he gladly sold all manner of product to at his merchandise stall at the end of the night, grinnning from ear to ear whenever another tenner was pressed into his hand and grimacing from here to there when asked for a quick selfie. It’s your money I’m after, baby, and don’t you forget it.
Earlier, he’d grudgingly signed two of my records, barely looking up from the screen of his phone as he did so. Had I not been there in person, I’d have sworn the signatures were written by two different people, perhaps a blind southpaw and an in a rush Chinese man with a broken right hand. Previous encounters with pop stars have led to carefully-worded messages across the cover of a 7″ single. “Keep rockin’ Craig,” instructed a cheery Duglas T Stewart. “D’you really want me to write on this?” asked a concerned Johnny Marr as I presented him with a Sharpie and my ’78 Telecaster. “Good luck brother,” he offered, in his best hand writing.
There were other incidents of note as the night progressed, but as you are perhaps beginning to appreciate, the headliner’s name neatly rhymes with one of those titular unmentionable C words. In the scheme of things though, it’s trivial, so we’ll leave it there for now.
The polar opposite of trivial has been my father’s battle with that other great unmentionable C word.
For four years he’s faced up to it, eyeball to eyeball and it’s only now that the balance of power is swinging unfavourably away from him. Unlike the minor skirmish above though, this is one battle I’m respecting with an online silence. Posts may be less frequent in the coming weeks.