Friday, 7 December 2012

You Make Me Feel Good



22nd November: I got wind of free tickets to sit in on a Radio 4 recording of Mastertapes .. .. with The Zombies, my all time favourite sixties band. I really do worship and adore them and have never managed yet to see The Zombies, I have only ever been fortunate enough to see Colin Blunstone (and free I hasten to add) play. So yes, I got wind of this and after a minor dither because Andy was working that day, I applied anyway and held my breath.

23rd November: In my email inbox, I found an email from the BBC congratulating me on getting the two tickets I had applied for! Huzzah! They stressed that as some people don't turn up, they send out more tickets than there are seats, so a seat was not guaranteed. Booooo! And, Andy was still working and was attempting to get the day off.

27th November: Andy finally confirmed he had the day off! 

28th November: I got another email asking if I had any questions I would like to put to The Zombies as this would also guarantee my tickets had seats - yay! Except no, as I was put on new medication around this time and spent almost two days asleep, so ..

1st December: I awoke from my haze and replied to said email, not expecting very much.

3rd December: Train tickets purchased and e.tickets printed off.



5th December: I got yet another email from Auntie Beeb saying my question had been chosen and here is where I started to hyperventilate with excitement.

6th December: Today was the day! Up, dressed and out the door for our train to London. We thought we would leave early so as to scope out where we had to be. Neither us had ever been to the Maida Vale area.

We hopped off the train at Waterloo, after an hour and a quarter of being sat opposite a corporate type who was congratulating someone on her phone about being proactive and next to someone who smelt of Turkish Delight. Once through the chaos of Waterloo station, we popped across to Pizza Express for a bite to eat, yum. We also got 'Christmas Gifts' in the way of vouchers. Andy has one for free coffee and I had one for free pizza. I think we can safely assume I won.
Hopped onto the underground to Maida Vale which is really a beautiful place. I really loved this church, I'm guessing it's 1950's, as architecture could look a bit deco then and the stepped brickwork is awfully like that of the deco power stations, but who knows.
(edited to add .. 1976 shows what I know *slinks away*)


We promptly got a bit lost and ended up by Little Venice and Browning's Pond which had frozen over ..


Once a very helpful builder had referred to his A-Z and had pointed us in the right direction, we were on our way past oodles of Victorian and Victorian houses (so, so beautiful) and had found the huge Maida Vale studios. As we were there two whole hours early, we took a wander to find a cafe and found a nice little one just around the corner in a very Richard Curtis area of London. I could barely drink my tea I was so nervous at the prospect of speaking in front of not only people, but also The Zombies.
Public speaking is not my bag, baby.

At about 3pm we headed back to the designated door to be the ones to start the queue. We spent the next hour wondering if we were in fact in the right place as a queue started tacking itself on behind us. We met the most gorgeous ginger cat who looked very foxy indeed and in the far distance spotted what looked like a pigeon walking along side a woman. Then I saw a lead, which sparked a whole conversation about Pigeon Walking in Maida Vale, which is all the rage among the rich. As it happens, it was a chihuahua, easy mistake to make I think. Then, cue Colin Blunstone who asked if the door we were queued by was the way in. "It is," replied me, not quite believing I was talking to the person I was talking to and then realising that I had inadvertently fibbed as it was the door for us mere mortals and actual Zombies had to go in through reception. Oops.

By 3.30pm it had got bitterly cold, so, so cold and the sky was white making us think it would snow and there was I with poorly shoes that leaked badly.

4pm was doors open time .. except they weren't.

4.10pm or thereabouts the magic doors opened, filling me with relief that we were at the right door and hadn't started a random queue elsewhere. I got our tickets stickered ..


and was ushered in to start another queue in the far warmer Maida Vale studios. I was also handed my question, all printed out on a card.


Then Paul Weller, or as we call him, Webber (we were listening to a rather elderly radio 2 DJ years ago now who introduced a Paul Weller record as being by Paul Webber) walked past us into a studio.

Eventually we were swept through to the studio, to reserved seats no less and to my horror the studio was far bigger than I had anticipated. There were about six or so rows facing the place where the main attraction was and then three or so flanking either side if you can picture that. I was at the end of the front row, right in front of two seats which I assumed would seat two Zombies and across a short aisle facing me was Webber himself.

By this point I was hideously nervous and even more so when the presenter, John Wilson, came on. Much to my delight there were not two Zombies in attendance, but three! Colin Blunstone (expected), Chris White (not expected, by me anyway) and Rod Argent (expected). I managed to pay good attention to the first part of the show which will go out next Tuesday which was them chatting about their incredible album Odessey and Oracle (that's an infamous spelling mistake by the way). 

After a short break it was question time and I was so nervous it was ridiculous. After two questions, the second I believe from Webber, my name was announced and the mic was handed to me. Thankfully I didn't have to stand up, I am so, so thankful for this. I squeaked out my question .. and with great relief placed the mic on my lap and relaxed enough to listen. Colin even sang a bit of the song, which is one of my favourites! Something made me pick up the mic again however as I had a very strong feeling I was going to have to speak again and lo, I was right. They threw the question back at me asking me what I thought or some such, the memory fails me as I was again struck with terrible nerves and I had no card to read from, I had to improvise! Oh my days, I had to IMPROVISE. I started speaking and then followed what I was sure was a whole minute of mind flailing, of which Andy assures me was far shorter, I managed to form English words and speak them aloud. And then the question, was it one of my favourites, to which I replied it was and then Colin turned to me and said "Mine too." with a smile. I was then able to listen to the rest of the recording, as I really don't have much recall of the questions before mine, so I will be very interested to hear the recording.

It was a wonderful experience, it really was, and all the better for being free. Chris White gave me a lovely smile, Colin Blunstone spoke to me, I got to ask a question and got a song out of it and I didn't have to stand up and make a fool of myself by passing out or something equally embarrassing.

Time to leave and it hadn't been snowing which I was thankful for considering my leaky shoes. We hopped back on the tube (where we chatted to the bassist in Webber's band until his stop) and got back to Waterloo where our train home was waiting at the platform. The journey home was long, oh it was so long. A slow train with the added detail of it stopping twice for a total of about half an hour. We were sat with a couple and their daughter and the oddest thing about this was the dad was playing a game on his phone and the daughter who must have been about ten, was engrossed in reading a newspaper. How very strange.
We took the long journey home as a cue to take photos.

Yes, it was as cold as I make it seem.








*
Um yes, I am wearing that polka dot skirt again *cough*




When we finally got to our stop I was horrified to find it was raining quite heavily and I didn't get far before my feet, not foot, feet, were wet, both shoes were leaking. I think I need to face up to needing new shoes.

21 comments:

  1. I get soooooo nervous with public speaking, especially if it's someone famous I like. You had an amazing day and you looked great too x

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    1. Thank you x
      I can talk to people person to person without the aide of a microphone if I am not especially bothered by their 'fame' but once I admire them, I haven't a hope!

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  2. I thorougly enjoyed this post, Melanie. Well done you for talking and improvising. I really am impressed. Public speaking is not my forte either. Sounds like a great night. Chihuahuas/pigeons. I see exactly where you're coming from! xx

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    1. Thank you Loo xx
      To be truthful, I'm impressed with myself too and I would have been so cross with myself had I not spoken up. It really was all we could do not to laugh as the pigeon dog skittered past!

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  3. I'm so glad you were able to go and had such a fabulous day! It's something special, something memorable, that you'll always be able to look back upon with a smile. :)

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    1. Thank you xxx
      We're definitely going to record the programme so I have it for keeps.

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  4. Showing my ignorance here, but the only Zombies song I know is She's not there. Which I like. Did they do Time of the season? I get some of those 60s groups mixed up! And I love Say you don't mind, and remember it well from my childhood. Simon (my other half) loves Argent!
    Glad you had a good day, well done for conquering your nerves and meeting your heroes. And looking lovely in the process. xxx

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    1. Thank you xxx
      Time of the Season was one of theirs yes, it was on Odessey and Oracle. Say You Don't Mind is one of Colin's solo records and one of my favourites too. I really haven't heard much by Argent, if anything.

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  5. I honestly don't understand people who enjoy public speaking.

    Himself once gave me tickets to see Bowling for Soup at a meet and great and I was actually horrified instead of pleased because it meant I had to speak to the band!!!!! Lol.

    I so glad you had a great time. x

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    1. Thank you x
      I feel your horror completely! Did you actually do it?
      I was all very calm until it was there in black and white that I had to do the talking! Another woman there was so nervous she made her friend read hers out!

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  6. Oh, how I loved this progression through a diary of your experience!!! Wow, what an amazing opportunity!!! I think I would have been equally star-struck!!!! I don't mind public speaking (I have to frequently talk to 400 children or a congregation at church) but only if I know it's coming!
    "Turkish Delight"? How curious!!!

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    1. I'm glad you liked it!
      I absolutely hated speaking in front of people at school, I was even quieter back then and you could have heard a pin drop over the anticipation of the gathered people in the school hall!

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  7. What an awesome step-by-step account of this adventure, it truly sounds like it's one of those days that will linger fondly and clearly in your mind for the rest of time. I'm so happy that you to have this amazing experience, dear Melanie.

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Thank you Jessica! It's certainly a day I won't forget in a hurry xx

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  8. Lucky you getting the tickets Melanie, this sounds such a fun day out. There's something about that BBC sticker, it would make me feel all excited too. Little Venice looks lovely, I'm sure I remember reading somewhere that David Gilmour from Pink Floyd lives there, so I would have been looking out for him if I was there. I'm the same as you when it comes to public speaking, I was fine with it until I got to my teens but ever since then I've hated it. People can never hear me either so I end up talking in a strangulated voice trying to be louder. I'll have to try to listen to the programme on the radio and hear your big moment! Sorry to hear about your wet feet though, I bought a pair of boots half price in the Clarks sale last year which look like little Victorian ankle boots but have Goretex in them, whatever that is but it's the same stuff that's in hill walker's clothes to keep them waterproof I think. Don't know if anything like that would suit you but they've been invaluable to me up here in the perpetual rain and now the snow and maybe they have them on sale again this year. They still weren't all that cheap but I'm hoping to get years of wear out of them as they feel really sturdy. Your photos on the way home look so much fun too, so you made the most of your long train journey. You look very lovely in them too, no wonder you got a big smile from Chris and a chat with Colin. xx

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    1. Thank you Joan xxx
      It really was a fun day out, just a shame about the intense cold come 3.30. The BBC sticker definitely made it official! One of Pink Floyd lives around this way too, as does another rather big name which I will pm you about ;)
      I have never liked speaking in front of people, I get so nervous once I realise the attention is on me. My biggest fear is they would make me stand up to ask my question.
      I too have Victorian style ankle boots but as I don't buy leather they aren't good in the rain so I shall have to try and coat them in something.

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    2. I didn't think of that, synthetic shoes can be hit and miss when it comes to being rainproof can't they, except for wellies and you can't wear them every day on the off chance it will rain! xx

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    3. There isn't much you can do to weatherproof them either, but hey ho. I do have glittery wellies which will do if it is raining, but otherwise, I'm a bit stuck!
      xxx

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  9. How fab to meet your idols but incredibly nerve wracking to ask a question. I met Michael Lang (the guy who organised Woodstock) a few years ago and couldn't speak to him, just hugged him like a woman demented. xxx

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    1. It's always nerve wracking! When I met Arthur Brown from the Crazy World of .. I was speechless, I literally couldn't speak and he seemed to pick up on my shyness so turned on the charm of which he has oodles (the ladies were absolutely swarming around him)!

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  10. i love your outfit, great mix of colours! sounds like an exciting day out-and how cool to meet and speak to some musical heroes!

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