Written by Music


There’s nothing like having something really built up, only for you to be let down at the last moment. I feel a bit of a heel for saying this, but that’s a reasonably accurate reflection of me earlier this evening.
I was at the evening do for the Radio Academy’s Production ’07 conference. After a day of discussing issues relevant to the radio industry (I really hate the fact that what we do is an “industry”, but there you are), some awards are handed out and some musicians “play” for us.
I didn’t attend the conference proper – mainly because it’s not entirely relevant to what I do for a living. In any case, I was too busy summarising the Future of Radio. But Mediaguardian had a helpful blog of events.
The awards include best pluggers (national and regional – they’re the people who try to get radio stations to actually play their clients’ music) as well as industry achievement awards. The John Peel award, for example, went to Mark Story of Emap. He’s been in radio for donkeys’ years, and was the first programme director I experienced at Virgin Radio.
We also had music from Sophie Ellis Bextor (impossibly thin, great voice, and woefully fake music-playing by her band), Gareth Gates (you can tell this is a class affair can’t you? I’ve got to hand it to him though, he can sing), one of the Sugababes who’s gone solo (not Mutya – buy Siobhán Donaghy), and Simon Webbe (ex-member of boyband Blue, but – and I amaze myself for saying this – a really good singer with a charismatic stage presence).
But the key award of the evening, which was hosted ably by Richard Bacon, was the Lifetime Achievement Award. It slowly became clear that it was going to go to Sir Paul McCartney!
I was standing near the front of the stage in the small and intimate confines of the Café de Paris, and was beginning to get annoyed with myself that my camera’s batteries were flat, and in any case, it was in my bag in the cloakroom. This was going to be great. Sir Paul in our presence!
The eulogy was long and great. The wonderful music he’s made over the decades. The crowd was hushed – which is always hard at these things when there’s a free bar.
You know where I’m going with this don’t you?
A friend from work pushed forward with his camera in hand – he wanted a picture… (copyright free with his Creative Commons Flickr licence).
And then came the letdown.
Sir Paul wasn’t here tonight. He’d missed all our talented musical guests, and sent a message instead.
What a letdown! What a disappointment!
I’d actually been annoyed that The Geoff Show was off air this week and Geoff wasn’t going to be able to see this (there was the small matter that Geoff should have been on-air around the time of the award presentation, but that’s a mere detail).
It didn’t matter – Sir Paul had been unable to make it. He’d sent a note which the presenter read out, but the disappointment in the room was palpable.
[I should, I suppose note, that I did very literally nearly run into him once. It was when he’d come in to be interviewed by Pete & Geoff. I came out of the lift, pretty much unaware that a rock superstar was in the building, and noticed a man who seemed somehow familiar, coming out of the studio and ready to get into the lift. It actually took me a few seconds to clock who I’d just seen. I think all I did was smile – it’s a safe fall-back for just about any situation, after all. But it was a small brush with fame, nonetheless!]