Steve's Online Diary
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DIARY 28/08/08End of June: lunch at the Express Newspaper building, Lower Thames Street, in the exec. suite of proprietor and erstwhile drummer Richard Desmond, with Sunday Express editor Martin Townshend. Martin was a rock music writer way back and our paths had crossed, fleetingly and impersonally, several times over the years. Martin wonders whether I might have a topic to write on for his paper. I feel flattered, being offered the chance to be a hack once more. Trouble is, while I feel strongly about many issues, I wonder whether airing it all in public is a good idea. To the Barbican later for the Scottish National Theatre Company's "Black Watch". A stupendous, emotional piece. Power all over the stage. Real power from pretend soldiers. Hard to accept at times that they are actors. Iraq and back. Bad life. Brilliant play. Faultless production. Billy Sloan recommended it to me, and he is clearly a good judge, as he also thought the Abba musical rubbish! That's my kind of pal.
Two concerts in, Southampton and Liverpool, and back to the airport. Out of John Lennon to Nice, for the Monaco Grand Prix. Partied Saturday night on a cool Sunseeker in the harbour, even sang a few songs with Eddie Jordan on kit. Stayed in San Remo, near the France/Italy border, driven back and forth several times by Sebastian, who scared three kinds of mulch out of me, roaring up the backside of any vehicle ahead, squeezing through gaps that looked impossible. He was too fast for the public highway, and showed no interest in the comfort of his passengers, so you'd have to mark him down as a poor driver, wouldn't you. Monday morning, dropped off at airport, I asked him what he did for a full-time job, as the chauffeuring could only have been for the Grand Prix weekend. "I'm a test driver for Lamborghini". I'd told him on Sunday that we'd come to watch a motor race, not take part in one. Leaving him, I was a bit lost for words.
DIARY 21/05/08Fiddling with the set-list. And so far in advance. But need some r 'n r. Saw The Stones' movie, Scorsese's "Shine A Light" at the comfy Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge. One for fans, essentially. I wanted more interview footage. They were amusing young guys, all of them. But they rock in that small theatre.
DIARY 04/04/08Can't keep away from Broadcasting House: 26th, record Tracks Of My Years for the Ken Bruce radio 2 show; 28th, record interview with Steve Wright. Chatting with Ken, I find myself getting a little shaky, searching on the hoof for the perfect word or phrase to describe my feelings about some of the wonderful records in my list. They ask for 15 titles and whittle it down to their own choice of 10. Don't hear the tracks at the time of the chat, just discuss them cold. I realise how deeply some of them have affected my life. Back to the 60s with The Beatles and The Hollies and you remember the mates, and the girls, the fun and the growing up; the loss of some of your innocence. And Millwall, and the unbeaten home record coming to an untidy end at the hands of Plymouth Argyle, bringing with it what might have been the first-ever pitch invasion, at least since 1923 and The White Horse Wembley Final, where the poor lucky buggers mostly had little choice. Ken keeps it flowing because he likes music, he respects musicians and he has a great knowledge of his subject. As does Steve Wright: but with him it's all done impromptu, it seems. Never know where it's going to go, and going with his erratic and comedic flow is best. Faith is restored at these times. Hearing A Friend For Life at 8.45 one morning last autumn, when Johnnie Walker sat in for Wogan, restored some faith, too. Make Me Smile is no albatross, but it's a relief to hear more recent tracks aired.
DIARY 19/03/08Nothing shocks me anymore. But it came as a surprise to learn the BBC are dropping Sounds Of The 70s from their schedule. Been eight years, I reckon. I enjoy the research, and it's the closest I've come to having a proper job in 35 years, which hasn't done me any harm. Never say never, and Lewis Carney, who called to deliver the news, promised it hasn't actually been assigned to the annals of BBC History. We agreed that if and when the Beeb fancy re-incarnating the show, he'd get back to me. I'll miss it. Truth is, I sound like a mine of information on-air, but really I cram. Learn it all from copious reference books as I write, and most gets forgotten pretty soon after. Presenting radio is not unlike performing, which comes easy to me; always reaching out to perfect the impression of being relaxed. Recorded last show, for March 27th broadcast, last Friday. Then took in Peter Hall's re-vamp of Noel Coward's The Vortex at The Apollo. All that '20s flapper banter sounds dated, and the lines are not funny now. But it comes clamouring to life in the 3rd, last, act as the tragedy unfolds; as Felicity Kendall's Florence struggles to accept a) that she is not immortal, after all, and b) her errant son Nicky has a serious cocaine habit. Plus, he is gay! That role looks difficult, but Dan Stevens is terrific. For me, Phoebe Nicholls steals it.
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