Tuesday, 12 October 2010

personal jesus

Some of the more astute amongst you may have realised that 93%* of the titles I choose are song titles. I was going to choose "No More Heroes" but it was far too obvious.

However, let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late - as the thief kindly spoke**. Many years ago, and I'm talking last Century, my best school mate (you know who you are) and I wrote to our then current hero  and - this is almost unbelievable - he wrote back.  Not a Beatles' style photocopied response or whatever, but a personalised hand-written letter (I'm aware that I teach young people who probably have no idea what the phrase "hand-written letter" may mean). Believe it or not - and I'm sure you do, I still have that letter.

Can you imagine the frisson of excitement that that very artifact may have caused to a couple of adolescent lads? Anyhow, Peter Hammill of Van der Graaf Generator (for it was he) wrote back to a couple of 15 year old Stevenage scrotes and we were over the moon about it.  Not for us the pop stars of the day, but we had  personal correspondence with a shooting star within the fickle firmament of 1970's music (anyone could have become a star - Dave Cousins or Roger Chapman anyone?).

So what has this got to do with the price of fish?  Well, nothing really, but this morning I had a slight frisson of excitement return when I received a personal email from none other than Nigel Slater (I'm fairly sure one of my readers will be impressed). I had written to him when I was bored on Sunday evening about his article on Sloe Gin in this week's Observer - I wanted him to be aware of the abundance of sloes on the East Coast (I know he visits the area often).

I don't want to come across as some sort of adolescent (immature) hero worshipper but it is pleasing to know that occasionally one's heroes do read their mail and do still answer personally.  Okay, not the two page hand-written response PH gave us all those years ago, but an acknowledgment at least.

Otherwise, Mark Gatiss's History of Horror is worth a look and it looks like his version of H G Wells's The First Men In The Moon - both BBC4 - is well worth a look too. Also on BBC4 on Friday evening the Songwriter's Circle features John Hiatt and Joe Ely (and, unfortunately Lyle Lovett).  But Hiatt alone will be worth the admission price.

What's that? "Freeview"? Oh okay, so no admission price, then.

* given that 83.2% 0f statistics are made up on the spot . . .
** page 374 NOT 377 of Bob Dylan Lyrics 1962-1985 - oh god, is OCD contagious?


Andy Wright said...

Well, well, well......Nigel Slater wrote to you. Never had a letter (or E mail) from the great man(although he alone is responsible for a number of the meals served in this house!) but I WAS a co -recipient of a wonderful hand written missive from the outstanding Mr. H. (Given the game away now!) Happy, wonderful, exciting and memorable days. Nearly 40 years ago and I miss every aspect. (well, except certain thugs that taught at the local Grammar School that thee and me attended.)

Great post!. I love the way you write and before the Autumn turns to Winter, let's get together.

'October taps my window .....'

Dave Leeke said...

Gosh, 40 years! Turn your back for a few moments and the time just slips away. But they were good times - the World was a bigger and brighter one then it seems to me.

Good to hear from you and before "damp November makes me sneeze" let's meet. Half Moon or Jester? - after half term is best for me!

Andy Wright said...

It's the Half Moon after Half ter.

Andy Wright said...

Sorry, should have said 'It's the Half Moon after Half Term' !

Dave Leeke said...

I think I guessed that! I am already looking forward to it - however I am taking longer to recover from heavy weekends as the next post may suggest. Still, we were quite sensible last time. For the first time in 40 years!