September 2, 2008

Gary Glitter Asked Me Out to Lunch

I've got two confessions to make. I once kissed Gary Glitter. It was 48 years ago and he was called Paul Raven then. Someone I knew in Wallington, where I come from, used to arrange for emerging pop stars to strut their stuff at the local Public Hall. Most of them were only too pleased to do these gigs on their road to success. Paul Raven was booked and, I have to say, did a creditable show. You won't believe this, but my friend and I actually walked - yes, walked - with him to the station after the concert and saw him on the last train to Victoria. Not many rising pop stars had cars in those days. As we waited for the train to come in, we gave him a kiss. He even asked us out to lunch. We both worked in the West End and it would have been easy to meet up. I didn't go, but I seem to remember my friend did. We weren't exactly overwhelmed, but we quite liked him. He was good company and he was handsome in those days, too. Looks a bit weird now, but he'd probably think I do, too. My hair is fast disappearing again. Bits of it fly off in a high wind and we've had plenty of that lately. Strands waft tantalisingly past my face and disappear into the ether, but at least I haven't got a ridiculous white bunch hanging down the back of my neck like Glitter.

We often saw bands at local gigs who would become famous later on - like the Stones, who I saw at Richmond, and Eden Kane (remember him?), his brother Peter Sarstedt and the late Screaming Lord Sutch. I also knew the Kipling family and Mervyn Peake, the great writer of Gormenghast.

In these days of the celebrity culture practically anyone can become famous, but singers were just treated as one of the crowd then. When Paul Raven became famous as Gary Glitter in the Seventies, he'd changed so much I didn't even recognise him until someone told me his real name. Now he looks like an old man.

I said I had two confessions; here's the other one. I think Take That are slipping a teeny bit off the top rung of the ladder. Only a bit, you understand. I still think Shine is one of the best pop songs for a long time, but now I have to admit I've got The Feeling, so Turn It Up. It's their latest single. I love it. I've left loads of comments on all the Youtube videos I can safely watch without staying up all night and I could listen to it over and over again. It's got a whimsical piano bit in the middle which just gets me every time. And the weird 'Ahh-woo-aahs' are great. You're probably thinking I should get out more and I would probably agree with you, but at the moment I don't want to. It's just me and The Feeling - until next week, that is!

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