Sunday, 3 February 2008

Rock-tography, If You Will ...

So, it's February already. And it's the 3rd, just to dispel any thoughts that I may only be writing this on the 28th of each month - something which a couple of you pointed out. Actually, I faffed around so much doing the introduction page that from the date I first wrote it (27th Dec) to the date I published it (28th Jan) was exactly a month! Nations waged war, a million stripy blue plastic bags went to landfill, Christmas decorations were boxed and atticed and, oh yes, my wife gave birth.

My mum's birthday yesterday. I take everyone out for a meal at Zizzi and we give mum a digital camera. It prompts the usual response that anything modern gets from her, "Oh how extravagant..." Massive pause. "Will I understand how it works?" There is no easy answer to this - she is always surprised when I explain to her how to operate the Sky remote control and claims to be hearing the information for the first time. I hope she uses the camera, I really do; she takes so many pictures and seems to be the sole justification for Boots keeping their developing service going. It's now almost a pound to get a reprint from a negative! That's like her insisting on buying vinyl albums in Berwick St instead of paying a fiver for the CD. Of course there's something lovely about old fashioned prints, just like there is vinyl; I still use 35mil film in my SLR camera just as I will occasionally splash out for a beautifully packaged album in Selectadisc (should I buy the Nick Drake vinyl reissues, by the way?). No offence to Esther's beauty and photogenic quality but mum's personal paparazzi of our newborn is so constant that surely something more economical is a better idea.

So anyway, we're sitting in Zizzi and I'm enjoying the Spaghetti Polpette (which is still repeating on me like an episode of the Two Ronnies) when my phone goes off: it's Jack from the a band from Glasgow that we're looking after. I take the call and walk away from our table. I tell Jack I'm interrupting a birthday meal with my mum and family to take his call. Jack, your classic frontman - possessed of a charm that lets him get away with cheeky frankness, says "Well, Ben, I don't know whether to be impressed with your dedication to the band or disgusted at the lack of respect for your family ..." And so we have a discussion which quickly covers tour plans, the single release, and possibly meeting in Glasgow on the 14th Feb when our other band supports Babyshambles. "What about Valentines' Day, though Jack," I ask, "surely you'll be out candlelighting it in some eatery?” "Nah," says Jack, "my girlfriend's decided that Valentine's is just a marketing scam - isn't that right, darling!?" I hear him shout over to her. In the background I make out a distant, resigned, "Whatever."

That's the thing about pop music - it seems to prioritise itself; it eats everything in its path. I leave my septuagenarian mum on her birthday and spend 10 minutes on the phone, Jack considers a night out with his stablemates instead of a Valentine's evening - not to speak of me considering going up just when my wife and I should be having a celebratory Valentines night toasting our newborn.

Later, when we're having coffee in a tearoom. I need to make another call. My good friend Retts has gone Swindon with her cameras (both digital and 35mil, photography fans) to shoot the first proper photo session with our girl band. Fine weather was forecast and outside in London, the sky has certainly been blue all day. It bodes well. "How was it?" I ask
"Pretty good, "she says, "Apart from the fog."
"Oh no!"
"And the snow."
"You're joking!"
"Nope. Oh, and they came dressed like The Wiggles."
It turns out that Retts is pretty confident that she's got some good pictures and the band - who are, it must be said, very photogenic - were really cooperative and friendly.
I speak to my partner - not my wife, my business partner, Charlie and tell him the good and the band news. We managed to laugh about it, which is, I think, the point of business partners. We finally got this band to sign the management contract the day before so we're both on a bit of a high. By the way, in case you're picturing us in swanky lawyer's office surrounded by gold discs and photographs of the grinning lawyer with his arm around surprised-looking celebrities, wipe that image from your mind now. We signed it in the kitchen of the keyboard player's parents' terraced house, looking our on her dad's shed surrounded by family photographs - her mum as a girl in black and white, her parents' wedding day like a still from Life On Mars ...


  1. "Nope. Oh, and they came dressed like The Wiggles."

    How many times was the "Wake up Jeff" gag used?

  2. My dad's the very same with technology.

    'RIGHT click? I've never done that before.'

    Every bloody time.