Tuesday, 26 May 2009

I watch The Who

So, I’m in the Arsenal Emirates stadium for the Teenage Cancer Trust fundraising dinner. Matt Lucas, of Little Britain, is the compere. He’s very funny, and a proper Gooner. The entire Arsenal first team is seated on a table just over there, looking trim. I get to meet Cesc Fabregas and have my picture taken with him.
On the table next to ours I shoot the breeze with the wonderful Feargal Sharkey, who is singlehandedly taking on the Government about protecting musicians’ rights against evil file sharers who think that it’s OK to pay for Mars Bars but not music. He and Andy Gill played an acoustic version of Teenage Kicks to confused UK MP’s in Parliament last week. I hope this helped change a few minds, as incredibly, it’s illegal in the UK to stand up and play a song in a pub or club without written police permission given in advance! You have to submit your name, address & , sinisterly, ethnic origin, before you can so much as whisper “Desperadoes”. How will you know you’ll be that pissed in advance? The law’s designed to stop the wrong kind of people ( i.e musicians or anyone else) singing the wrong kind of songs ( i.e any ) in the wrong places ( i.e anywhere) . Stasi-land or what?
Over there is the great Arsene Wenger sitting next to Roger Daltrey, who’s very committed to the Charity. The invite says that The Who will perform a set. I think this is a joke of sorts but it’s not. Roger & Pete Townsend hit the stage & play some of the greatest music ever written. The set is acoustic with 3 fine muso’s in support, one on stand-up bass and the others on Spanish guitars. Roger’s voice is as magisterial as ever, and is better now than ever. There are few signature voices like this. Pete’s guitar work is brilliant, a privilege to be so close to. . His lyrics inspired me as a teenager , and I still know more or less every song on Tommy off by heart. As a lifelong fan I can’t resists taking pix and a little bit of video on my mobile. Once a fan, always a fan. Thanks, guys.
Later I get to meet Arsene. I have a photo to prove it. He is incredibly nice and says to me“ You know the Who? They are very big in France”. Sensational evening!

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