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Plenty on Wikipedia and on IMDd.  Those two websites are great for the date and place of birth, as well as listing the TV, films, stage and radio I've worked on.  What they don't do is describe what it was like working on those productions, alongside the wonderful and sometimes not-so-wonderful personalities involved. They also don't divulge the highs and lows of over 50 years of marriage, bringing up three kids as well as emerging grandchildren. If you're interested, Learning My Lines (my autobiography), Echoes (my first novel) are for sale through my website, as is an archive of my blogs from 2009-2013.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Giants

I loathe that phrase ‘Standing on the Shoulders of Giants’. It has been used in that pop world, I believe even in the well respected and revered corridors of the BBC, the much lauded Melvyn Bragg even called one of his Thursday morning forty five minute yawn shows, by the same name.

I’ve never stood on anyone’s shoulders. I’ve stood in dole queues, at bars, at football matches, bus stops, school gates, yes, I’m sure we’ve all done a lot of standing. 

But being in this ‘glitzy’ world of show biz, all wonderful and frothy, I’ve stood in rooms and ‘breathed the same air‘ as a lot of legends (not stood on them).

In the ’60’s the streets of London seemed to be teeming with potential ‘legends’. Everyone was as thin as a pencil and girls wore skirts so short that imagination went up in smoke. Once Biba and the like opened, childhood went down the drain. And it’s continued at a pace ever since. In 1962, travelling by tube to rehearsals of a telly series called Taxi, starring Sid James and Bill Owen, I was accosted by a strange looking young man called Andrew Loog Oldham, who gave me his card, and said if I wanted to make a record to contact him. 

I went to see see him, his office was crowded, I waited got bored and left. It reminded me of when Toni Meehan, the Shadow’s drummer, took me into the the Savile Row headquarters of the Beatles. It was teeming with people, all using the phones, smoking and generally pretending that they were a part of the great groups emporium. No doubt that these days they are very likely to be shuffling around on Zimmer frames or are six feet under.

But. I often think, if I’d put pen to paper on a contract in Oldham’s office and if I’d have known that a few months later that he’d been sharing a cab with John Lennon and asking him if he and Paul had got a song for a group that he wanted to promote. The song was I Wanne be Your Man which turned out to be the hit song that got the Stones Rolling. Missed out there.

If  I had signed a contract with Oldham I could have been a pop star, had to have grown my hair very long and snarled my way through songs. In the Oldham style I would have to become a Mick Jagger clone. Would this moody me have ever been allowed to do Jackanory? Would Liam Gallagher have wanted my autograph if I hadn’t done Mr Benn?

The Stones got rid of Andrew Loog Oldham very early, I didn’t sign with him, they haven’t done too badly and nor have I. 

But Mick’s still got his hair and I haven’t. Yes, I’d certainly swop my barren patch with his voluminous thatch. 
Comments

Ann Wilson(Saturday, July 27 13 05:41 pm BST)
One consolation Ray is that you don't look as wrinkled as Mick!


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