Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Reach Out... He'd Be There

Its a bit like talking to oneself, this whole 'blogging' thing... altogether very weird.

But, it sort of occupies me during the downtimes I'm currently enduring with regard to Project 'X'. Today's emails have all been sent, the responses are awaited upon, today's slug of research has been done until I'm boss-eyed from squinting at the computer screen and, so what do I do..? I write... more.

Shit, what a sad life I have.

Long ago - when just a teen, I'd escape every couple of weekends (Sundays to be exact) from school. My parents would come and collect my brother and I and we'd head home for Sunday lunch and that miserable wait until it was time to get back into the parental voiture and head off to school. Boarding school was a bit like that - you'd long to escape for the day or the short half-term break and then agonise about one's return.

And, the only upside was that, during those miles ridden in the back-seat of the car, Alan Freeman and Pick Of The Pops would be transistorised into my teenage-ear. Oh joy... who would be Number six this Sunday evening, what would the new entries into the Top Ten be?

Often times it'd be something that didn't much appeal but, fairly frequently, my young ears would quiver in excitement as something so entirely new would brave the crackling airwaves and I'd sit, mesmerised over three minutes thirty seconds or so of... glorious sound.

That first earful of the Four Tops 'Reach Out..." was one such. Its pretty much impossible to put into any vocabulary the effect it had on me - profound is an over-used adjective, it comes close but doesn't get anywhere near at the same time. And, what that song - among many others did was channel my own, pubescent, thinking... this was a business I just had to be in... somehow, some place, some-when.

As luck (and I mean luck) was to have it... thats what ultimately came about... from collecting records with my hard-earned to actually being paid to be a miniscule cog in the wheel of that industry. Oh joy, a little like entering the sweet shop and being told you could eat all you wished. Yet, i never once grew sick of indulging. God willing, I never shall.

From the sublime to the ridiculous - fast forward many, many years.

By this time, I'm working as head of publicity for Arista in the UK. Clive Davis has recently signed a group who (amongst few others) actually deserved the status of... legends. I have to meet these chap, talk to them about their forthcoming interview schedules, photo-sessions and so forth and I'm quaking.

I walk into the room. There at the end, staring out of ther window is a large black guy in a suit, broad shouldered and slightly greying. He turns.

'Good afternoon', he says, 'You must be Neil. My name is Levi Stubbs from the Four Tops'.

Levi breathed his last just a few days ago - just like true love that always endures, their music will live on for always.

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