It was starting to look like my dream summer. The sun was out … for a while. I’d been a guest on Test Match Special and I was going to introduce the lead singer of Supertramp on stage at the Cornbury Festival….
I have always been a huge Supertramp fan. They are my guilty pleasure, often featuring in my ever-changing Desert Island Discs choices. I’ve managed to slip a Supertramp track into almost every TV series that I’ve made. So, when I heard that Roger Hodgson, the voice and songwriter behind the band, was headlining at my local festival, I knew I had to act fast. You see I am not alone in my love of the “Tramp”. Other local celebrities such as Jeremy Clarkson are keen on them, and I didn’t want to be gazumped. I rang the organisers and asked whether I could introduce Hodgson on stage? They seemed fine with this and I started to prepare my intro.
How die-hard would the crowd be? If I kicked off with “Bonsoir Cornbury” instead of “Bonsoir Paris” would they get the reference? Maybe I should share my Supertramp story with the crowd? Just a brief 30/40-minute talk before the band came on. Perhaps I should just keep it short and sweet: “Hello Cornbury… here’s Roger Hodgson….” No, too throwaway.
Come the big day and I got to the festival early as I was doing a talk about my new book (Here Comes The Clown – really rather good – Dom Joly) on the QI stage. I always get a bit nervous when appearing as myself. I’m fine dressing up as a giant squirrel but standing up as “me” is hell. I self-medicated with a bottle of champagne, and was thrilled to find a packed venue for my talk which went rather well.
Once that was over I could concentrate on my introductory duties. The festival boss came over and said that Roger’s manager would like to have a chat. She was a Californian earth-mother type who informed me that Roger was in a tantric state until showtime so could I talk to her about what I wanted to do. She had clearly Googled me, and was convinced I was going to “prank” her charge. After three minutes of listening to me babble on about how much I loved the band, the dynamic shifted. She obviously now felt that I was some rabid stalker and was wondering whether I should be anywhere near the great man lest it should unbalance his chakras.
I checked the set list, just in case he was going to make the terrible mistake of playing new, solo material, but it was all the Supertramp hits. We were good to go. I wandered off to kill two hours and might have done a tad more self-medicating. Whatever, I suddenly realised that it was showtime. I walked fast round the back of the tents towards the backstage area, and had nearly got there when I heard a screechy radio presenter shout over the public address: “Who’s ready for some more live music?” And the first bars of “Take The Long Way Home” echo across Great Tew. Not for the first time in my life, I had missed my big moment.Reuse content