The great and the good of Black Country and Birmingham have waltzed into Weekend Towers over the years.
Frank – Mr. Skinner to you – dazzled us with drinking stories and a long-standing devotion to the best soccer team in the world. Noddy told us that Dave lives in a world of his own and when we spoke to Dave we came to the same conclusion.
Ozzy, bless, lay down on the floor in his own cigar room and started doing sit-ups for us. One, and two, and three, and four. By the time it got to 1000, it all looked reasonably surreal.
Beverley, on the other hand, personified fame. Fun, professional, charismatic, and shimmering with some sort of otherworldly sparkle, we lost our hearts to the woman called Mrs. Knight.
There is one, however, who ran away. Plant. Mr. Plante. Robert the Rock Star Factory. The man who came from Kidderminster and devoted himself to Dingle Wanderers, who was hailed by Rolling Stone readers as the greatest singer of all time and who ranks alongside Mick Jagger, Roger Daltry and Freddie Mercury in the pantheon of the great has always escaped us. .
We stood outside a pub in Bishop’s Castle – it’s in Shropshire, don’t worry, and no bishop lives there – as he sang. We’ve reached out to all the local venues he’s played – and does my boy like to play in local venues – to see if we can have a chat. We tried his label, his public relations, his management, his public relations … just about all the professional links available. We have the cell phone numbers of the people he’s played with, but we’ve always followed rock star protocols by not trying to go through the back door. The front, unfortunately, has never been closed.
Until now. Doing the right thing means we’re not about to reveal our source, but let’s say someone offered an entry – I know, there’s no way anyone, including Mr. Plant, deduce an identity from this manifest imprecision.
We went about our business, which involved spending time with someone. The conversation turned to ‘what are you doing’ and as the person told some interesting and slightly salacious stories we talked about harnessing QWERTY keyboards for a living and talking to Frank and Bev, Noddy and Dave , Jaspar and Ozzy.
“Have you ever interviewed Planty? Asked the person whose identity will not be revealed?
“No. He’s the one who ran away.
“I have his number. And, remarkably, he had. “I would like to read this. He lives in – INTENTIONALLY DELETED, OF COURSE – do you want to call him? “
And, bold as copper, the number that has eluded this writer for twenty years has been offered. Years of chasing PR and managers, sites and marketers – and all the while I just had to walk out the front door and talk to someone.
It took three nanoseconds to respond. “That’s great. Let me think about it,” I said, knowing full well that I would never want the number and that if the person gave it to me, I would delete it from my phone. Because it’s not. a way to make contact.
If our posts don’t reach the great Mr. Plant – a perfect man in every way except his love for the Dingle Wanderers – then we’ll wait until he does, or talk to someone who does. Good.
Our questions are prepared. We’ll be asking questions about the King Edward VI Grammar School for Boys, his admiration for Robert Johnson, his love for Elvis Presley, and why he chose the Wolves over the Baggies. Then there’s the first job at Woolworth’s, his work in Band of Joy, the Led Zeppelin little business, and his remarkable solo career – we still love Fate of Nations. There’s Page and Plant, Alison Krauss, Sensational Space Shifters, and the remarkable Saving Grace.
And we are sure that when we go through the proper channels again it will be an unpolished but firm.
So it’s funny, isn’t it, that after two decades of hunting the number that has always been at the top of our wishlist has fallen to our knees – only so that we decide not to take it. ?