THE DAY YOU MEET YOUR HERO
F R I D A Y, 1 5 S E P T
After tea I rang up Pye Studios. It was the first step in the most exciting set of events that has ever happened to me.
They said Polnareff was recording today, so I rang Anya and persuaded her to ring them back, and ask if it was in England or France. She did, with rather frightening results. He’s in England.
From the parents' bedroom I rang up the Knightsbridge. I was terribly scared. Our nice lady answered, thank goodness. “I’ll put you through,” she said. “This is it,” I said to Chump, in the most serious voice of my life. On came a woman who spoke French. I asked if I could attend a recording session, and she said I should ring at six – he’d be in then!!! I gasped ‘thank you’, and for the next quarter of an hour paced the dining-room - and the study - feeling staggered. No one could believe it. Chump was as frantic as I was.
At 10 past 6 I was talking to Michel Polnareff. It was indescribable, it was so staggering. I was amazingly calm, and he treated me, little ordinary me, as though I was a friend. I asked him if it’d be possible to go to a recording session; he said it would be “verry difficult”. The next thing he was talking about knowing me and about my letter and everything. He said, “you live in Surrey, don’t you – in a place beginning with W?” Staggered, I said, “that’s very clever of you to remember.” “Oh I have a verry good memory,” he said, and we laughed. Then he started mentioning Anya, and I told him she loved him too. It was TOO fab.
Then he said, “‘ang on” and went away. He came back and, laughing, said, “‘ang on” again. I was killing myself with joy. At last he came back. Finally, it dawned on me he was asking Anya and me to meet him at the studios – in Holland Park. It was so unexpected I didn’t know what to say. “Well, I don’t know,” I said. He kept saying, bring Anya too. Then at last I said, “well, I’m frightened – I’m frightened of seeing you.” “Oh, but that’s just stupid!” he said. “Well, it’s terribly sweet of you, we might come,” I said. “What are you doing – recording?” “No, no, we listen to the playback. There might be room in the cabin for you.”
My mouth watering and feeling too excited to speak I charged down to tell Ma and Pa about tonight. I think it was then I realised I’d have to go. I whizzed up again and rang Anya. “Anya, I’ve just had a ten-minute phone call with Polnareff.”
Then a very small voice said, “I don’t believe you.”
My mouth had a horrid taste in it and my jaws kept on watering. I got ready in just ten minutes. Ma, Chump and me leapt into the car and met Anya and Anna-Marie at the end of Delta Road. (It was a pity Chump and A-M had to come too, but it would have been too mean to leave them.)
By the time we reached London I felt awful; Lansdowne Studios came all to soon. Shaking we got out. We went in, and wandered down some spooky stairs, until we came to a huge red door with a sign ‘STUDIOS. NO ENTRY.’ We could faintly hear music and knocked. Nobody answered. It was like a dream. We found another entrance, down more stairs, and we were told to wait. Then, before we knew it, this gaily clad figure in tight orange trousers, a mini turquoise jumper and dark glasses came along. Almost with relief I thought: another fan. And then it struck me – it was him. He said, “It must be you,” and, “my hair has changed” (he must have realised we didn’t recognise him).
I was terribly disappointed, I must admit. Maybe it was the hair and glasses. He said it wasn’t possible to fit us in the cabin, which was a blow. But we chatted for about ten minutes! We asked lots of questions, he signed our records, and he scribbled a quick picture for each of us of “la poupee qui fait non”!
He’s so tiny, it struck us all. About 1″ taller than me and as thin as a rake. His hair was curly and foul compared to usual, he was wearing dark glasses, and as if that wasn’t enough, he was smoking a cigarette. He didn’t look his shy little self with his fab cow eyes. I don’t know why but I got the impression he didn’t want to see us (especially with Chump and Anna-Marie).
Then the most fab thing happened. He and two other chaps came up from the studios, discussing the music like mad. Then he said to them, why don’t we do it here? And he bent down, six feet from us, and started strumming on the guitar, and singing. I clutched Anya and said, “he’s doing this for us.” Then it was 9, we had to go. Whizzed over to the car, and Mummy drove us home.
He made time for us. He was adorable. But the phone call was more thrilling that the meeting. It doesn’t seem so staggering any more.