Monday, 30 April 2007

A Welshman, five Irishmen, an American and a Scot

I'm in a greasy yellow cab in New York with Jeremy McWilliams, the Grand Prix motorcycle racer, on our way to see Sean Lennon, whose gig will shortly prove to be worse than crap.

From Sean’s demeanour, I imagine his mother might have brought him up to believe that by merely addressing a microphone, magic would somehow tumble forth. It doesn’t, of course, and it didn’t, obviously. Although when he asked me at the after-show what I thought, I told him, as you might imagine, that it was great.

Genius, it seems, is not transmitted through the genes. When Marilyn Munro was introduced to Einstein she is reputed to have said, "Just think, with my looks and your brain, what a wonderful child we might produce." To which Einstein is reputed to have answered, " My dear, it would be just as likely to have my looks and your brain."

Anyway, the cab driver, his eyes addressing mine via the rear view mirror, says, "You in the music business?" to which I answer, "Yeah, kind of," although McWilliams contradicts me by blurting, "No, we're in motorcycle racing," which makes him feel more important than me (he being the star and me being just an oiler-of-wheels) but his response is going to mean less than nothing to a cab driver from Queens.

McWilliams yelps with pain as I put a powerful 'horse bite' on the muscle on the underside of his thigh. Unbelievably, he will blame his poor performance at the Japanese Grand Prix a few days hence on that, as he sees it, unprovoked attack.

To be honest, Jeremy’s answer is the true one at that moment, but I spent a lot of time in New York during an earlier career in the music business and I know to tell a yellow cab driver only what he expects to hear.

To prove the rule, the driver ignores McWilliams and persists with, “I know you, don’t I? You got a lovely voice. I’m sure I heard it in the movies.”
I think, “Oh really, a minute ago I was in the fucking music business.”
“Oh, thanks,” I say, hoping to end it there.
“Yeah, you sound just like that actor.”
“Which actor?”
“That Irish actor.”
“But I’m Welsh. Which Irish actor?”
“Hell, I don’t know his name. The Irish actor.”
“Peter O’Toole.”
“Richard Harris.”
“Gabriel Byrne.”
“Albert Finney.” (He’s not Irish. I’m getting desperate.)
“No! No! No! You know, James Bond. 0-0-7.”
“Ah-ha, Pierce Brosnan!”
“NO! The original James Bond.”
“Er, Roger Moore?” (I’m guessing. Isn’t Moore an Irish name?)
“Sean Connery?”
“Yeah! That’s the guy.”
“But he’s Scottish!”

The driver doesn’t hear my last pronouncement. He’s just delighted to put the wrong name to his wrong perception. Wales would mean less to him even than motorcycle racing.

McWilliams, meanwhile, is pissing himself laughing. He is Irish.

Click here to visit The Red Dragonhood

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Some people call me the space cowboi

The brilliant news is that I’ve made the Welsh Space Agency’s shortlist to become a Cymrunaut! How cool is that?

Unlike Dennis Tito, Mark Shuttleworth, Greg Olsen, Anousheh Ansari and Charles Simonyi, the five intrepid 'space tourists' who have boldly been up before me, I don’t have to pay $20 million for the privilege of being fired into space and I don’t have to wait until Soyuz TMA-13 blasts off in 2008 either. Oh no, it’s only going to cost me a box of Chocolate Limes and two sticks of Lambert and Butler King Size.

Click here to dock with the Welsh Space Agency

Click here to check out The Red Dragonhood