I’ve met my fair share of famous people in my time, mainly musicians, although I did give Princess Diana the wrong directions to a street in Maylebone on one occasion, but that’s another story. The meeting that sticks most in my mind was with someone slightly less stellar in terms of celebrity, but no less oustanding as a talent – Mike Batt, the man behind the music behind The Wombles. In 1998 Columbia Records re-released the classic 1970’s anthem Remember You’re A Womble, and I decided it would be a great idea to have the composer personally deliver the record to an early-morning DJ at the radio station I worked for. The night before the event I begin to have doubts, however, worried that my desire to burst in to the on-air studio dressed in a seven-foot orange costume is rather at odds with the station’s strict alternative music policy. Eventually prudence gets the better of me, and I leave a message at the PR company cancelling the promotion.
The next morning I arrive at the office to find an extremely irate Mike Batt sitting in the reception area demanding to know why I’m two hours late and why I haven’t called to say I won’t be on time. The PR company hasn’t relayed my message, and he isn’t happy. What’s more, he’s been waiting for these two hours in costume and now I’m having a stand-up row with a highly successful musician dressed as a children’s TV character with a rather forlorn looking Womble head discarded angrily at his feet.
I tell you, I still wake up in a cold sweat.