Just about the time Dire Straits became a global phenomenon selling a gazillion copies of Brothers In Arms with a daft song about custom kitchen deliveries I had succeeded in achieving a new all time financial low.
While Sting and Mark Knopfler were experimenting with cutting-edge computer cartoon characters bisected with graph paper squares that boogied across their chiselled and tanned faces I was trying my hand at seeing how far I could make a bag of Safeway basic porridge last.
After dinner smokes were rolled from fourth generation butts bulked out with dried nettle leaves.
Aside from hair-loss, I had little in common with Sting and Mark Knopfler.
No, looking back on my life now, I’d say my career has run in parallel with that of Bob Dylan. I got to meet him once and I told him so.
It dawned on me, as I held my concert ticket that even Bob Dylan has to sleep somewhere. And the answer my friend, was obvious.
I drove down to the Royal Bath Hotel where the concierge was dressed in a pink Sgt. Pepper suit. He looked one way and I went the other. The receptionist was busy on the phone. Like all hotel lobbies, this one contained pot plants. Except here the plants were as tall as trees with leaves the size of elephant ears.
Without stopping to think about what I was doing, I shimmied up the nearest tree and waited.
How long passed in this way? I can’t say. At some point I must have drifted off listening to the soporific quality of the long, dusty silences as I traced the patterns in the Turkish rug. Sometimes the clack of shoes on the marbled tiles. Nodding off in the top of a tree is not a good idea. I would definitely advise against it.
But after a while I heard the whoosh of the lift doors opening and a white ten-gallon hat appeared above tight black trousers and the coolest pair of snakeskin boots this side of town.
I couldn’t help but appreciate the irony of the situation. Bob had written a song about going into the lobby of a strange hotel. But now I was in his place and he was the king. I saw straight away that he had pencilled on a moustache. I told him that I liked it and he said ‘thanks man’ as he signed the record sleeve I handed him.
Back outside, pleased to have accomplished my mission, I took a drag on my tobacco free cigarette.
Like Dylan, I had gone electric.