‘Yo, where’s all the nasty girls at!’ It’s a rhetorical question in American English, I’m told. Grammatical hokum, of course, but this is me integrating with a broader class of reader. Esoteric prose is all very well but…
What do you mean, you aren’t familiar with the words rhetorical, hokum and esoteric? Oh, it’s hopeless; I’ll just get on with recounting the Prince Tour. I’m continuing where I left off – at the Amhager Festival in Copenhagen last month. Hey, and touch the roof if u live 4 da funk..
‘You’ve had quite enough sausage already this morning,’ I said cryptically to a random girl in Catering. I smacked her hand playfully as she reached out for a second helping and I joined her for breakfast.
‘My name’s Baby,’ she said with a wonderfully warm, expansive smile…and she passed the ketchup. Crikey, it sounds terribly familiar calling a woman “baby” after the barest of introductions, doesn’t it? Even after exchanging condiments over a fried egg?
‘But it’s my name,’ she protested gently. ‘I’m one of Paloma Faith’s backing singers.’ Aha! You never know whom you might meet in Catering. I’m a big fan of Ms. Faith, actually – it’s that sexy, gravelly voice coupled with a self-deprecating manner.
In high spirits, I poured a second cup of foul tea and took a look at Baby’s schedule for the day’s line-up. Ooh, splendid, there were some corking acts that afternoon: the legendary Chaka Khan, Hypnotic Brass, Nikka Costa and a guest appearance by Maceo Parker. ‘See you later, Baby,’ I chirped, soldiering on under duress and rather warming to the occasion.
First up, that glorious Saturday afternoon, was Hypnotic Brass, the epitome of cool; no talk of thermos flasks with these guys. ‘We’re from the South Side of Chicago,’ said one of the trumpeters backstage before their set. I’d interrupted him mopping his brow with a towel and had offered myself up as a spare trombonist in the event of me accidentally kicking one of the regular players in the goolies.
He shook my hand in one of those groovy “homey” fashions, popular amongst chaps wearing hoods on their jumpers. ‘Yeah man, you’d really fit in,’ he laughed. What, so I couldn’t stand in as the decidedly lighter brother from another mother? This is discrimination! Couldn’t I swap my monogrammed napkin for a spot of rapping? I’m quite the beatboxing MC at weekends, you know. Oh yes, a wicked Master of Ceremonies – a grandiloquent title indeed.
OK, so I’d stick out like a sore thumb in Hypnotic Brass. Apart from being white, I’ve never quite got the hang of showing swathes of branded underwear. Isn’t it uncomfortable waddling with trousers clinging precariously to the top of one’s thighs like the garden ivy? I’m sure Gentleman Steve, speaking from his baronial hall, would have a word or two to say on the matter of standards.
‘Bang bang, skeet skeet,’ yelled one of the players on stage ten minutes later, encouraging the audience to dance. As a front man, this might be another area I’d fail to excel in. Close your eyes and picture me at the front of a stage, instrument in hand, crowning my labours with a half hour set at a major festival. How do you think the following asinine compering would go down with the melee?
‘I say, would you mind clapping? This is a dirty cute rendition of the Mozart Requiem trombone solo.’ Bugger, maybe that’s not quite right..