Saturday, 19 November 2011

Guided to Love

When I wrote a post two years ago (!) on the amazing night in 2005 which I spent in the company of some Stax legends at the Barbican in London, I neglected one part of the story, because I couldn't work out how to make it relevant. But thanks to the power of YouTube, I now can. Between sets that night, Jim Spake and I ventured out the side doors from the dressing room, just to look at the room and the crowd, because backstage at the Barbican is basically hermetically sealed off from the stage, apart from a pair of doors at the back of the stage which, that night, were only for artists or technicians entering or leaving the stage. So, we'd been standing there at the right of the stage for a couple of minutes, when I noticed charging toward me, at great speed, a shock of red hair in a tie-dye t-shirt which I immediately recognised as one Vanessa Robertson from Memphis - someone I hadn't seen in at least 10 years. She embraced me and gave me a big kiss on the cheek. I was almost speechless - keep in mind that this was before Facebook, back in the days when people just lost track of one another. I asked the obvious question, and she explained that she now lived in London, having met her husband (the lovely Gavin) on a Guided by Voices web community. I had dinner with them a few weeks back, and they are lovely people, and a lovely couple. See for yourself here, at around 7:09 to 7:13 where you can see them smiling and bouncing around in the background. And in "Smothered in Hugs" in the clip which follows, Bob Pollard can be heard shouting out "V" to Vanessa. 1,400 songs and at least one happy marriage - that's a great legacy, Bob! (FYI/FWIW, this very amusing and insightful interview was done only a week after the band played Memphis with The Grifters in 1994, a gig I remember seeing advertised at the time, but was unable to attend for some long-forgotten reason. Vanessa made it to that gig, and the rest is history, I guess.)

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