I awakened on Sunday severely hung over from Saturday’s dinner party at our place but the most worrying thing was not waking up with a thudding head and a throat as parched as the terraces outside and a promise to myself never to smoke another cigarette, but the nagging thought that we had something important to do that day. And then J screeched – ‘it’s Nick’s 50th today’. Oh god – the very last thing I wanted to do was socialise – again! And so I hung around in my denim shorts and smelly t-shirt just waiting for J to agree that we needed to give our bodies a rest when she appeared in the lounge, all smart and smelling nice. I guessed we were going.
The fact that the cricket was coming to a conclusion, the US golf was on the telly as was the Charity Cup Final between Man Utd and Chelsea, it all had absolutely nothing to do with my lack of inertia or enthusiasm to move my butt, but rather than risk a very costly divorce I dragged myself into the shower and tried to make myself presentable.
Off we went. Nick and Wendy’s place is just across the valley about 10 minutes in the car and it was clear that we were very late. People had already sat down to a delicious looking lunch. I approached Nick and wished him a happy 50th but he said it was his 49th – Wendy had made a little joke on the invitation which I had missed completely! Thank goodness I hadn’t bought him a ‘Happy Birthday Now You’re 50’ card.
I didn’t know a single person which is quite unusual in the ‘redneck’ world of the ex-pats and I so introduced myself and then headed straight for the end of the table which had the bottles of Rosé. I ended up sitting beside a guy who clearly liked the sound of his own voice, so as soon as there was a vacant seat at the other end of the table, I made my excuses and moved. It was either the Rosé and complete mind-numbing boredom or sober sanity – I chose the latter which is quite unlike me.
After about 20 minuts on water, my resolve weakened and I had just raided Nick’s fridge for another bottle of Rosé when another, quite interesting couple appeared – even later than us. She was dressed like a 60’s hippy with flowery, calf-length trousers, a tight-fitting white blouse and a floppy hat (made me think of that Jeff Beck classic – ‘going down a bumpy hillside - in your hippy hat). She had a certain elegance about her and after introducing herself (unfortunately I didn’t hear her name) she went off for a swim and her partner sat down across from me. He had an interesting look about him and almost as soon as he sat down we started talking. Thereafter, there was about 2 hours of fascinating chat about the fact that ‘Danny’ had been born in Buenos Aires, had moved to LA, then Spain, London, Italy and finally France. He had been a singer and keyboards player with a heavy metal group called ‘UFO’ plus several others such as Tarzen and Heavy Metal Kids and regaled me with stories of ‘life on the road as a rock star’. We chatted about songs, song-writing and all the groups we knew – Humble Pie, Cream, The Moody Blues and Jethro Tull – he actually knew them – I’d only ever seen them! I even owned up to having seen Abba and the Carpenters live in Glasgow but that didn’t put him off! We agreed to keep in contact and if we do (people always say they’ll keep in touch at parties), I’ll probably have to grow my hair now and start smoking dope!
After I got home I looked ‘Danny’ up on the internet cause I’d never heard of UFO but apparently they were quite big. See him ‘perform’ below in the URL in Tarzen (Danny Peyronel - lead vocals). It wasn’t quite as difficult a lunch as I thought it was going to be. After a bad start it improved dramatically thanks to Danny.