A CHRISTMAS TALE (1 of 2!)
(Well it is December!). Christmas 2001 and the pop group, Steps, were celebrating after becoming the first act to sell out Wembley Arena 7,438 times. Or something.
To immortalise this achievement, who better to present Claire, Faye, Lisa, Lee and H with an award but Sir Tim Rice, legend of the West End and co-writer (with Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus) of "I Know Him So Well" which was the band's current single.
I greeted Sir Tim at the backstage entrance to the Arena and escorted him to the inappropriately named "Silver Mint Room" - only one of those three words accurately describes it - to have a photograph taken with Steps and a plaque to commemorate their humongous success.
Everyone got along famously. It was the best of times. And yet, predictably, it was the worst of times.
Within days, Steps had split; on Boxing Day. The result of a Maoist coup by a certain faction within Steps, orchestrated by a shady Machiavellian figure who shall remain nameless for legal reasons. Chaos ensued. Christmas descended into anarchy. Worlds fell apart. The Centre could not hold.
On returning to the office on January 3rd, I opened a hand-written note from Sir Tim. It read: "Dear Peter. Lovely to meet you and Steps before Christmas. Sorry to hear about the split. Was it something I said?......"