On Meeting Legends
On Saturday, I had the enormous privilege to have lunch with Pierre Koffmann and his wife, Claire. As we all know, Pierre is one of the greatest chefs ever to grace us with his magic and his genius on this little planet of ours. Needless to say, he was a total joy to spend time with. The Greats often are. It's the less-than-Greats who can be tricky buggers.
Ive been very lucky to meet many legends over the years. If I could be bothered to properly do the maths (or "math" if you're an American!), I've probably encountered the truly Great on average once a year since 1990.
Of course it all depends on your definition of Great. Of those I've had the pleasure of spending time with, some would argue that the likes of Ken Dodd, Britney Spears, June Whitfield or David Gates are not quite in that top tier whilst others would have no hesitation in allow them entry to the VIP Lounge.
But few would argue against the likes of Sir Michael Caine, Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Meat Loaf, Jamie Oliver or Billy Ocean inhabiting that special place reserved for the truly brilliant. And each of those people was (is) utterly fabulous company.
One of my favourite brushes with Greatness was when I organised a media day for jazz guitarist, George Benson in the late 90s for one of his many Greatest Hits albums. We hired the penthouse at the Metropolitan Hotel and organised a day of interviews to finish at 4pm so that George could rest before going out for dinner.
When 4pm came and the writer from Blues & Soul magazine had left, George looked at me and asked what was next. I told him that was the end of the interviews and he was free to go. His reply? "OK, then let's order some champagne and talk about jazz for a while." So we did. And it was one of the best ways to finish off a busy day, shooting the breeze with a true Legend.