When did you last look in the mirror and say, “it’s your duty to not be a dick!”?
Personally, I feel once-a-day is an absolute minimum.
Standing outside iconic London music venue KOKO, Saturday 9 September 2016, I waited for my friend Tash (professional vocal coach/singer/bagel-making expert) to come out and let me in.
“There’s a door for crew round the side” offered a random voice. I turned and saw a man. “Oh, thank you.” I gestured, “Do you work here?” I quizzed, “No, I’m here to see Chicane.” replied the stranger.
I was there to see Chicane too, but under quite remarkable circumstances. For twenty years, the elegant chillout dance music of writer/composer/producer Nick Bracegirdle (Chicane) has wafted me through life with breathtaking serenity. Such is the majesty of his work, especially his early creations, that TV & film tirelessly lap them up, regularly placing them on adverts, documentaries, news pieces etc. His debut album, ‘Far from The Maddening Crowds’, easily sits in my Top 5 albums of all time… so to randomly meet and become friends with Tash Andrews (Chicane vocalist) last year was quite a thing, as was the day she texted me to offer me an ACCESS-ALL-AREAS pass to his 20th anniversary show at KOKO two days ago.
“Oh, so if you don’t work here, how did you know I wanted to get in?” I asked the stranger.
“You can just tell these things.” he assured me.
Thanks to my unflinching obsession with talking to strangers, I spent the next fifteen minutes chatting to the chap. His name was Paul. Paul revealed that seeing Chicane live has been on his bucket list for many years. Like me, Chicane has been a powerful thread in Paul’s life. The more I spoke to Paul, the more I realised that meeting Nick would probably blow him away, and so, I made a silent commitment to myself to try to facilitate this. This was a curious commitment to make, because at that point, I hadn’t even met Nick myself, I was merely in the luxurious position to have been invited to shoot exclusive documentary images of his soundcheck/rehearsal… a permanent record of his only UK show this year/ [3 exclusive shots below]
“Let’s connect on twitter, and we’ll chat later tonight.” I suggested to Paul. He agreed this was a fine idea, so we whipped-out our phones, and connected.
Fast-Forward 7-hours, multiple hit tunes, this UK No.1 classic, and two encores, and I’ve just witnessed Chicane perform to a drooling sellout crowd. Not only that, but I watched it from arguably the best seats in the house… mere inches from the Nick himself, stage right, along with close friends and the entire Chicane tour crew.
My phone beeped. I received a tweet. It was Paul – the nice chap I met outside, hours earlier.
“Hi CK… about to head home… any chance of a meet before I go?”
I walked over to Nick in the green room and waited for him to finish the joke he was sharing with a friend.
“Nick,” I said, “Tash mentioned you sometimes sign autographs & meet fans outside, will you be doing so tonight? I met someone this afternoon who would love to meet you.”
Seconds later, Nick and I were walking down the endless KOKO staircases, heading outside. As we walked, I messaged Paul – telling him to come to the crew entrance.
What happened next will forever stay with me.
Upon meeting Nick, Paul said something that made my night. If I’m honest, it possibly topped even spending the entire day with Nick, his team and seeing my friend Tash literally kill it on stage (proud of you, Tash!). Paul walked over to Nick, smiled, shook his hand and said, “You don’t know what this means to me!”
Fuck!… our Paul will probably never forget that moment, and in truth, I’ll probably never forget how nice it felt to assist its occurrence. Paul thanked me, I thanked him for thanking me, gave him a man-cuddle, and off he went… with a promise we’d stay in touch on Twitter.
Now, here’s the thing… I honestly believe that in life, we all have an obligation to ourselves and the wider world to not be dicks, so let’s regularly endeavour to do nice shit, huh? And with that in mind, “thank you” sincerely to Tash & Louis [Chicane manager] for allowing me to share (a) a special milestone day, and (b) the free green room booze.
– Goldiing x