I AM ALWAYS WARY OF MEETING CELEBRITIES, especially those who are or were your idols. Sometimes they are not what you thought they were and your dream dies the moment you meet them.
Here's a few of my photographs with brief notes
'Met him my arse!'.
Steve Howe. I have always been a fan of the progressive rock band 'YES' and his guitar playing is superb. He can play anything - rock, blues, jazz and Classical etc. He was voted best rock guitarist in the world FIVE TIMES running from 1977-1981 and he just makes it look easy. You may know him from Yes, or the Supergroup ASIA or of course from his own wrk, but he has done so much more. Recommended listening track: 'clap'. Visit his site here...
Steve Howe. I need say only this. Any man who has had a guitar named after him (and a Gibson at that) can never be described as anything less than a legend.
Garry Kasparov. He is very possibly the greatest chess player that has ever lived. Whilst I have never been a fan of some of his political exploits I have always tremendously admired his talent, skill and resolution as a chess player. A forbidably well prepared player he toppled my all time favourite Anatoly Karpov in 1985 after months of chess matches. He has retired now but his legacy will remain forever. I met him here in London. I don't know what the liquid is down his shirt - it is not my slobber thank you very much.Visit his site here...
Harry Enfield. ONLY MEEEEEE. I loved Harry's show's in the eighties and early nineties and I was delighted to bump into him at Covent Garden in London many moons ago. He was filming for an opera programme he did and gladly stopped for a photograph. I recall the conversation vividly. "Harry, can I have a photo with you?" "'Ave you got a camera?" he said. "Yes" "Can I hold your hand?" he enquired. "Well. yes" I replied. And here it is. I was bloody thin then wasn't I? Not that there is much more to me now but as Harry would say 'Is that what you want, 'cos that's what'll 'appen'.
Sir Patrick Moore.(1923-2012) A celebrity with a difference. He really knew his subject, he had a fantastic brain and he entertained and educated whilst enthusing those that chose to listen to him. Very old school, very amusing and very good at chess - at least he used to be. We played chess by correspondence and I was glad one day to finally go and play a friendly and have tea at his house. He was a real star in the galaxy, for sure. I will miss him greatly. Visit his site here...
Valerie Leon. Look; if you are of a certain age you will remember gorgeous Valerie Leon from the Hai Karate advert, The Avengers, Carry on films, Bond films AND Last of the summer wine among others. I met her on 02 May 2015 in Camden at a film fair and she is every bit as effulgent at 71 as she was in her younger days. A very classy lady, oozing style and grace, she was absolutely no disappointment. We even got to have three kisses (okay, on the cheek!) but still, what a great thrill.
Valerie Leon. She was gracious and genuinely pleased that my wife and I had travelled from Banbury to Camden just to say hello! She signed the photograph, completing a circle that had remained open for many years. Hai Karate indeed - be careful how you use it.
DARWIN (Caleykiz Dance to the Rhythm) Darwin is a celebrity. He has after all won a first at CRUFTS dear people.
Benedictum. Here we have a metal band from San Diego. It's too long a story to tell you how I got to know them but they are a great band. I recommend you listen to any of their three albums. These are Uncreation (2006) Seasons of Tragedy (2008) and Dominion (2011) Lead singer Veronica Freeman has a fantastic voice and you can imagine hearing Ronnie James Dio (RIP) when she sings but she has her own style and along with guitarist and long time friend Pete Wells (far right) and the rest of the band deliver classic rock that keeps the genre alive now and into the future.Visit their home page here...
Veronica came to stay with me and my wife for a weekend in 2012. We went into my local town of Banbury and I took this shot of Veronica with the famous Banbury Horse. Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross...(look up the rest). She is one of those rare Americans that really gets British Humour.Veronica this one is for you...KEEP IT DOWN LADS
And here's a few more of chess players from the London Chess Classic 2011.
Levan Aronian. World number 3 and World Blitz champion at this time. He was very interesting to talk to and one of the most down to earth, friendly people I have ever met. I sincerely hope he returns to London next time. I once asked Garry Kasparov in an open forum who we should look out for after his retirement. His answer...Levon Aronian.
World Number one at this time. This Norwegian is bound to become World Champion sooner or later (Maybe in November 2013). He's a great player and very entertaining on the chess board. He can come across as a bit sulky but that's probably not indicative of his character.
He's tall as you can see! For me he is one of the most entertaining players in the commentary room. He has a very quick wit and as a former world champion is of course a super player. In his younger days he smoked a lot and drank plenty of Vodka - not great for chess but I take my hat off to him anyway!
Known as 'The Tiger of Madras' Vishy Anand is the current World Champion. Again,a very amiable fellow, happy to meet the kids and give his authograph. He is getting older now in chess terms and will have constant challengers for his title.(Actually he plays Magnus Carlsen from Norway in November 2013)
I met Tony Martin through a friend in Birmingham in 2012. He will be well known to Black Sabbath fans for fronting up the band and I absolutely love the album TYR which he sang (brilliantly) on. I think he is tremendously underrated and if you can get the album give it a good listen - it is rock music at its best.
I have wanted to meet Ozzy Osbourne since I was a kid. Not only does he come from the same city as me but he has been an inspiration to me also. This might seem odd. People tend to think of the Oz as a pot smoking dodderer but he has gone from working in an abattoir in Birmingham and having no money to being a worldwide celebrity and rich man - oh and did I mention that his music as a solo artist and with Black Sabbath continues to stand the test of time. When some of the young bands of today can still pack out arenas when they are 66 years of age, then I will doff my cap to them. Until then stand aside for the great Ozzy. He's not really the Prince of Darkness you know! This photograph was an official one taken before the Black Sabbath gig in Birmingham (England) on 20 December 2013. I shall always cherish it. Sabbath had just released the album '13' and their show that night was brilliant, full of energy and vitality. All aboard the crazy train then...