Decamot of the month

05 Oct 2017-The Price of Fame

Inspired by the following Decamot items.

Canoeist, Cushion, farm house, obelisk, pebble, Route 66, spotter, Tobias, trilby, urban myth

Will Rogers had never been on Route 66 but felt he knew every uneven camber of its 2000 miles; he had sung the famous song by the Rolling Stones so many times in his 30 year career as lead singer with Urban Myth. He had the musical talent to have been a big star but most people had never heard of Will’s band who specialised in corporate entertainment, a combo the hospitality industry regarded as a “quality function band”. Whilst it was a good living in many ways it was not in the slightest bit glamorous. In truth Will could probably earn more, net of tax, as a train driver on the London Underground. Even occasional session work failed to add much in the way of extra money. Unless you were the star name on the CD cover or had a regular slot on Jools Holland or, better still, you were Jools Holland, you had to be content with modest earnings commensurate with middle-income middle-class respectability.

There was a time when he really thought he might make it big in show business, tour the world and make a fortune for himself but his Greek father had warned him all along that the life of a musician was precarious at best and you needed a lot of luck

“My son” he once said, “Even if I had called you Tobias it would not have been a guarantee of success!”

The unsociable hours of a working musician are hardly compatible with a typical family life but Will somehow managed to meet and marry a fellow musician and between them they raised two children who took great delight in teasing their parents about their slightly unusual peripatetic lifestyles. A small mortgage-free farm house in West Sussex represented the pinnacle of Will’s financial achievement but it was a comfortable base for their two children.

Their eldest daughter, Lisa, was probably the cheekiest but her sister, Marie, was quite capable of giving her a decent run for her money. Will and his wife, Sophie, sometimes managed the school run as a duo together, but it was usually a case of turn and turnabout depending on where Urban Myth were performing. This could be anywhere in the country where conference hotels are situated from Brighton, Bournemouth, and Bristol in the south to Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham further north, not to mention numerous London venues.

“Sophie the Sax” was equally busy with conference work, weddings and corporate functions requiring live background music. She was never short of work for she came complete with backing tracks and could clearly move around a venue and was often a more cost-effective alternative to a string quartet.

Sunday lunch was the one meal of the week when the family could guarantee to catch up on their diverse activities of the preceding seven days. All four really looked forward to the exchange of collective badinage.

Lisa was quick off the mark as ever:

“Hi Dad – did you spot any bats at the Belfry on Wednesday”

“Very funny” replied Will.

“Micky Jordan says his Dad is a professional talent spotter” piped up Marie “Shall I give him your name Dad?”

“Micky Jordan would say anything to attract attention” said Lisa “He told me his mother was a famous model” “And what little fibs did the pair of you tell Micky Jordan about us?” said Sophie smiling to herself. Marie was first up:

“I said that you were both waiting to be discovered, and it was only a matter of time.” Lisa stifled a giggle and added:

“I said all Dad needed to do was to throw away his ludicrous trilby, which he hasn’t taken off for 30 years, then the world of show business would be his oyster”

“It’s funny you should say that because I auditioned for a corporate video this week wearing said headgear and was complemented on my rendition of Route 66.”

“But I thought you never did auditions Dad – 'demeaning' is what you used to tell us, didn’t he Mum?”

Lisa was now in full mimicking, mocking mode:

“If they don’t know what I can do after all these years, they don’t deserve me!”

“Well, sometimes I like to break my own rules especially when my daughters need Greek island holidays, new school uniforms, ponies to ride, money for night clubs, make up, new clothes, iPads. Need I go on?”

Sophie laughed as she called them all to order.

“Lunch is served!”

*****

The first ad for getmemoving.com appeared two weeks later on mainstream TV. Produced by Obelisk Productions for its principle pharmaceutical client, it featured a lone canoeist who bore a remarkable likeness to Will Rogers. The sequence started with a pebble thrown into an idyllic placid lake creating a ripple which grew into a mini tsunami, lifting the lone canoeist over a porcelain barrier in a heightened state of ecstatic oblivion.

The soundtrack to the video was a clever parody of two Rolling Stones hits - Satisfaction and Route 66 with Will Rogers clearly singing the parting refrain: “Come Get Your Fix with Chute 66".

The online version went viral and the Rogers’ telephone never stopped ringing with requests for interviews and all the trappings associated with celebrity status.

The Sunday lunch that followed was something of a curate’s egg.

The whole household was struggling to make sense of it all. After a 30 year career in entertainment, Will Rogers was an overnight sensation. But he declared that all cheap gibes were off limits.

The girls moaned: “But Dad, that's not fair: It’s a bloody laxative! Can't you just go with the flow?”

Sophie shot her a warning look.

“Don’t worry girls, I'm sure the cheque for £250,000 will help cushion the blow to our artistic pride!”