Many people have said you shouldn't meet your childhood heroes as they are invariably a disappointment.
I've never agreed with this and I've never been disappointed. A great moment for me was meeting Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee at the Etihad a couple of years ago. And a few days ago I had one of the most memorable evenings of my life.
I was invited by Richard Eccles to speak at the newly renovated Daffodil Hotel in Grasmere to a large group of friends of Cumbria Life magazine, which has just undergone a major design revamp. It's a wonderful magazine full of optimism, hope and inspiration and is very high quality. I told Richard I'd be honored to speak at the launch and cheekily asked as a reward if his prized columnist Hunter Davies would be attending. Richard said he would, and he did.
In 1965 I was a young testosterone fueled 15 year old in Lancaster when I read a book called "Here we go around the Mulberry Bush." It later became a song by Traffic and a movie starring Judy Geeson. It launched the 60's (in Lancaster at least). It was written by a Sunday Times journalist called Hunter Davies. I loved the book and still have a psychedelic paperback copy to this day. Hunter then wrote the first official biography of the Beatles and the best book on Soccer ever written, "The Glory Game." He followed this up with a great novel called "The Rise and Fall of Jake Sullivan," which was loosely based on a combination of John Bloome the Washing Machine entrepreneur and all around fly boy, John Lennon and a mysterious third party.
Anyway, Hunter went on to greatness and has spent the last 50 years writing novels, ghosting biographies, writing 4-5 columns for national papers every week writing influential columns (including my favorite, Father's Day in Punch magazine) and editing the women's part of the Sunday Times color magazine in the 70's under Harold Evans, one of the world's great editors. Jenny Cooper and Molly Parkin both worked for Hunter. Imagine herding those cats!
Hunter came along to the launch and he and I spoke about heroes and afterwards we adjourned to Michael's Nook in Grasmere where we shared a glass of Te Koko and looked at all the 60's heroes memorabilia I have in my home. From there down to The Swan where Hunter revealed his journalistic tendencies by asking me around 300 questions in 90 minutes. We intend to follow-up the conversation at The Groucho in London where Hunter is a founding member.
Ain't life grand! Meeting your heroes . . . strongly recommended. Meeting Hunter Davies . . . a dream come true.