The Monaco Grand Prix is the most illustrious of the season, and the one that attracts the biggest number of stars. It’s one of my favorites – the Turkish Grand Prix is another – and this last week in Monaco I have been so busy with all the work AND fun that the Monaco race offers that I have not had time to update my personal blog.
Nor did I have much time to play music or search for a venue. I played last year in a couple of places in Nice, but one of the ones where I played last year – Johnny’s Wine Bar – has now closed down so I could not play there on the days I spent in Nice, as I had hoped. I’ll possibly put up an excerpt from my book about Jonathan’s, but for the moment, I’ll move on.
The other place I played last year was an Irish pub in Nice after the race, and I’ll check that out tonight. But last night I did take my guitar with me on my visit with Vanessa to the apartment of a friend of hers. This friend lives on the rock, right near the royal palace where the Prince of Monaco lives. And although our main purpose of the evening was to visit the Casino, just to take a look, we found time at Vanessa’s friend’s place to play our song, “Mad World,” together. So I did at least get to play in Monaco, whatever happens. Sure, it was not an open mic and not in public, but it was fun.
This friend mentioned that she knew a pub in Monaco where it was possible to sing and play, but not likely during the Grand Prix weekend.
The other thing that did NOT happen but which really does have a musical link to it was that while I was walking down the starting grid for the race just 20 or so minutes before the start, I saw a familiar face walking straight at me. It was Mick Jagger. I whipped out my camera and took a few photos of him – and I have posted a couple of those on this page – and I followed him around a little to see what he thought of the grid and what others thought of him. And, yes, I kept fairly close because I kept on thinking to myself, “Hey, that would be cool to speak to Mick.” But as with when I saw George Harrison in the paddock a few times, I just could NOT come up with any ideas. Especially in a circumstance like that, when he was having fun on the grid discovering this weird racing world.
It ended up, however, that I did manage to hear something he said, and which I don’t think any other journalists heard – none were that close at that moment – which was that he said, “What a madhouse!” He was laughing about it, and having a good time. It turned out to be the perfect quote for the lead to my race report, as the race itself was a madhouse.
I later saw Jagger face to face again in the paddock and again I wondered what I should say to him, and again I had nothing that came to mind. It was only when I returned to the media center and sat down to work that I saw my acoustic guitar sitting beside me ready for after the race, and I said, “Damn! I should have introduced myself to Mick and told him I was a journalist at the IHT and NYT and that I took my guitar to every race and played at every race, and would he like to jam with me a little just now as I actually had my guitar and it could make a good story?!?!?” But no, I did not do it. And in any case, he was heading for Bernie Ecclestone’s bus, and I am sure that he would have said “No,” that he was here to watch the race.
But I still feel it was a musical opportunity lost – either way he might have responded. Angry with myself for not thinking faster! But pretty cool fun, nevertheless, to see Jagger in my world….