I night I met Ray Davies

PUBLISHED: 09:12 14 June 2018

Starry night: Andrew Ridoutt (Jan McFarlane'’s husband), Sir Ray Davies, David Clayton and Jennie Clayton.

Starry night: Andrew Ridoutt (Jan McFarlane'’s husband), Sir Ray Davies, David Clayton and Jennie Clayton.


David Clayton finds himself properly starstruck when he meets a music hero.

I may have embarrassed myself the other day in a social faux pas sort of way, because I spotted a celebrity and made a bee-line for him. Goodness knows I’ve tutted at others for doing the same thing.

I was invited to an awards evening. Always a pleasure to rub shoulders with fellow professionals and in this case, clergy too because it was the Sandford St Martin Trust Awards, celebrating the best in religious broadcasting. Not only was it in “that there London”, the venue was only Lambeth Palace! I know, name-dropping, sorry. There was the usual reception with a glass-of, canapes and in this case, the chance to marvel at the magnificent rooms and grand corridors of such an historic building with many an Archbishop’s portrait staring down. “Just the one glass, Your Graces,” I silently promised them. A hollow gesture, as it turned out.

On we went from a magnificent set of panelled rooms to a grand hall for the awards presentations. I gazed around, overwhelmed at the history. I’m delighted to say the Bishop of Repton was hosting the evening. The Rt Rev Jan McFarlane was, until recently, our Archdeacon at Norwich, so great to have such a competent and friendly voice on the microphone.

I took a moment to look around. Ross Kemp was just across the aisle having made a programme called “Libya’s Migrant Hell.” He was a nominee. A quartet of Blue Peter presenters were there for another nomination. I took a quick glance behind me and recognised a face but couldn’t quite process who it was. Then it dawned on me, it was only Ray Davies. Yes, of the Kinks! I nudged my wife, “Don’t look now, but that’s Ray flipping Davies behind us!”

Quite honestly, I was a bit starstruck only because his music defined the Sixties, my Sixties. Songs like Dedicated Follower of Fashion, You Really Got Me and Sunny Afternoon. I just wanted to shake his hand and thank him for the music. How corny is that?

The awards ended and as we exited en-masse for a few more drinks and canapes (as far as I’m concerned you can’t beat a sausage on a stick) I was disappointed Ray didn’t appear to have stayed on. However, it was an inspirational evening among talented people with whom to chat. Then I spotted him in another room and I’m ashamed to say, dropped everything to seize the moment.

I’m not putting myself anywhere near this great man’s achievements, but I’ve had a bit of this myself over the years, but just around here. “You’re him, aren’t you?” is a common greeting and to which it’s difficult to formulate the right response. I’ve said yes on the odd occasion - to find I was supposed to be Wally Webb! I’d no idea whether Ray Davies minded people thrusting themselves upon him in an over-familiar manner, but in the end I thought to hell with it, in Lambeth Palace of all places! The wine-over-canapes quotient emboldened me.

He clocked me approaching but had no time to turn away, nor take evasive action. “Ray, I just wanted to shake your hand and thank you for all that music.” I think I said it again and then possibly again. He smiled and thanked me. “Who are you?” he said. Momentarily, in the heady moment of meeting this legendary musician, I’d forgotten, but we were all wearing name-badges, so both he and I checked who I was.

He was there because he’d composed some music for the remarkable BBC1 series Broken, which won two awards, but modestly didn’t join the others on stage. I now know I should have said “Sir Ray.” He was knighted last year.

Gone are the days of “Will you sign this?” I heard myself asking if he’d pose for a photo with me. He did. As I left, genuinely blown-away to have met him, I pondered, wistfully, that we were but a stone’s throw from Waterloo and the sun was setting…..

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