Subject: [FishFans] Re: Alan Freeman - Day in the Life
I was really sad to hear of the death of Alan "Fluff" Freeman today.
I met him on a number of occasions, the most memorable was when I visited the studio at the BBC during the transmission of his last ever programme on an invite from his long standing producer Tony Wilson. The "Songs From the Mirror" album was dedicated to him as he played a huge part in my musical 'education' when I was a teenager.
I can remember driving up to Morayshire, my first ever job away from home, and listening to his then last programme on a Saturday afternoon on Radio 1. It was the first time I ever heard Sandy Denny's "Solo" which stayed with me for years and became one of the best tracks on the cover album in 93.
He turned me onto so much music that would influence my career and it was an honour to meet him and a thrill to discover he was a huge fan of Marillion, being one of the pioneers of Progressive Rock on the radio.
The first time I ever saw him was when I was hanging about the backstage door at the Usher hall after an Elton John gig in May 1976, standing in the exhaust fumes of the ranks of the mystical black Edward Shirley trucks and seeing this small guy in a huge fur coat blaze his way through security in dark glasses and acknowledging fans with an effortless royal wave.
I met him at a few functions later in my life and was interviewed a few times for radio by him. A highly charismatic and knowledgable man and a champion of rock music he did so much for the genre that without him I can honestly say that I wouldn't be here today.
The last time I saw him was a sad but funny story. Back in 2002 my sister stayed in Twickenham in London and I would sometimes visit and go out on a wee bender with my brother in law Chris. That particular night we bumbled out the Blucher pub and headed up the road to my sisters a bit the worse for wear. Chris pointed out that a huge mansion opposite the entrance to their street was in fact a home for entertainers and that Alan was actually a resident. I told him I knew him and in my air headed state I decided we should say hullo. So at around eleven o clock on a Friday Chris and I chapped on the door to be met by a wary nurse. I asked to see him and after a few minutes out comes Alan in a huge dressing gown, slightly confused and obviously just dragged out of bed. We talked for a bit and shook hands. To be honest I don't think he knew who I was as by that time in his life his mind was sadly fading. We said our goodbyes and I thought I saw a faint flicker of recognition as he smiled behind a closing door. Then he was gone.
I heard the news today on TV just as I drove Tara to school as she missed the bus. I played "Day in the Life" from the new Beatles compilation, the last song I remember him playing on his last programme on Radio 1 back in the summer of 77. The lyrics were perfect.
And today I have a meeting to discuss taking over a rock show on satellite radio. So Fellini! Not arf!
Email November 28th 2006