The night I met Rollo was so unlikely that I’m amazed to this day it happened. It was a Monday night, Faithless were booked to play their first live gig at the Camden Jazz Cafe, and I’d bought my ticket about four weeks prior. Come the Monday night, of course I was feeling ill because Martin and I had been caning it in FF the night before. But more than usual, I actually had the flu.
When I got back to the flat that evening, I really wasn’t up to going out again, but Martin convinced me. So I dragged myself to Camden for the advertised 7pm start, only to find that Faithless weren’t going to be on until at least 9pm. I had a choice: go home, which is what I felt like doing, or make like fish and hang around for Faithless. So I ended up in Comptons, supping Guiness and enjoying being eyed up by the tourists. Some pints of guiness later and my flu in remission, I headed back to Camden and took my place at the back of the venue, hoping to avoid the onslaught.
Regardless of what history tells us, there was no onslaught, and when Rollo strolled past me on his way to hide at the back of the venue, I grabbed him and told him how fabulous I thought he was, and we got chatting. He took umbrage at the amount of money I was paying for the promo versions of his records, and promised to put me on his record label’s mailing list. Then he introduced me to Sister Bliss.
Rollo made his excuses and hid at the back of the venue as his band came on. The gig was intimate and beautiful. When I caught up with Rollo afterwards, I commented on the singers who had joined Maxi Jazz, and he proudly explained that his sister Dido had joined the band for the night (Dido famously was paid a curry for her work that night).
Meanwhile, I had been doing my usual ‘making eye contact’ with some guy who turned out to be one of Rollo’s best mates, and we ended up arranging a date before Rolle took me to the band for autographs.
The date happened but, unfortunatelty, didn’t go anywhere, mainly because I was so in awe of someone who was not only best mates with Rollo but also had shared a squat with Boy George and was best friends with Leigh Bowery… that I felt like I’d arrived at a party two hours too late and the best thing was to go home. So I did. Happy times though.