Thursday, 26 August 2010

An evening with the Eurythmics

So finally, the Eurythmics interview explained! Apologies yet again for the delay - so much going on, more of which another time.

The deal was that Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox were holding a viewing to mark the opening of an exhibition of Eurythmics artwork from throughout their career together. Both of them were set to attend and so they did.

Entering the art gallery revealed the duo sitting stock still on chairs with their eyes shut as TV screens flashed up images behind them, a kind of living piece of art in itself. This continued for some time until the duo freed themselves up to mingle with the assembled media, friends and other guest list blaggers.

My brief was to attend and try and get an interview with them about their latest reformation and collaboration together, 'I've Got A Life', which marked their latest hits compilation 'Ultimate Collection'. Now, I was just starting out, very inexperienced and feeling a bit nervous. How could I just go up and ask one of the biggest selling artists of the 80s (75 million units sold globally to date) for an unbooked interview on the spot? That's when my duty to do the job in hand overrode my fear however, something that has always stood me in good stead since thankfully - though the free champagne that was flowing may have also given me a handy shove in the right direction!

Dave Stewart had always struck me as an aloof character so I thought I'd be better off approaching Annie Lennox first. I explained who I was and asked for a short interview with her and also dropped in that I was just starting out as a journalist so a bit nervous, no harm in being honest eh?

Her eyes were open but seemingly shut as she replied, if the eyes are the windows to the soul then she had the shutters down and I could read no emotion in them, perhaps indicative of speaking to the press for most of her life. What she said to me was really kind though, "I'm sorry but I've got a lot of friends here that I haven't seen for a long time and want to catch up with. Good luck with your career though."

So I was left with the even more daunting prospect of asking the 'unapproachable one' (to my preconceiving mind at least) for an unplanned, unbooked interview instead. I waited for a suitable time then approached Dave Stewart in the same way I had Annie Lennox - the whole 'nervous, just starting out' thing included.

I was suprised when he told me, in the friendliest way possible, that he could spare some time and would meet me over by the door in a few minutes time when he had worked his way through the crowd as nothing would meet be picked up on a dictaphone in such a noisy room. And even having withstood the embarrassment of me approaching and double checking a few minutes later that it was still OK (damn nerves/champagne!) Dave Stewart did indeed give me some of his time for an interview just outside the front door of the gallery.

He was amiable, friendly and while clearly a star with his mid-Atlantic twang, was completely genuine and unpretentious. Cool and easy, kind of the way I would expect Ringo Starr to be (but that's another preconceived idea yet to be challenged)! He only spoke to me for about seven minutes but, indicative of dealing with the press most of his life, gave me enough to work into a feature. You can read the results here.

So, a baptism of fire perhaps but also a hugely important confidence boost and a vital step towards actually believing I was a music journalist!

Useless music fact #13: Annie Lennox was born on Christmas Day.

Originally posted on on 26 August 2010.