NOW I LIKE to think of myself as a reasonable caring man, and like many in the music business, have charities and fundraising events which I support. But, in recent years the number of requests has exploded with expectations bordering on astounding.
Here are two fictitious examples, but based on true instances.
Request One: “We’d like you to open our fête at 2pm.”
No problem. I love village fêtes. I’ve planned to spend half an hour there, and then go off to fulfil the other appointments for the day.
I arrive and am met by ‘Mrs Dick’, the head of the organising committee. “Thank you so much for coming, Mr Wakeman. The children are thrilled.” > That’s a lie. Only three of them have the vaguest idea who I am, and that’s because Granny has told them that there’s a fat bloke coming who she likes on Countdown.
Then I’m handed a schedule .
“You’re judging the fancy dress under-eight’s at 2.45pm, the rudest vegetable at 3.15pm, ‘Guess the weight of the cake’ at 4pm and you’re taking part in the egg and spoon race for Senior Citizens at 5pm.”
I politely explain I have to go at 2.30pm. Mrs Dick is crestfallen.
“If you’d asked me beforehand…,” I mumble . I open the fête and vanish. Now hated by all and sundry.
Request Two: “Could you perform at our fundraising dinner in Newcastle. Bring your keyboards.” I telephone the organiser.
“Could you tell me your budget, please, for my crew to get my equipment to you, and the hotel information?”
Organiser: “Errr, there is no budget for you. We’re a charity.”
“So you want me to pay for a crew, truck hire, diesel and hotels?”
Organiser: “We are a charity.”
“Is the hotel giving its banqueting suite free of charge? Is the hotel giving meals for nothing? Are the PA and lighting free?”
Organiser: “Of course not. We have to pay for all that.”
I would like to write more, but I’m just off to play on someone’s album for nothing.
(Am I f###).