Rick Wakeman's Caped Crusades

Rick encounters a case of mistaken identity while shopping.

“You were in a band, I know you were…

I just can’t remember the name,” said the middle-aged woman behind me in the supermarket checkout queue.

I had only popped in to buy some emergency toilet roll but found myself waiting behind a woman intent on paying for her groceries with 1p discount coupons, half of which were out of date.

The woman behind prodded me again. “You had a hit once, didn’t you? I know you did. Now what was it called?”

I was saying nothing so an elderly lady standing behind us decided to join in. “Who is he then? Is he a pop star?”

The woman at the checkout produced another wad of coupons and I realised that this was going to be a long process.

“He’s been on the telly. That’s it! I’ve seen him on the telly!”

“What on? Top Of The Pops?” asked the other woman, peering over her glasses to get a better look.

I realised I had become superfluous to the conversation about me, and was now merely a spectator.

“I know! He’s in Status Quo!” piped up another lady, this time in the queue to my right.

“Don’t think so,” said the middle-aged lady who had started this all off. “He’s fatter than that bloke in Status Quo.”

“Tubular Balls. That’s it!” said the elderly lady, pushing her glasses back on her face.

“Oh yes, I remember reading somewhere he had a medical condition,” shouted an elderly man in the queue on my left.

“I’ve definitely seen you on the telly… You’re on that millionaire programme, aren’t you?”

I felt I had to join in before things got even more out of hand. “No, that’s Chris Tarrant…”

“That’s it! You’re Chris Tarrant”.

“No, I am not!”

“Well, who are you then?”

Before I could open my mouth to reply, the man at the other checkout said in a very loud voice: “It’s Tim Rice!”

“What, the guy who does Countdown?” asked the first woman.

“That’s the one! Didn’t he write that song, Josephine And Her Technicolor Housecoat?”

I couldn’t take it any longer, so I left the basket of toilet roll and walked out.

“He’s a bit rude!” I heard a voice behind me say.

“Well, what do you expect? He’ll never get on Britain’s Got Talent.”

We order our groceries online now.