The Winds of Change by Darryl Morris That horrible feeling of deflation overcame me as I spotted the bar I should have been meeting a talent agent in, over an hour ago. I had a feeling something wasn’t right when the seemingly knowledgeable policeman pointed to a run down building as I asked for the trendy ‘Atlas Bar’. Right there in that moment, I could have broken down and cried. Not just at the lost opportunity, but at the way it was lost. What followed was something similar to those far fetched scenes in horror films where the star, lost in woodland and being chased by a rampaging murderer, finds his mobile with no signal or credit. I stared blankly into my useless phone trying to feel thankful that I wasn’t being chased by a murderous lunatic and had instead watched one of the biggest opportunities of my career slip through my fingers. It didn’t help.
I genuinely wasn’t sure what my next move would be. How could I explain this? How could I turn to a big London based talent agent and explain that I’d wasted an hour of his busy day and not only should he forgive me but he should also give me another shot. I wondered aimlessly up Deansgate before it hit me; my Grandma! Not literally, she’d never be strong enough, but she could help. All I needed to do was call her, ask her to ring the agent and explain what had happened, simple. It’s not exactly professional but I was a 17 year old lad for crying out loud, I’m hardly going to have a PA. I reversed the charges and gave the few seconds you get to say your name into the automated system to begging her to pick up. She did, even if I hadn’t begged she would have but begging makes it seem more urgent, which it was. I explained the situation and she flew into action ready to help.
“What’s his number then?” She said. I thought for a moment before realising error number two. He’d given me his number during the email exchange but in the mist of excitement I’d forgotten to put it in my phone.
“That’s it then” I sighed. “I can’t get hold of him now and I’m sure as hell not explaining this on email tomorrow, so it’s over”.
“No, it can’t be” she pondered. “There must be something else?”
“Like what?” I asked, not feeling too hopeful.
“A website, he must have a website. His contact could be on that” She said, with a flash of inspiration.
Brilliant! This is my 68-year-old Grandma who’d been shown the ways of the web by her Grandson showing him up in a flash of genius! OK, it might not have been the most innovative of ideas but in the heat of the Deansgate-based panic my thoughts weren’t altogether clear. Before I could suggest a web address she’d ‘Googled’ him and had a contact up in front of her.
“I’ll call him now, speak to you soon” She said. YES! I’d done it. I’d saved the situation. I knew I’d sort it out really. I always do. Alright, fair enough, my Grandma had sorted it. Moments later I got a call. It was him. This was the first time we’d actually spoken and I found it hard to find my breath. He said he was willing to come back, mainly because of how sweet my Grandma had been and that if I was her Grandson, I must have been a nice enough lad. God bless you Phyllis Morris! He pointed out that I probably owed him a pint and I didn’t disagree.
“I’ll have a Grolsch please” He noted and in that moment it was back to euphoria! A nervous excitement ran through me as he said he was on his way. Right, Christ, here we go again. I was an older looking 17 so got served with no problem, despite this I decided to get myself a lemonade. I sat on one of the sofas near a window. Here I was, sat in a bar in Manchester waiting for a London based talent agent to come and meet me, suddenly Bolton Market Radio and Rivi FM seemed a million miles away.
I spotted him through the window as he made his way across the road and towards the bar. I fought back a nervous mouth sick before nodding and smiling in his direction to let him know it was me. He headed over and I stretched my hand out to him and offered up a firm welcome, just like that body language programme on Channel 4 had suggested a few days earlier. I’m not sure if it was that or the fact I’d bought him a pint but we got on like a house on fire. I explained a bit more about what I wanted while trying to get across how passionate and enthusiastic I was. He told me a bit about himself and what he could offer and it fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle. This is so incredibly important when it comes to working with somebody. If you’re not working from the same page the relationship is doomed, or extremely hard to pull off at least. We were agreeing on everything. He mentioned some big names and places he could see me going. I couldn’t believe it. It couldn’t have felt more surreal if a cow had flown past the window; that was until he uttered those 4 words.
“Let’s go for it” The EXACT words I heard in my dream! I suppose it’s a fairly standard thing to say but I couldn’t help let out a little giggle.
“What’s funny?” He asked.
“Nothing” I said smiling. I doubt I’d have come across as anything other than weird if I’d gone into detail on that one. I really began to relax and actually started to enjoy it. He asked me if I was nervous so it must have shown a little. I’m quite good at hiding it when I am but it must have slipped out. Quick as a flash I had to decide whether to tell the truth or lie. If it’s obvious enough for him to ask I’ll have to tell the truth, plus that might be more endearing. I was oozing ‘17-year-old kid ready to be taken under somebody’s wing’ and that paid dividends! As quick as it began, it was over. He had a season ticket to Manchester United and by this time it was half six and kick off was edging closer. Manchester United? I suppose we all have a flaw.
I made my way home after what felt like a very long evening full of highs and lows. He told me to put a demo together and send it over to him ASAP. I had to wait a painful few days to get into the studio but once I did, it flowed. Listening back, it was crap, but it had an edge to it. At least that’s what the boss of one of the biggest radio stations in Manchester said after my agent got me a meeting with him just hours after I sent the demo over…
To be continued…