Meeting Simon Le Bon
Duran Duran was my band of teenage infatuation at thirteen/fourteen. Fourteen years later he is sitting in front of me. I never would have thought I’d see him in person.
“At the same time it’s purely personable, I’m not awestruck or intimidated at all. My interest is passing. He was very personable, had an almost Puckish mischief to him. He’d aged well. What was really striking was how directly he looked at you with his enormous deep blue eyes. They flared beautifully when his face lit with a smile. He looked at me while I worked around him clearing tables, so I smiled back. Service was particular but he was so polite and deprecating that you didn’t really mind. He came in late. The figs were done in alcohol so he asked me to change it to prunes confessing he’d drank a lot last night and had this TV interview this morning and it would not be good for him to have any more alcohol. -All this with completely absorbed eye contact. He had the rest of his breakfast sent to his room instead of wasting it. When he was finished he asked me if I needed him to sign anything before he left. I told him the room number was sufficient.
“415, under Mr. Soft,” he replied with emphasis and a grin. I turned away to conceal my smirk and continued setting tables. “Do you think my name is funny? What’s so funny about my name?” Mock indignant, but had you not known, it would have come off as fully serious and seriously pissed. There was no way I was going to delve into that amusing innuendo (alcohol probably would have had something to do with it), so I retorted, “Your pseudonym is.” He actually threw back his head and laughed. So he asked if I’d ever seen Monty Python. Yes, parts of it.
“Well, there’s this scene with Pontious Pilot (you’ve probably seen this), where he’s referring to his assistant,” (Simon then reprised the slurred line perfectly), “What’s so funny about “Biggus Dickus”?” Like I said, I didn’t want to go into “Soft”. I deliberately cracked a smile that was just barely, just enough. He’d probably just been waiting for the moment to play that; I suspect he enjoyed it more than I did. The next day I got to redeem myself with Anthony the drummer, and then again it was Mr. Soft calling down to pre-order white omelets. Sweet as punch, but his order’s as bad as the drummer’s and late, and I was forced to relay by memory and commiserate with the chef, piquing the head waitress who did not know who’d called. Mr. Soft arrived at 10:20 and had to leave by 10:30, causing a total juggle between the chef and his party who wanted to leave. Actually Sharon detests white omelets, told me when I personally thanked her afterwards. Mr. Soft’s manager came in twice, so did Nick Rhodes, flipping his shades at me as if he thinks that will make white omelets appear any faster. “He has to leave in three minutes.”
“I’m aware of that.” It’s not like I hadn’t asked the chef, politely. She was totally agitated. She was like “What does he expect! He just got here! How am I supposed…”
“Look it’s his fault. He knows that.” In the meantime Mr. Soft left to talk to his party. The meal was there when he came back, and he complimented it enormously, ate with slow casualness. Requesting tabasco sauce he said his mom had told him it had to be kept in the fridge; I retorted my mom never had. Then asked for an English paper; without having taken it home the week before by accident, I wouldn’t have known I was off to find The Times in the Study, where the whole band and crew is waiting. Finally Nick arrives in The Tearoom to pull him out by his ears; the whole crew is on the bus.
“I hate to leave like this.” As Simon rushes out, walking backwards, he actually calls back, “I’m Sorry!” Though he’d finished nearly all of the omelet. I smiled back at him, it didn’t matter to me, but for some reason I gave him only a half wave with two fingers, for half a conversation perhaps, half a good-bye.