Friday, August 31, 2012

Seth Macfarlane - I Love You!

Come on, people - lighten up! That Boobs song at the Oscars was hilarious because, let's be honest, bare boobs get ratings. It was a funny joke about the industry. Anyway, As a tribute to my hero, I am re-printing the adulatory piece I wrote a few months back. And if you don't like it . . . Tough titty (as we say in the UK).

 Seth Macfarlane, I love you.

No, honestly. I really, really love you. 

I love your work, your principles, your voice and, last night, I heard you sing live, met you and had my photo taken with you. 

And now, I love you more.
My friends on Twitter have been despairing of my obsessive attempts to get close to the brilliant creator of Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show. On Monday night, having failed to obtain a ticket for Seth’s appearance at the Proms, I stayed in London, hoping to get a ticket for his show at Ronnie Scott’s.
Seth was in town promoting his album Music is Better Than Words – a fantastic collection that displays not only his extraordinary voice, but his love of Swing music.
When I was living in LA, I tried for two years to get an interview with him. If someone had told me to rescue a trapped mongoose from a Siberian salt mine using only a needle and thread, it could not have been more difficult.
His people did not contact my people, but that is maybe because I had no people, and a single small woman – even one as feisty as myself – doesn’t cut the mustard in the City of Angels.
His people in the UK were no better. They offered to deliver a letter, a gesture that both pissed me off (with them already having failed to grant me an interview in the US) and made me even more determined to get a missive to him through my investigative skills in trying to pinpoint where he might be.
Would he be staying at the Savoy? Too formal for him, I reckoned. Family Guy’s Brian might like it there, especially the American Bar, and I could picture him on a stool, holding court, but I couldn’t imagine Stewie roaming the hallways.
A Marriott? Seth doesn’t need the points; in fact, he could probably buy the Marriott chain and still have enough loose change left over to buy the Royal Albert Hall.
The stress of trying to pinpoint Seth’s accommodation was taking its toll. I fell out of the cheap single bed I was in at London’s Groucho Club, tossing and turning, trying to think my way into the great man’s thoughts about his hotel preferences.
So where might he eat? Would it be the grossly over-rated Ivy? Or Soho House, the sister club of the fabulous rooftop venue in LA? Was he more of a Joe Allen person, scoffing potato skins and burgers?
I did enough research to patent a Where is Seth? boardgame.
How hard could it be? I took to Google, which I have come to regard as a legal, efficient means of feeding my obsessions. It took under a minute to find that Seth would also be singing at Ronnie Scott’s on 30th August, so I extended my London stay and contacted the famous jazz club.
Sold out. Not only was the event sold out, it had been sold out since something like 1763.
I cried. I sulked. I took to Twitter and Facebook, begging somebody to take pity on me. I texted my friend Stephen Fry, who informed me that he had two tickets, but that they had been very hard to come by. I Tweeted Seth, told him I was on my knees, begging. I took to phoning Ronnie Scott’s on an hourly basis, just in case they had any returns. They told me it was “extremely unlikely”. Then I took to visiting the Box Office, where the negative response was the same. I went to see Ted, Seth’s first film, just because it made me feel closer to him.
On Thursday, I rang Ronnie Scott’s and was told that, occasionally, tickets are available on the door, and that I should return when they opened at 6pm. I did. Then at 6.30. And at 7. And at 7.30. And at 8. 

I felt like Little Orphan Annie, albeit Little Orphan Annie who had optimistically donned her party dress, feeling, in her gut, that everything would come all right in the end.  
I returned to the Groucho Club, sobbing into my glass of wine. The only thing that could possibly work now would be if Stephen’s partner were to be stuck down by a mystery virus at the last minute and Stephen would remember my pleas.
The text came at 8.08pm. Stephen Fry. Good news. His partner had come home, collapsed on the sofa, and was too exhausted to go to the event. He was happy for me to have his ticket. 

Be glad of what you wish for!  (But get well soon, Stevie).

Now, not only did I have a ticket for Seth, I was a guest of the most brilliant mind and wit I have ever encountered. OMG! I cried. I sobbed. With joy. With relief. I felt as if I had reached the top of Everest in a pair of skating boots.
My tears did not stop. The band took my breath away with a range of talent I have never heard gathered in one room. I am sitting opposite Stephen Fry. STEPHEN BLOODY FRY, whose knowledge about music is already astounding me. 

And then there’s Seth, who walks on and moves me to rare emotions that soar through every vein.

Awe. Admiration. Love. 

Love of his enormous talent in so many areas; love of his creativity; love of his achievements at such a young age; love of the familiar - the animated characters of his shows, coming to life when the voice of Stewie squeezes out of this fresh-faced, exquisitely dressed man, who is a mere 38. And, when he smiles and opens his mouth to sing, love of a personality that exudes warmth, brilliance and a justified confidence that makes you in no doubt that you are in the presence of greatness. 

His voice is pure, beautiful, soulful. He handles hecklers with a cutting, yet professional charm that leaves no one in any doubt who is in charge. And then there’s STEPHEN BLOODY FRY, too. Sorry, I already said that.
This was, without doubt, one of the best nights of my life. Two weeks ago, I was crying with loneliness in a Spanish bar, contemplating two small slices of sweating cheese and wondering whether life was worth living.
Yes, it is. 

As Stephen, who has battled depression, said: there is always something to live for.
Family, friends, and nights like Seth Macfarlane at Ronnie Scott’s. 

And sometimes, yes: music is better than words.    

1 comment:

  1. I've had one of the roughest years i have ever known in 2012 and, like you, have wondered whether this was all worth it and where the little bursts of magic that used to come along, if not regularly then at least sometimes, had gone. Then I was directed here and read your piece. Of course its worth going on, because if we didn't then those little bits of magic would have nowhere to land.

    Thanks Jaci (you don't have a job going do you?) x