I remember the first time I heard one of his songs. I was with my mum in the car, a large, red, rounded people carrier and I was sat in the front seat wearing my school uniform. We pulled up in front of our house and my mother turns to me and says “do you want to hear a really beautiful song?”
I nodded and smiled, eager to hear it.
She played Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven.
Years later that beautiful moment had bloomed into fandom and my friend and I were in perfect awe and agreement that he was a legend.
On my 22nd birthday I was sat in a Pizza Express with my mother and two friends enjoying a meal and the celebration of me! Half way through, my mother hands me a check and asks “should I bank it or keep it?’
“Bank it of course, duh.” Were the elegant words that first fell from my mouth.
“Are you sure?’
“um yeh, why wouldn’t you want the money?” confused.
I look at the check.
I scan confused, until my eye reached the bottom right-hand corner. It read:
Sir E. P. Clapton Esquire
Brain trying to comprehend.
“WHERE DID YOU GET THIS?”
“Oh, he stayed at our house a couple of weeks ago.” She trills with matter-of-fact pride.
Allow me to explain. My mother ran the family home as a very upmarket seasonal hotel. During the shoot season very rich, mostly Americans, would come and stay and enjoy shooting pheasants on near by farms. On this occasion Eric Clapton had come as a guest.
My mother was very excited, so excited she told my little brother, who of course, at the age of 16 said, “Who?”
Next she tried my elder brother, who lived 3 hours away, hoping for a more informed response. He said “So?”
At this point one might think that she would turn to her only daughter, to whom years ago she first introduced his music to. But no. Her enthusiasm curbed and she neglected to tell me. I was living in the next town over, only a 30 minute drive. Hell I would have crawled there had I no other way and I’m not joking!
I blurted out. “You do realize me and Roy would have spent the entire weekend giving you free service while amusingly scrambling on the floor at his feet mimicking Wayne’s World, screaming ‘We’re not worthy. We’re not worthy!’” Lord it would have been epic!
My friend who has known me for many years will always say how he has never seen me speechless other than then, shooting daggers of a thousand armies at my mum.
Missing Eric Clapton, AT MY HOUSE!! wasn’t the worst part, oh no no! Being told that he spent the entire time bored, even to the point of reading an Argos catalogue (no offence Argos but you get the point), and drearily saying to my mum who was trying to cheer him up. “Oh I’m being forgotten, young people don’t even know who I am.”
Holy crap balls! Not only could I have met The Eric Clapton, but I could have also immensely cheered him up! I was of course only 22, that’s a young person in adoration.
For a year my mother wasn’t allowed to mention his name in front of me, absolutely forbidden! Now she can get away with it but I still have shadows of those daggers in my eyes that I’m sure will never fade…