COLDPLAY IN PARIS PART 1
TUESDAY 9AM: THE PHONE CALL
Have just received call from record company requesting I fly to Paris for exclusive interview with UK band COLDPLAY for the release of their third album, X & Y. Did I mention this will be the only interview the band give to an Australian journalist for the foreseeable future? Also - I have to leave TOMORROW! That does pose some challenges. Firstly, must finish editing and sound mixing episode airing THIS SATURDAY, (on James Blunt- whose love songs are currently eating the world). Secondly, I have no idea how to locate camera crew in Paris; or hair and make-up. I can do my research on the plane. But what will I wear to interview!
TUESDAY 11AM: ARRIVE AT SOUND STUDIO
Voice over for this week’s show must now be recorded two days early since my voice is coming with me to Paris tomorrow and cannot stay behind for regularly scheduled Thursday session. Audio dude, forced to clear busy diary to squeeze me in with no notice, is more tense than usual. Doesn’t help I underpay him.
AUDIO DUDE: OK - Throw to the first commercial break. I’m recording. Hurry!
ME: Ahhh…“Coming up after the break, James Blunt shags another girl and writes a hit song about it”.
AUDIO DUDE: Be serious.
ME doing actual VO: “Coming up after the break, we’ll play James Bunt’s new single “You’re Beautiful” for the first time on Australian television”.
SIDE NOTE: Playing this video for the first time is a massive exclusive for my show. James Blunt is currently the biggest selling solo artist in the world. Have therefore made sure sure every single voice over in the show teases to this big reveal at the end of the show.
EXTRA SIDE NOTE: (Yes, there is a reason I am giving you this seemingly unimportant information about James Blunt’s bloody video).
TUESDAY 1PM: COLLECT ENCRYPTED CD FROM RECORD COMPANY (NB THIS IS PRE MUSIC STREAMING)
Back in the yesteryear of CD’s – each country would only be given ONE SINGLE CD for listening and promotional purposes when a big act released a new album. Since I am the only journalist in Australia interviewing Coldplay in the foreseeable future, I am handed this may-as-well-be-a-gold-bullion CD so I can familiarise myself with the music before the interview. I am forced to sign document agreeing to spend significant time in Mexican jail if songs are leaked to internet via this copy. (Note, CD actually has my name encrypted on it).
TUESDAY 4PM: CONFIRM FRENCH CAMERA CREW OVER PHONE
Have spent three hours on phone struggling to locate English speaking camera crew to record interview. Have connected with dude called Leon who assures me he manages best crews in Paris. Am trying to determine whether I should bring camera tapes from Sydney or crew will provide tapes for interview in Paris. “Wee Wee Oooongelaarrr”, says Leon, “we serply the teps”. (Much more on that later).
TUESDAY 5.05 PM: SPRINT FOR DRY CLEANERS
Have just realized clothes for interview are at dry cleaners down the road, which shuts at 5. Sprint down in the hope I can bang on closed door and beg for once-in-a-lifetime-favour.
Can see movement inside but am being ignored (probably since this is actually 34th time I have begged for this once-in-a-lifetime favour).
Make note to sprint back to collect clothes FIRST THING IN MORNING.
WEDNESDAY 1:00AM: AFTER RESEARCH AND PACKING, CRAWL INTO BED.
Note, have placed CD under my pillow in case of break in; (would rather burglars take me than rarefied CD as chances of escape probably better than if in Mexican jail).
WEDNESDAY 9AM WAKE UP FEELING ADRENSILED BUT NOT OVERWHELMED.
Apart from dry cleaning pick up and last-minute phone calls, am looking on schedule to be at airport by 11.30am to catch 1pm flight.
WEDNESDAY 10 AM: RECEIVE PANICKED CALL FROM RECORD COMPANY
SIDE NOTE: (James Blunt’s record company, not Coldplay’s record company).
RECORD COMPANY EXEC: Angela, we have just found out that the single “You’re Beautiful” will not be available until next week. Therefore you will NOT have it to play in this week’s show”.
ME: WTF! All my voice overs point to this single! I have to be on a plane in less than 3 hours!
RECORD COMPANY EXEC: So Sorry, we are happy for you to play any other single.
ME: Are there any other singles called “You’re beautiful”?
SIDE NOTE: We both know this is rhetorical question and decide airing an exclusive LIVE version of an old single is only option. But this will require me to re record ALL voice overs before I get on plane, with voice.
WEDNESDAY 10.10AM: CALL ALREAD-PISSED-OFF-AT-ME AUDIO DUDE TO TELL HIM I WILL HAVE TO DROP IN –ON ROUTE TO AIRPORT– AND RE-RECORD ALL VOICE OVERS FOR THIS WEEK’S SHOW.
SIDE NOTE: I am unable to convey his reaction to that news in an appropriate fashion.
WEDNESDAY 10:30AM: SPRINT TO DRY CLEANERS TO COLLECT INTERVEIW OUTFIT
Am sprinting back from drycleaners when bizarre tripping-over-own-feet episode occurs in middle of road. (Note-to-self: don’t sprint in cheap thongs). Blood immediately spurts from big toe on left foot which appears to be missing much needed layer of skin.
WEDNESDAY 10.45 AM: PREVIOUSLY BOOKED SILVER SERVICE CAB ARRIVES AT HOUSE (NB THIS IS PRE UBER).
Am hobbling into house with bleeding toe, close to tears. Lovely Lebanese Cabbie (who shall be referred to as LLC from now on) enters my life. Bleeding tsunami of panic enters his. Am thrusting dry cleaning at LLC along with suitcase while screaming out random thoughts unintentionally: “Am meant to be at airport by 11:30am”! “This toe situation is worse than I thought”! “Don’t touch that CD or we’ll be arrested”!
WEDNESDAY 11:00AM: AM IN CAB ON ROUTE TO AIRPORT, BANDAGING TOE
AUDIO DUDE: Where the F--- are you?
OH.MY.GOD. Have forgotten all about audio re-records! Why is James-Freaking-Blunt trying to ruin my life! Lovely Lebanese Cabbie (LLC) must make sharp left, then right, then illegal u-turn to reroute us before too late!
WEDNESDAY 11:18AM: RECORD FASTEST VOICE OVER SESSION IN HISTORY OF AUSTRALIAN TELEVISION
WEDNESDAY 11:28AM: LLC AND I FINALLY EN ROUTE TO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. Am flying business class. Checking in by midday still doable. Take first breath of the day.
WEDNESDAY 11:32AM: A TRAGIC TWIST OF FATE.
Lovely Lebanese Cabbie and I are bonding over madness of last 40 minutes. In comforting, fatherly tone (and heavy accent) LLC assures me that: “We will make on time”! Almost as afterthought he adds: “all your need is passport and you fly away”!
WEDNESDAY 11:32AM AND 3 SECONDS: BRIEF MOMENT OF CATATONIA
Have just realized I.DO.NOT.INFACT.HAVE.MY.PASSPORT.
Catatonia passes into hysteria. “MY PASSPORT STILL AT HOME”!
(For some reason – I am also now speaking in broken English).
LLC eyes me in disbelief; “YOU MUSSA BE JOKING!
(All I remember after that, is hearing brakes screeching).
WEDNESDAY 11:45AM: CAB NOW TRAVELING VERY FAST IN OPPOSITE DIRECTION FROM AIRPORT.
Are we flying? Am perhaps in shock. Coldplay Record company executive calls. “Just making sure you checked in ok”. Desperate situation is relayed in full state of hysteria; followed by deafening silence down the line. Entire Australian marketing plan for new album by biggest band in the world is resting on me making that plane. To her credit; Record Company Executive remains calm: “Let me see if there is a later flight”. The line goes dead. I know what she’s thinking – I just should have sent Richard Wilkins! LLC senses I am losing my grip on reality.
LLC: We stay calm. We pray. We see what happen.
WEDNESDAY 12.05PM: ARRIVE BACK HOME.
Sprint into house to search for passport while ordering LLC to take suitcase from boot, take out toiletry bag, dry cleaned outfit and underwear only and transfer those things into much smaller overnight bag – which I essentially throw out the door to him; (as checking in luggage- NO.LONGER.OPTION).
SIDE NOTE: My Lovely Lebanese Cabbie (LLC) - for reasons I still can’t explain – carries out these deeply personal tasks with absolute precision and without any sense that this situation is UTTERLY ABSURD.
Receive text from Record Company Executive: NO LATER FLIGHTS AVAILABLE.
WEDNESDAY 12:40PM: ARRIVE AT SYDNEY AIRPORT WITH “HOLLYWOOD SCREECH”.
LLC and I hug like war buddies. No words necessary.
WEDNESDAY 12:45PM: SPEED-HOBBLE INTO DESERTED BUSINESS CLASS CHECK-IN. Am greeted by customer service manager who has been notified of “situation” by Record Company Executive. “I don’t like your chances but wait one moment please”. Customer Service manager engages in lengthy phone conversation with person on plane capable of changing my life. She FINALLY hangs up and says two words I will never forget in my entire life: “Follow me”.
WEDNESDAY 12:59PM: HAVE BEEN PERSONALLY ESCORTED THROUGH CUSTOMS TO PLANE.
Flight attendant offers glass of champagne. I demand scotch. Since toe has resumed bleeding – she complies; (and gets more bandages).
MORAL OF THE STORY: Always remember your passport – obviously.
Are you sitting back with a feeling of relief?
Don’t. There’s a whole other nightmare about to unfold the moment I land in Paris.
COLDPLAY PART 2
FRIDAY 12:30PM: ARRIVE CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT
Am acutely aware that must be sitting in front of Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin looking drastically different to current state in exactly 2 hours. Arrivals sections is swarming with drivers holding name cards; none with my surname. Mentally curse father for being Sicilian and therefore landing innocent, didn’t-ask-to-be-born me with name like PULVIRENTI. It’s alright for him - he’s a Townsville dentist. He doesn’t have to fly around world alone hoping non English-speaking French drivers get surname right on name cards so can get to hotel in time to get make up done before interviewing rock stars!
FRIDAY 12:50PM: LINE UP FOR CAB (WITH 1500 OTHER PEOPLE)
Suddenly spot driver through crowd holding PURLVENTERRI sign. Close enough.
FRIDAY 1:10PM: CHECK IN AT PARK HYATT HOTEL, VENDOME SQUARE, PARIS.
Crew is already setting up for interview in separate room. “Room not enough size” says French cameraman when I drop in to check on progress. Can see his point. Can hardly get inside room to see how small it is. Notify hotel media director immediately who takes me on tour of four other hotel rooms’ exactly same size as original room. Advise crew they will simply have to move lounge suite out and bring smaller chairs in. Desperate to be in own room taking shower.
FRIDAY 1:45PM MAKE UP ARTIST ARRIVES AT MY ROOM.
Can only assume from hand gestures that non English speaking make-up artist has just asked how I want my make up to look. Usually have enough trouble answering this question in English. Contemplate a hand gesture for “smokey eyes” and “light, full lips” then point at some colors and hope for best.
FRIDAY 2:15pm: COLDPLAY PUBLICIST PHONES. INTERVIEW TO START ON TIME AT 2:30PM
Whoa! Have just checked out self in mirror. Have never worn more make up in life. Begin tone down process as soon as make-up artist has gone to achieve slightly less I’m-cool-but-VERY-addicted-to-drugs-look.
FRIDAY 2:21PM: WALK INTO INTERVIEW ROOM TO FIND CHRIS MARTIN ALREADY PRESENT!
Rock stars are never early. Not good sign. Martin is perched on camera case as crew has not yet worked out how to fit in chairs. Martin has walked out on previous interview early because Swiss and UK journalists kept asking questions about Gwyneth Paltrow; (his then wife; in case you’re from Mars). Publicist assures him that won’t happen again and shoots threatening glances at innocent didn’t-ask-to-be-born me. Am wondering if French crew will make “Guinness Book of Records” for slowest interview set up in rock history.
FRIDAY 2:40PM: CHRIS MARTIN INFORMS ME HE IS NOT IN GOOD MOOD
“Well neither am I”; is my louder-than-intended reply. “Why are you in a bad mood”, he asks, slightly taken back that someone, who isn’t him, would have a mood.
FRIDAY 2:40PM-2:45PM: AM UNABLE TO SHUT SELF UP!
Sentences spew forth erratically. “I only had 24 hours notice I was even coming to Paris”… “have to get weekly tv show to air by myself”… “can’t afford my own stylist”… “sprinted back from drycleaners”… “should never run in cheap thongs”… “toe was mutilated”… “forgot my passport”… “nearly died in cab”… “room not enough size”… “make up artist can’t speak English”… “look like Morticia”… “dentist father has stupid name”…”interview subject in bad mood because of Swiss bloke”.
SIDE Note; also, may have pointed out that he, Chris Martin – leader singer of Coldplay – had decidedly less reasons to be in bad mood on account of being lavished with a crapload of money, accolades, assistants - and Gwyneth Paltrow - all for writing a song about being “Yellow”!
FRIDAY 2:46PM: ROOM HAS GONE COMPLETELY SILENTLY
“Well I think your make up looks lovely” says Chris Martin finally. Camera crew announces they are ready to record. Oh well, Merci and how do you day ABOUT BLODDY TIME in French.
FRIDAY 2:56PM: COLDPLAY GUITARIST JOHNNY BUCKLAND IS CALLED INTO ROOM
Chris Martin, so enthused by the tone and vibe of interview, insists best friend and guitarist Johnny Buckland joins in. Crew almost has coronary fitting extra person in room. (Infact, the sound guy had to move into the hallway to make room for him).
FRIDAY 3:00PM: SURPRISE ANNOUNCEMENT FROM FRENCH CAMERAMAN 15 MINUTES INTO MY 40 MINUTE EXCLUSIVE AUSTRALIAN INTERVIEW
FRENCH CAMERAMAN: We herv run out of tep.
ME IN DISBELIEF: Did you just say we have run out of tape!!!
FRENCH CAMERMAN: Am afraid must cut short interview because no more tep.
Coldplay’s publicist enters room. Schedule is running behind anyway apparently. She thinks tape situation could be “blessing in disguise”. “It might be for you”, I say in part emotionally unhinged/part threatening tone, “but I am going to absolutely burst into tears if this interview is cut short. I have come a long way, with a very sore toe”.
FRIDAY 3:00PM: OCCURRENCE OF UTTER LIFE CHANGING MIRACLE
Chris Martin, who has been observing the tape crisis – and my mental state with quiet bewilderment stands up and says: “I am not leaving this room until Angela is happy. Someone better work out how to get more tapes in here as quickly as possible”.
Am speechless. Am almost moved to tears. Want to have 5 children with this man and let him name them watermelon, kiwi fruit and guava if it makes him happy. Will love Apple like my own. Will even make tea for Gwyneth if she wants to visit every now and then.
(Turns out she will be living – for half the week only – with Television Creator Brad Fulchuck soon enough anyway. This could all so work out)!
FRIDAY 3:00PM-3:45PM THE LOST HOUR
For almost an hour, while tapes are being summonsed, Chris Martin, Johnny Buckland and I have nothing to do but drink tea and shoot the breeze about life, love and music. Martin asks me how long I am staying in Paris. I tell him just a couple of nights. He wants to know if I have any friends in Paris. I tell him I don’t.
Then he asks me if I have any friends in London. And I tell him I do actually, A good friend of mine who manages an Australian band (Side Note - Angus and Julia Stone) lives in London. He then offers me a lift to London with the band in their private plane after the interview. “There’s plenty of room”, he says, “and then you can visit your friend”. I thank him for offer but politely decline.
FRIDAY 4:00PM COLDPLAY FINALLY LEAVE ROOM
Boys and I exchange heartfelt hug. Chris tells me to holler if I change my mind about the private plane and London.
FRIDAY 5:00PM: SIPPING FRENCH CHAMPAGNE IN LOBBY BAR
Hear name screamed out from other side of lobby. Turn to see Chris Martin waving his arms at me. “Angela, are you sure you don’t want a lift”? “I’ll be ok” I tell him.
MORAL OF STORY: Have been asked by many people why I didn’t just get on the plane with the band and head to London for the experience. Can’t really say for sure. Maybe I was dazed and confused. Maybe I didn’t want to risk spoiling such a perfect ordeal. Maybe I just wanted to put my toe up and finally relax.