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Touched by Genius spacer Issue 10
Touched by Genius - My Flight With Rod
by Richard West
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It is only infrequently in life that one encounters people whose talents have been recognised and honoured by society. In 1990 I was given a free trip on Concorde, in itself a memorable event, and met Rod Stewart. The weight of this conspicuously significant day was obvious from the moment I arrived in the spacious and comfortable departure lounge. As I sat timidly sipping the free champagne I had picked up from a sofa side table I noticed a striking, tall, blond woman and next to her a skinny man who would break off their conversation to stalk up and down. I recall distinctly the suit jacket. It was made up of broad, slightly irregular, diagonal black and white stripes like the dazzling camouflage on a First World War merchant ship. Though, looking back, I cannot say which of them was wearing it.
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I was in awe of my surroundings. An announcement came over the tannoy for a Rachel Hunter to come to the information desk. The man reminded his consort that they were referring to her. She walked off (it must have been a dramatic sight but I did not wish to be caught staring).
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Although Concorde is a small aeroplane in which everybody may justifiably feel that they are important, being in a seat at the very back I felt a little away from the main centre of attention. I was sitting next to a Welsh engineer who told me in plain words that he didn't deserve to be on this aircraft and that he couldn't understand why his company had sent him by this presigious mode of transport. I can't remember his name but it might have been Ivor. We found during the short journey to New York that we had little to talk about beyond our shared suspicion of caviar, neither of us having seen it before.
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We at the back of the plane were separated from the front by a partition half way down the cabin. We were also the last to leave so we didn't see Rod or Rachel again. They were presumably sitting right at the front and were the first off. Looking back on it now I remember our short flight together fondly. I expect Rod does not now mince as he once did. I was too young to hear his music on the radio when it was played in the 70s but have met people who like it. I understand Rachel still appears in magazines and tabloid newspapers but she too must be past her prime. And of course the aeroplane itself is soon to be retired.
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As the plane taxied to the terminal building we chatted to the stewardess. She told us that a small girl had asked Rod Stewart to sign her autograph book but that he had waved her away. The stewardess said that although she had flown with many famous people she had never encountered such lack of generosity. Ivor said that it couldn't have been much trouble to sign an autograph. I didn't say anything but thought to myself that actually famous people were often rude and that Rod Stewart was probably no ruder than many others. Perhaps they just didn't like his (or Rachel's) flash jacket.
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