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A bit Oddie

May 8, 2007

Thanks to the bank holiday and there being bugger all on between Hollyoaks and Eastenders of a Monday evening, I had the pleasure of watching Bill Oddie try and learn guitar for Play It Again, a documentary that tries (and probably fails as is entertainment’s wont) to get celebs to learn to play an instrument (usually from scratch) within an allotted time period.

Now you may note that there’s a lot of estimation, speculation and conjecture up there. That’s because Monday’s ‘episode’ was the first I’ve seen (and it was the last in the series so I’ll never actually know. Unless you tell me that is. Feel free. Shame I missed this series as (being the child of a music teacher) I’m pretty interested in all that learning/teaching/natural talent malarky.

Aaanyway, this classic saw Oddie set himself the challenge of learning a lead guitar part (plus solo) to play at his daughter’s 21st birthday party in six month’s time. His teacher was Bridget Mermikides (who must have the best surname in the music industry), who, with over 30 years experience, had the patience of a saint, it has to be said. Oddie refused to play it her way (so to speak) and wanted to run before he could walk.

It’s pretty obvious that (with anything really) to be good at something, you’ve got to master the basics. But nooooo, Oddie wanted to widdle and wah his own way. He dumped Bridget after only four lessons and instead used his celeb contacts to get private tuition with such greats as The Kinks’ Dave Davies and Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler to prove that he didn’t need the form nice-sounding chords to learn to play.

But then he shot himself in the foot – when talking to Davies about his pioneering ‘raw’ sound, Dave actually went, “You can play like this,” and then proceeded to strum some lovely, rounded chords, “Or you can play like this,” and then went into his trademark gritty strumming. Thus proving that even he had done his homework.

The end was rather embarrassing. Mr Badger was on the phone, so I had it muted with subtitles, but even that was enough. Oddie had been bigging up his daughter’s band for the entire hour, worried that he’d do her talent justice. He introduced the song ‘Peaches and Cream’ that she had written and he was to play along with by saying that Rosie (who looked a hell of a lot older than 21 – at least a decade in fact) had written it and the sentiment was very mature for someone of her age and that they were very impressed by it. What followed was lyrics my baby cousin could have written: “Peaches and Cream, you know what I mean, and I’m singing to all of my friends.” Deep. Very deep.

Anyway, kudos to Bill for getting up there in front of a load of MySpace wankers and giving it his best. I felt very sad at the end when, straight after his ‘set’, Bill walked outside and did a bit to camera, while a load of kids hung around behind him. It’s a shame that (as he said ion the doc) a lot of them just know his as Rosie’s dad who goes around the country looking at wildlife, and not as the rebellious comedian he was.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Clair permalink
    May 8, 2007 10:12 am

    Bill is a great comic talent, but I always felt he had a Big Ego. Sounds like he got what he deserved, unlike Jo Brand (brilliant woman) who learned to play the organ, and was fab. And a delightful student, too.

  2. Badger Madge permalink
    May 8, 2007 10:17 am

    Oh yes a huge ego and (in this) very set in his ways. But ever since that You Don’t Know You’re Born-type doc he did where he unveiled his mental health problems, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for him…

  3. Rich permalink
    May 8, 2007 12:56 pm

    I saw all of them except for this because the BBCs been messing with its scheduling.

    Best one was where they tried to get Aled Jones to ‘rock out’ on the drums. Oh dear………….

    I fancy a crack at the drums so to see him so useless really was disheartening.
    Mind you, he did the same as Oddie and dropped his tutors advice in favour of playing with Chris De Burgh. He shot himself in the foot because CDB gave him a hard drum part to do. Ha!

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