Guy Chambers,(“Angels”) left, and Les Reed, (“Delilah”, “The Last Waltz”) right, are on our small thumbnail shot. But here’s a shot of my Peter Rabbit table decorations. Heston Blumenthal, eat your heart out. Come to think of it, he’d probably do that, eat his own heart as a scientific culinary experiment…
You see, I’m in this thing called The Society Of Distinguished Songwriters, – it’s mostly old farts but we have some new farts too. To name but a few, there’s, well, me of course, who else? Hmmm. Oh yes, Roger Greenaway (wrote hundreds of hits , many with Roger Cook, including “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing’” and there’s Tim Rice (Knight of the Realm), Don Black, lyricist of all those Bond songs, (as well as “Ben” for Michal Jackson), there’s Gary Barlow, Guy Chambers, Tony Hatch. Anyway – there’s about 40 of us and you get elected. Nuff said about that, but this year, I’m KING SOD ,which I’ve been twice before. It takes up time and thought but it’s a lot of fun.
You have to organize 3 nights for the lads every year (they all pay subs) – and then a big ball at the end of the year, in some big place -obviously. We all know big balls in small places aren’t a good look. You need ladies for a big ball, so we bring our wives and guests.
So anyway, (feminists, look away now) – for last night’s dinner, the venue I chose, just for the drinks beforehand – was the Playboy Club. So then I thought, bunnies, – Watership Down, “Bright Eyes”!! So myself and my lovely event helpers from the office put together this rabbit-themed eveing with rabbit on the menu, stuffed miniature rabbit toys as name-place holders, and four Peter Rabbit gardens full of carrots and stuff (pictured) instead of flowers, as table decorations. Michael, our VT editor at Dramatico, put together a reel of every bunny movie clip you could think of, including Bugs Bunny, The White Rabbit, etc, and we had that running in the background. The venue was a penthouse suite with a stunning view of Hyde Park, at the Metropolis Hotel in Old Park Lane, 2 steps from the Playboy Club, so no distance really, to walk to the dinner venue
We tell a lot of jokes at SODS meetings, and this time I imposed a house rule that all jokes must somehow include a reference to rabbits, however tenuous. So lots of fun, and all that.
But here’s the thing. The Sods has become something more than a songwriting ”social club”. Over all these years, it’s become a bit of a family. We get a lot of stick because it’s just guys, but because it’s not really serious and doesn’t actually DO anything for humanity, what it really is, is a bunch of like-minded blokes of all ages, who happen to be famous songwrters. And the truth is, you can shoot great big PC-shaped holes in that concept, but I have to say some of my best friends are people I met at Sods. I would never have co-written “A Winter’s Tale” if I hadn’t met Tim Rice at Sods, about 35 years ago. Some of the older Sods who have passed away now – (Lionel Bart, Mort Schuman, for example) gained a lot of comfort from it in their latter years. So there we sit in our dinner jackets, having a posh dinner, then Les Reed or Guy Chambers or someone gets on the piano (you know what I mean) and maybe there’ll be a guitar there, so Bruce Welch or Justin Hayward will strum along to a huge sing-song of stuff from Rock ‘n’ Roll, or standards, early stuff by Johnny Mercer and all the other greats. It’s a real treat. A bit self-indulgent, but frankly there’s enough shit in the world, – and in our business. Sometimes you need a night off.
So that’s why I love holding songwriters’ balls. Not much of a “news story” really, but hey.