(Stories posted on Mondays on this blog – at least for a while – will present famous people I once spotted, albeit from a distance.)
It was 1973 and I was at university studying Music. There were a dozen or so students living in the same big house. I was the only one doing Music. The others were studying exotic things like Accounting, Chemistry, History, and Computer Science.
At some stage during the year the Jackson Five came to Wellington to give a concert. It was to be staged in the Opera House. I knew the music of the Jackson Five but I wasn’t into them in a big way.
Now in those days there were no cell phones. In fact, there weren’t even cordless phones. Landlines were earthbound. Their cords could be long but they were still attached. This has some relevance to this narrative because the booking agency for all concerts in town had a telephone number misprint in all the newspapers and it happened to be my phone number!
I disbanded attending lectures for three days, and answered the phone all day. “I’m sorry but the paper printed the wrong number. The correct number is…” A long cord on my phone meant I could even take the phone into the toilet. There was no rest from people wishing to purchase tickets for the Jackson Five.
After three days, and the Agency hadn’t changed the number in the paper, I went down to the booking office and complained that I had done nothing else in the past three days. They apologised and gave me a free ticket to the concert.
Now in those days – I don’t know if they still do it – the front central seats in the dress circle of an opera house remain empty and unsold in case “the Head of State” suddenly turns up. These seats are sold just minutes before the concert starts. I was given the seat where the President, or the Monarch, or the Prime Minister, would sit. That’s why it was good to be patient at sold out concerts because such seating often became available at the last minute.
The concert came and went. It was enjoyable but I don’t really remember a great deal about it. I remember the group’s parents being introduced. They weren’t sitting in the dress circle like myself. Oh no! They were down below sitting there like ordinary people. Towards the end of the concert they introduced their little brother Michael. He sang a song. It was cute enough. He wasn’t bad. A bit podgy.
And that is how I came to catch a glimpse or two of…