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My personal Spinal Tap moment came when we got locked into the Festival Hall in London by accident. We ended up wandering the maze of backstage corridors carrying a three foot high piece of cheese looking for the one door that would lead us to salvation.

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(, Thu 29 Jun 2006, 13:47)
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When I were a wee nipper, I was the principal cellist of my local youth orchestra. We were pretty good for a bunch of kids, and forged a relationship with this composer called Mark-Anthony Turnage, who used to write pieces with names like "Blood on the Floor" and "Three Screaming Popes", which gives you some idea of what his music was like.

Anyway, one fateful evening in 1998 we were given the honour of doing the world premiere of one of his pieces at the Royal Festival Hall - quite a big deal. Not willing to pass up the opportunity for a bit of post-concert debauchery, we hired a boat for a party on the Thames immediately afterwards.

Now, there was a problem with this. It was a very small boat, and some of us had large instruments such as cellos. So, a heroic bunch of parents stepped in and offered to drive all of the large instruments back home so that the cello section could spend a fun-filled evening guzzling Bacardi Breezers and puking into the Thames. We made arrangements that all of our cellos would be left just backstage after the concert, for the parents to load them onto the van.

Our concert took place at 6pm. The London Philharmonic Orchestra also had a concert at 7.30. At 7pm we were in the bar waiting for festivities to commence when the manager of the LPO came tearing up to us screaming, "Where the HELL is Mark?" (Mark was our conductor). It turns out that one of the LPO cellists had chosen to park his cello in exactly the spot we had arranged for our pick-up point. His cello was now doing 50mph on the North Circular. Whoops!

So, we stole a cello from the LPO, engaged in much underage drinking and then received a review in The Guardian the following day saying that we had played with "pornographic intensity". Result!
(, Thu 29 Jun 2006, 14:43, Reply)

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