Today's walkitcornwall quote
We had a great time with you as our fearless guide. Loved it all especially the colours of Cornwall. We really enjoyed the pace of the walks. It allowed me to lag and take photos and be one with the land. Also it allowed me to fantasize about the smugglers and customs men dashing along the trails.
–Pam V, USA
Billy Joel duet and BBC Countryfile
Billy Joel and Paul Simmons duet and Countryfile with Matt Baker and Paul Simmons
A few years ago (well over a decade ago) Billy Joel came to London and he recorded for TV and radio a Masterclass session, the idea being that the audience would ask questions and he would attempt to answer them whilst playing a few songs from his back catalogue. All were genuine questions and he didn’t know how it was going to go and what he would be asked.
Now a good friend of mine Vic, was at that time a journalist with connections. He managed not only to blag three tickets but my wife was allowed on stage to photograph him with the professionals for a minute or two. Did they cotton on yet I wondered as the paparazzi laden with lenses, cases and tripods were accompanied by an instamatic toting beauty. He smiled and she got some great shots.
So on to the Q&A session. We were right at the back of the auditorium whilst the questioners were asked to wait for the boom mike to get to them before asking their question. No way for us as we were way at the back and the boom man wasn’t going to hike into the gods. Well, I am endowed with a boom of my own, the decibel of my voice and so at a precise moment after he answered a question I shouted “Hey Billy, right at the back here”. “Man, you have a loud voice, go on”.
“well Billy I have been a piano bar player and I reckon I’ve played more Billy Joel than you” (audience thankfully laugh) and I do have a question but more importantly I would like to ask…..can I play with you now?”
Now two things crossed my mind, one immediately and the other not until a bit too late. A girl had been up on stage and had sung with him and, well, she wasn’t exactly tuneful, so I thought once bitten… no he wouldn’t. “Well what shall I do?” he ponders, “Yeah” go the audience. He starts waving, gesturing for me to come on down. Watch the clip as you see him scratching his beard, his eyes checking me out as I descend at pace to the front of the stage. The second thing? I hadn’t a clue what I was going to play! A potential professional suicide there and then, on TV and radio.
Cue the You Tube clip. Enjoy.
Paul Simmons and Matt Baker on BBC Countryfile
“Hello this is the BBC, are you Paul Simmons?” Just the usual phone call ….not! “You’ve been given to us by a couple of people”. “OK fine what can I do for you?” “Well they say you know something about the south west coast path and we have Countryfile doing a piece on walking the south west coast path” says the voice.
So, many thanks to the south west coast path team and SWCPA for recommending me as I spent a lovely day with Matt Baker and his producer, sound man, camera man and assistant at three locations on the Lizard talking about the choughs, geology and the “false” Falmouth built by Elstree studios in the 2nd world war at Nare point to deflect the bombs away from the actual town. We had lunch at the fabulous Down by the River café at Helford and what turned out to be about six hours of filming ended up as a one minute piece on the BBC Countryfile programme that you can see below.