Falling for Ryan Adams is all very well, but will your love be requited?

nd he was afoul with condiment confilsion, a mixed up View of relish.’

Culturally popular folk are always suddenly, just suddenly, around again and then now always will be. And Ryan Adams is one. I read about him and then he‘s on Jools Holland’s television programme with his wanky- boots and assortment of swaggers. And then it is the first CD I touch from a pile I must borrow from at a new friend’s flat on Otago Street. I listen to it and track five pushes a tear out of my eye.

So this night the other night, I make my way to the qunion and arrive hearing track five outside and. knowing that rushing stops you hearing so well, I just stand still and savour with a side of pine . . . and all of life’s best dilemma is here.

Inside, and he is sweaty. And the band are with him and he’s talking, reuniting Claire and Stevie and working the crowd like a comedian or really like a person in a room full of people that are there to hear him.

He is making lots of contact and telling us how he came to write songs and he‘s being corny and yet truly blown away by our collective love of him. At one point he has to ask people to stop singing along so loudly. They play nearly three hours, then I go and get a lager and whiskies and come back and there is a lady on stage from the crowd singing ‘I wanna be your dog‘ —- and Ryan Adams is on the drums.

He genuinely seems to be amazed by everyone’s continued listening to him and I pass my lager to someone to my left for a sip and they give it away.

The gig is amazing and his presence is compelling like a fruit-stand in Kabul.

The gig ends. Then I decide, just on impulse. to go up in the lift to see if there is a fifth-floor blag available. I meet a promoter. one of the great Daves. and he assumes I’m going in. And I go in and soon I‘m talking to Starsailor and going through the unusual horror of bringing out your hash when you‘ve only got, like. a tiny bit.

Then I become the spare guy in the dressing room for ten minutes. I am hovering around the sandwiches and ice and Ryan Adams is drawing on the table cloth and putting pickle on as hair. I sing to him: ‘. . . a chutney fringe . . . you‘re giving him a fringe of chutney . . .’ Everyone joins in the saying nothing and I am left. the dick who spoke bollocks. It is a hard moment.

I do speak to him directly later advising him to tune the hi-fi to the early 90s for Classic FM and he again completely doesn’t respond. The last thing I want to do is hold someone Adams is hostage to the character they are on stage and then expect them to respond in line with your inner feeling-precept-thing so I forgive him and beam slightly and befriend the drummer who says it

the table cloth and putting

is the best band he‘s ever been in. ' We talk on the Taliban and the pICKlq on terrible effigies that hardly bear any as half

likeness to George Bush and

perhaps they are burning Digger

Barnes or Why Carson. He says it is the best conversation he has had in Europe.

I don‘t know if it was the fact that it was pickle not chutney that got to him or the incredible un—chemistry between us that he was good enough to sense and then never allow us to even go to the cupboard with the white coats and goggles in.

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128 THE LIST 1-15 Nov 2001

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