In 1997 I attended my first radio convention. Orchestrated by a trade magazine called “Gavin”, I flew to New Orleans to hob knob with others in the radio and records industry and to check out a few new acts. It was at this Gavin Convention that I got to hang out with France Joli (best known for the disco hit “Come To Me”) and a Canadian group called Temperance, who did a remake of the Alphaville 80s hit, “Forever Young”. We were also to meet a new group called the Spice Girls, but they weren’t feeling the whole convention thing and they never showed up for their appearance.
There was a big cocktail party during the convention where anyone that was anyone would undoubtedly be in attendance at and I found this to be rather exciting. Coming from a market that could be best described as “midget”, I was fascinated with the special effects and the costumes and the atmosphere of the whole ghastly like encounter. There was a lot of fog, it was rather dark, Pat Boone was running around in a leather jacket and a bad wig and people were doing the Kathy Griffin-say-hello-to-no-one routine. I was asked on a couple of occasions if I had passed by N’dea Davenport or if I had engaged in any conversation with Stacy Ferguson from Wild Orchard (she’s now known as Fergie)1. The answer to both questions was ‘yes’. N’dea was quite nice but Stacy was kind of doing her own thing but she seemed nice as well. I had a very good conversation with a head of lettuce which was actually a human head dressed up as a head of lettuce sticking up through a table. No photos allowed. The lettuce will wilt.
Finding myself in a conversational vacuum of undoubtedly my own creation, I wandered over to a table that had a bunch of wooden slabs with little pastries on them. Though it was a darker corner of the whole affair, I could make out the round bits of this and that that were being presented and I took a couple, put them on a plate and started munching on them. Expecting a confectionary delight in my mouth, I was a little surprised at what I tasted. I was must have had a weird look on my face as my friend Lynda came over to make sure I was doing ok talking to heads of lettuce and the like.
“Are you having a good time?”, she asked in her southern drawl.
“I am. I can’t believe this party!”
“Oh, they convention parties are always like this. You’ll find out”, she replied with a big smile. The radio station had just been given “reporting status”, which meant that the industry cared what we played. It was something no one had thought we would achieve and being a reporting station made us very popular with the record companies.
“So much fog and lighting and lettuce heads!” I must have sounded like a country bumpkin fresh out of the cabbage patch.
“No expense when it comes to reporting stations, darlin'”.
“I’m a little concerned about these pastries, though. I think they’re bad or something. They taste like fish.”
“Honey, that’s not a cookie, it’s sushi!”
I was eating sushi and I didn’t even know it. I had never had sushi before. I thought I was nibbling at a Lorna Doone or something. The little old program director from Upstate New York couldn’t tell the difference between raw fish and a cookie.
“That’s alright, darlin'”, Lynda quickly interjected, always trying to keep me feeling at ease, “we won’t tell anyone you thought the sushi was a cookie.”
And she never did.
But it got me hooked on sushi. Imagine my delight this afternoon when Earl came home with some sushi for dinner.
Now if I could only have a Lorna Doone for dessert.
1 Listen to me throwing around names from my radio days.