Timmy Mallett, Tony the Tiger, Jesus

Our resident columnist Fat Roland remembers the time he met one of the guys from Orbital, his all-time favourite band. Except he doesn’t actually remember it because his brain was full of drugs, absinthe and, er, farm animals

illustration: steve appleton

I’ve met loads of famous people. Timmy Mallett, Tony the Tiger, Jesus, loads. It makes sense because I look like a sculpture made from the fatty tears of burger-Elvis.

I’ve seen enough telly biopics to know that fame is a curse, so I feign cool nonchalance when I do meet a star. I tut and shuffle my feet. When they namedrop their summer blockbuster, I just mutter, “Well, I was in a school play once, so shut up Keanu”.

Until Tribal Gathering. This was a crusty swamp of muddied ravers in which, to survive, you had to hoover as much stuff up your nose as possible: drugs, sherbet, absinthe, soil, farm animals, the lot. I was with a friend I shall call Pappy O’Flopwomble. Her name has been changed to protect her identity.

Pappy and I talked, danced with strangers, laughed into the night. But on the way from the line dancing tent to the Macarena tent, I spotted Thingy Hartnoll from Orbital. You know, the one with the headlamps. No, not that one, I mean the other one. I loved Orbital more than reheated quarter pounders. The fanboy in me exploded.

He was walking towards us! Thingy from Orbital! Maybe I should say something as he passed? I prepared my approach. I would either go for the legs, hoofing him like a horny piglet, or I would pretend to stumble into him like a bad romantic comedy. “Sorry, I’ve got 7-Up all over your tabard, let me just… take it off… mmmm, tabard.” Was he wearing a tabard? I don’t know.

Anyway, the point is, while I was planning an awkward fanboy introduction, Thingy said, “Hi Pappy” and Pappy said, “Hi Thingy”. Turns out Thingy Orbital knew my friend Pappy O’Flopwomble. I was suddenly in a three-way conversation with my hero.

Naturally, I tutted and shuffled my feet and played it all cool, like. Nonchalant, yeah? It was then that I discovered there are consequences to hoovering up drugs, sherbet, absinthe, soil and farm animals for 24 hours straight. The comedown. A chemical crash stomped on my brain like a neural Godzilla and I was reduced to a series of grunts and dribbles. Whatever was said, whatever chats and laughs Pappy and Thingy enjoyed, all I could perceive was a world melting into a mess of mental lard.

I’ve met loads of famous people. But meeting that hero will forever remain lost in a crusted swamp.

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You’ve found him! Our so-called columnist has moved. He is now officially the sport pages of electronic music. New home, same level of delusion…