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Sunday, 2 December 2007
(From a feature published in The Western Mail on November 24th 2007)Last weekend, award winning Welsh novelist Rachel Trezise had a dream come true when she got to meet her rock star husband - sorry, hero. Only this time, she didn't have to win a kids' competition to do so, she says.
Eight years ago, one year before my debut novel was published, I was sitting in my brother's passenger seat, in a car park in Stroud, while he bought parts for his motorbike.
It was a regular fortnightly journey.
He wanted company and usually I had nothing better to do. When he was in the shop, I sat outside, smoking his Benson & Hedges until I turned dizzy.
I'd been there for almost an hour, watching raindrops whipping on the windscreen when I opened the glove box and found a Mars Bar he'd bought at the Cardiff Gate garage.
On the wrapper were details of a competition the company was running, something about collecting five tokens and writing a small paragraph on why you deserved your dreams to come true, for the grand prize of having your dreams made true.
Aware that it was designed for eleven year olds with terminal illnesses, but twenty-one and bored as hell, I tried to deduce what my big dream was, and it was obvious; to meet Kelly Jones. Five minutes with the front man of the Stereophonics and he was bound to fall for my inimitable charm. We'd get married, I'd get published, everything would fall into place.
The band's debut album, Word Gets Around, had been released two years earlier, a life affirming collection of songs about growing up in the big mental hospital that is the south Wales valleys. I empathised with every lyric, not to mention the whole handsome spectacle of a pretty man strumming the life out of a cherry red Gibson SG. A little later came their second contribution, Performance & Cocktails, about the world they witnessed from a tour bus window, out of the Cynon Valley and into the world.
I was an Erasmus student living in Ireland, meeting people from Europe and America, and listening to it continually.
Our lives were cycling in tandem, Kelly up ahead, splashed across the pages of the music press, me behind, still unpublished, still unknown, but eternally hopeful. Together, we could have been a Welsh uber-couple, a writing partnership. We could have run the world. The extent of my obsession sent me home to the Rhondda where I bought five more chocolate bars and wrote and posted the little paragraph. To no avail.
A few months later I met my husband, and immediately knew that he would eventually become my husband. It was a bit of a predicament, trying to work out where my so far unrequited relationship with Kelly Jones was going to fit in.
When the new beau asked me where we should go on our first date, I answered with a fairly unrepentant 'Cwmaman.'
I'd decided, in my then usual neurotic fashion, to personally go looking for Kelly Jones. There was only a mountain between us after all. If I couldn't find him, I’d marry the beau. So on a Monday night in January 2000, we sat in a pub called the Boncyff, near Kelly's parental home, underneath a plaque which said 'Millionaire's Corner,' erected in honour of the local lottery winners.
I stared at the door all night, waiting for fate to deliver my jackpot. And nobody came. Fast forward seven years, three books and two literary prizes, and I have married my boyfriend, but he has always lived with a threat hanging over his head; my constant belief that I would one day catch up with Mr Jones, because if my life has taught me anything, it is that when you arm yourself with as much ambition and determination as I have, dreams do have a funny habit of coming true, with or without Mars Bar wrappers.
When you want something enough, the whole world conspires in helping you to get it. In the summer I met a man called Martin Davies, designer of Red Dragonhood street wear. He asked me to model a T-shirt because Charlotte Church had pulled out. I said yes. I liked the T-shirt. I like all his T-shirts.
He arrived at my house one day with a bag full of them. After the photographs were taken, he told me, with no knowledge of my Kelly Jones fixation, that Richard from the Stereophonics was also a Red Dragonhood model, that they lived in the same neighbourhood, that they were good friends.
'As a thank you,' he said, 'I'll introduce you to the band.' That's how I came to be standing next to Kelly Jones this week in an after-show party for the Pull The Pin World Tour, celebrating their sixth studio album, my husband standing cautiously in close proximity, everything fallen neatly into place.
'If you’re on your fourth book now,' Kelly says, 'You're catching up with us.' More than he'll ever know.
Posted at 16:29 |
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