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Authors: Portia MacIntosh

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BOOK: Starstruck
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‘Oh,’
is her response.

‘Oh?’

‘Well,
he’s not the kind of guy you really want to be with is he, Nic? Can you imagine
being married to someone like that?’

‘Bloody
hell, Em! I’m not planning on marrying the guy!’

‘Well
what about those rumours that he is always off his face on drugs since the band
hit the big-time?’ she quizzes me.

‘Who
knows if there’s any truth in that? And like it matters. Like I said, we’re
hardly planning our wedding.’

I’m
slightly annoyed that I’m having to justify myself to her, her love life is
just as chaotic as mine, if not more so. I may go for the band boys, but Em
goes for the bad eggs out there in the “real world”. Anyway, I’ve never seen
any of the boys touch anything other than a bit of weed now and then on the bus
(not that I approve) – certainly not the hard stuff like you read in the gossip
columns. The press are just trying to trash the hottest new band on the scene,
simply because they can.

‘In
that case I’m very happy for you,’ Emily says with a smile that I’m not
entirely convinced is genuine.

‘Yeah,
well don’t go hat shopping just yet will you?’I joke, but things are suddenly a
bit awkward.

I’m
touched by her concern but, like I said, I’m not planning on marrying him, and
she doesn’t usually care about moral character of the band boys I “get
involved” with. He’s my big crush, can’t I just enjoy this moment?

‘I’ve
got Vicky living with me, as of last night,’ Emily blurts out.

Now
I’m
shocked. ‘What? Why?’

‘She
had a huge fall out with her mum, she turned up at my mum’s party with her bags
- what was I supposed to do?’

I
don’t know what expression is currently occupying my face, but it must be bad
because Emily reacts to it straight away.

‘I
know you’re not keen on her, but she’s a nice girl and it’s only temporary.’

‘You’re
too nice, Emily Adams. Don’t let her take advantage.’

Our
conversation is cut short by my mobile ringing. It’s Dylan King so I take it in
my office.

‘Hello
rockstar, how are you?’

‘Fucked,’
he replies.

‘What’s
the matter?’ I do worry about him, he’s such a good friend to me and he gets
such a hard time from the press for getting drunk and hooking up with girls. In
a weird way I’m quite proud to be female
and
his friend, rather than just
another one of his conquests. He has a hard time trusting girls so it’s nice to
be so special to him.

‘To
summarise,’ he starts, sounding more serious than I have ever heard him sound
in his life. ‘I’ve knocked up some girl, about seven months ago apparently.
She’s having twins - fucking twins, Nicole. It’s going to come out sooner or
later, she’s saying she’ll go to the press. I don’t know what I’m going to do.’

‘First
of all, calm down. I don’t want to be rude, but are you certain it was you
who... knocked her up?’ I ask, using his words. ‘You’ve been, erm, seeing a few
girls this past year and not the most committed kind...’ I trail off, hoping
he’ll catch my drift. My point is that he’s shagged a lot of random girls.
Random girls who have probably shagged a lot of random guys too.

‘The
timing is right,’ he says before a long pause. ‘And there’s a video.’

‘A
video? Bloody hell, Dylan, when those kids ask you where they came from you’re
going to be able to give them one hell of an answer.’

He
laughs, but he sound worried sick. I guess this was bound to happen sooner or
later. I love Dylan to bits but he really puts it about and he drinks a lot,
which we all know is a recipe for disaster. I think he’s been really lucky to
not have this happen on a weekly basis. Even so, I feel sorry for him.

‘What
are you going to do?’ I ask.

‘I’ve
got a meeting with some guy this afternoon, some publicity crisis specialist
who’s going to work it all out for me, I’ve just got to keep quiet about it
until then.’

‘Good
luck, babe. Try not to worry ok?’ I know it’s easier said than done but what do
you say to a friend who has accidently knocked up a girl he hardly knows? And with
a video souvenir too. They certainly don’t have a card for it at Clinton Cards.

All
around me glamorous, rich and famous folks’ lives are going down the pan and at
the same time mine is getting better and better. It’s true what they say, money
and fame don’t make you happy. When I think about the scandal with Plastic Rap
and their young fans, and now Dylan and his pregnant one-night-stand, it makes
me really glad that I’m not famous. I do stupid things all the time, but
luckily no one cares enough for a newspaper to want to write about it.

I
try to put myself in Dylan’s shoes but I just cannot imagine how it would feel
to have everyone knowing every little detail about you, for your parents to see
the details of your sex life on the front page of a newspaper along with the rest
of the world – your dentist, the people you went to school with, the guy who
serves you in Starbucks. Some of the things I’ve read about Dylan, true or
otherwise, have been so embarrassing, I just can’t imagine the entire country
knowing the dirty little details of my life and me feeling comfortable carrying
on as if nothing were any different. Then again that’s why I became a
journalist - no one cares what we do.

Chapter Seven: The name’s Wilde, Nicole Wilde

 

I
was about fourteen when I went to see my first proper concert and it was
mesmerising. I think that’s when my love of the music biz started - I was just so
fascinated by all of it.

I
remember not long after that I was hanging around outside the arena in Sheffield
with my friends. We would turn up at 10am and just wait for the bands to
arrive, just hoping to catch a glimpse. That time in particular we were
standing at the temporary metal fence in the huge, empty car park when the bus
pulled in. I just stared in amazement as it drove passed us. It seemed huge –
like the band were travelling around in a hotel on wheels. It’s funny, I’ve
been on so many since then that these days they all seem so small to me – tour
buses that is, not bands.

Peeping
through the fence, I watched them unload the bus. After the roadies had done
all the heavy lifting, the doors would open and out strolled the important
looking people like managers and publicists. Then my favourite bit, the band
would step off the bus, usually surrounded by girlfriends, friends and people
they had just picked along the way. I wanted to be one of those people,
following them around like a puppy, being the envy of every girl standing
around in the car park. Well look at me now, I’m living the dream. Well,
almost. Let’s just say things aren’t exactly the way I imagined them to be. I
thought it was going to be pure glamour but the reality of it is rather
different. Ok, so the five star hotels are pretty glam but even the most
beautiful hotel room can seem like a shithole when you add a gang of lads who
invite thirty of their closest friends for an impromptu party. Without
entertainment planned people will make their own fun and that is when things
get messy. There’s nothing glamorous about a luxury bath when it’s nearly full
to the top with beer, vomit, piss, fag ends and anything else that happens to
be within reach.

I
like to think I’m rock and roll, but I remember seeing a huge flat screen TV
taken down off the wall and being promptly thrown off the balcony and into the
river that our formerly beautiful room overlooked. The band thought this was
hilarious – it was no skin off their noses because their record label would
foot the bill – but I’d kill to have a TV like that at my place, it was such a
waste.

When
I find myself alone in a hotel room I’ll order room service, throw on a fluffy
dressing gown and see what the movie channels have to offer. The only things I
have ever thrown off a balcony, well technically spat off a balcony, were
orange Revels – abominable.

Don’t
get me wrong though, I
am
a party animal. Put me in a hotel room with a
bunch of drunk band boys and a few friends and things will always get messy.
I’ve thrown up in a bath or two in my time, but that will not be happening on
this tour, I’m not going to be able to seduce Luke with vomit.

At
the moment I am hurriedly packing my bags so that I don’t miss my train to
Manchester. That’s where I’ll be meeting up with Luke’s band, Two For The Road,
and joining them on the last week of their tour.

Packing
for tour requires two bags. I have a small bag to take to gigs with me - big
enough for my phone, purse, camera and make-up – and a huge bag that could
rival a suitcase for space. Inside this bag I have successfully crammed enough
items of clothing to at least create the illusion that I am wearing a different
outfit every day of the tour, my vital grooming items like my hair brush and
the super-important things like my phone charger. I lift it up before I squash
in the last few items, just to see if it’s too heavy to carry and it almost
certainly is, but I’ll manage.

As
I frantically cram the last few things into the two bags I mentally tick them
off my list of things to take with me, of course the problem with a mental list
is that you have to actually remember the things on it and you can guarantee I
will always forget something.

I’m
very late, would you believe it. It’s nearly 7pm by the time I am making the
short journey from my flat to the train station. I probably should have checked
the train times but I know there is one every half an hour so it should be
fine. I really am so disorganised, but I think I secretly enjoy the drama. A
few taps on my smart phone would tell me what time the train is due and what
time it arrives, but that would be way too easy, and if I start messing around
with my phone then I’ll definitely miss my train.

After
buying my ticket and making my way through the barriers I check the departures
board and learn that not only is my train due to depart in three minutes, but
that it is departing from platform sixteen. Just brilliant.

I
knew that I’d be running late so I decided to get ready for the gig before I
left home. The downside of this is that I’m freezing in my little dress but on
the plus side it will save me loads of time when I get there, and at least I’m
wearing my cosy Ugg boots. My pretty shoes are in my bag, I’ll make the swap
when I get there.

Running
down the steps to platform sixteen I hear the all too familiar whistle, the one
that means the train doors are about to close and I’m about to miss my train.
Before I know what I’m doing I am diving through the closing doors, landing
upright and still holding my things as the doors shut behind me. The train is
absolutely packed and all the people standing in the doorway cheer and applaud
my James Bond style manoeuvre. That is probably the most energetic thing I have
done in a long time, so I smile and curtsy for my audience before composing
myself and trying to find my phone, this is one of those moments in life that
is totally Twitter worthy, in fact I think Twitter was designed with moments
like this in mind.

Impressed
with myself, I wonder how I managed to move so gracefully with my big bag and
of course it is then that I realise I have left my big bag at home. This means
that I have no clean clothes, no hair brush and worst of all no pretty shoes.
Shit. It’s too late to do anything about it now, I’ll just have to try and
manage. I’ve survived on low budget tours, sleeping in the back of dirty old vans
and trying to make my face of make-up last for more than one day – I’ll be fine.
I’m touring with Two For The Road, they have a big, glamorous tour bus and
we’ll be staying in a few hotels. I guess I’ll have to buy some new clothes,
but that is hardly an idea I am against.

About
an hour later the train pulls into Manchester PiccaDillly station and I hop off
far less gracefully than I got on. My friend Gemma is stood waiting for me.
She’s a huge Two For The Road fan and I remember exactly what it’s like to be a
fan, desperate to meet the band, so I told her that if she wanted to come along
I would introduce her.

‘Are
you excited about tonight?’ I ask.

‘I
am so
so
nervous. I don’t know how you keep your cool being friends with
all these bands! Just promise to introduce me to Eddie.’

She
does look nervous, bless her. I remember when I was nervous.

Eddie
is the lead singer of TFTR and like every front-man ever he is gorgeous,
charming and as shallow as a puddle.

I
resist telling Gemma about Luke – it’s not that I don’t trust her, I’m just
worried. What if he acts like we never had that conversation? What if he was
just drunk? I am not going to make a fool of myself tonight, although I’m not
sure how easy that is going to be as I do plan on getting a little bit drunk.

Finally
outside the venue, a big, bald, scary looking doorman ticks our names off the
guestlist. I can hear the music from out here, it’s Two For The Road. I told
you that I was going to be
very
late.

Our
first stop is the bar and it’s only as we’re ordering our drinks that I realise
I am probably just as nervous as Gemma is tonight. It has been such a long time
since I felt nervous about meeting a band, and I know these guys so well, but
this Luke stuff is having a strange effect on me. I’ve always kept my crush on
him under wraps, but now that he might actually fancy me back everything is
different - oh God, I’m sounding like a school girl again.

BOOK: Starstruck
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