I bumped into Ian Hunter when I was working in the lanes, Brighton. I explained to him that I was an artist and I suggested that I could do his portrait if he liked. He accepted the offer and three weeks later I phoned him to say the picture was finished and ready to collect.
Ian arranged a time to meet me at the clock tower in the centre of Brighton and with traveling over from Worthing he asked me to keep a look out for his red car. It all seemed so unreal. It's not everyday that I stand in a busy town centre with a picture under my arm waiting to be picked up by a rock star and with a very big question on my mind (would he like the picture?). Portraits are very personal and he might not think it looks anything like him (I just hope he likes it).
His car pulled up and I placed the picture on the back seat, his first comment when seeing it through the clear plastic wrapping was it look's great! I felt relief. There is nothing worse than an embarrassed silence of disappointment or disapproval.
What I did realise in a very short time and which helped put me at ease was how pleasant and friendly he was. I really thought that our meeting would be very brief, just a quick chat, a thank you and then say our goodbyes. I was pleasantly surprised as we were driving along through Brighton he suggested going to my place for a coffee and a chat and to be able to look at the picture, also I think that having his son Jessie with him at that time it would help keep his son a little more occupied. I know it sounds crazy but the first thing that went through my mind was oh my god is the flat tidy. It was like having royalty come to pay a house visit. Did I clear away the dishes that were loitering on the draining board, was the lounge presentable not scattered with papers and books that it so often is.
We found a place to park which isn't easy in Brighton and before leaving the car I pulled out the picture from it's plastic wrapping for Ian to get a better look. I could see that he was thrilled with it, which made all the hard work in getting it done so worthwhile.
While I was making the coffee and his son was busy zooming around the lounge playing with his toy car Ian asked if he could have one of my cigarettes, I said 'of course!' and conversation began to flow, telling me how he trains and strengthens his vocal, a tip that I could reveal but won't. He mentioned he had written new material of about 40 songs worth and also his acquaintance with David Bowie and the song that Bowie had written especially for his band Mott the Hoople called 'All the young dudes'.
The time then came for Ian to leave and as I saw him make his way down the stairs I stood there for a few moments in stunned disbelief that I had just shared time in the presence of a legend Ian Hunter from Mott the Hoople.
One thing that Ian did comment on before leaving was that he noticed a large drawing I had done of David Bowie which I had hanging on the wall with pride. Ian said 'David would love that picture'.