My first TV appearance was on a pop music show in the Netherlands. The Dutch TV company flew me out from London to Amsterdam for the day and when I arrived I was ushered into the artist’s make-up room and plastered with an orange paste that they rubbed all over my face. Apparently, it was necessary to make you look healthy and “normal” under the large studio lights. I had worked in bars, clubs, colleges, churches and schools around the Netherlands for a few years. In fact my first major tour took me around the country from Holland to Friesland, the beautiful flat lands of the north. This is where I first met Joop Van De Meer, an ex city cop who used to chase down the bad guys in quite dramatic ways – which I can’t tell you about here because I think his methods were “unconventional” to say the least!
Joop worked for Youth For Christ and set up tours for me around Friesland on many occasions. ‘Christian’ Coffee Bars were popular in those days, set up in retail areas and even on a number of converted barges, which were great fun to perform in. They gave a new meaning to “rock ‘n roll!” One time I was playing in concert on one of these converted barges, when a druggy approached the small stage area brandishing a knife! Not sure if he didn’t appreciate my music, or whether he just wanted my attention! Well, he certainly did get a lot of attention and was man-handled to a place of safety off the boat.
I have never taken illegal drugs, but there were times when I felt light headed in the bars and clubs where I played around Europe – the atmosphere could get a little smokey!
I ended up appearing on TV many times during my time as a professional musician, but this one occasion in Amsterdam was the only time I forgot to get all the orange make-up off my face before leaving the studio! I was in such a hurry to catch my flight back to the UK, I managed to travel all the way home with an orange face! I didn’t understand why I attracted strange looks from people, until I got back on English soil and looked in a mirror!
I’m still prone to doing things that end up being quite embarrassing for me and my long suffering wife, who has got used to my funny ways after all these years. I don’t set out to do stupid things, but when navigating life, I sometimes can’t help it!
I take heart in the words of King David in the Old Testament: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24
There’s a lot going on in and around church in the next few weeks. See information inside.