Six weeks ago I received a letter with “OHMS” and "Cabinet Office" printed on the outside of it. Very worrying, I'd just got my driving licence clean again and I couldn't remember doing anything else wrong. I'm not going to tell you where I was when I opened the letter.
Apparently, at some future date, I have to go to Buckingham Palace, where I will be told that I am a "Member of the Order of the British Empire" that's MBE to all you lesser mortals. Then I get a medal pinned on my chest, probably by the Queen. Well I never.
When I had collected myself, I accused Moira of using her many and various connections, but she denied all knowledge, and I can always tell when Moira is fibbing - she would be useless as a spy or a politician.
So after some thought, I made one phone call, and that person was pretty useless at denying it. Giggles are a clue aren't they? Uproarious laughter is a real give away.
I managed to extract the full story: It was all started by the family of one particular musician with the help of the Heritage Crafts Association. Between them they made contact with lots of other people, who then all wrote rather nice little letters of recommendation and support. The list includes young musicians and established stars from all over, people who have worked with me, and even other guitar makers. Then I had to be secretly vetted. I would have enjoyed that if I’d known but I didn't feel a thing, what a shame.
I am told the process took about fifteen months. I don't know how they all kept it secret for so long, because I found it very hard to keep my mouth shut for six weeks. I really had no idea, but thinking back, there were a few odd little comments made over the last year - things like "Have you got your Knighthood yet Roger?” Or, after the conversation had been sneakily steered, "how would you feel if you got one of those?"
It's all coming back to me now. All those little clues that I missed. I shall be having serious words.
It does feel rather weird. I know there are lots of strong opinions about this sort of thing, particularly in the music world, and I do hope this doesn’t upset any of you. From my point of view, everyone needs acknowledgement and praise to feel good about what they do and encourage them to carry on. The people who use "my" guitars get applause every night, which must be part of why they do it, but I don’t get the chance to go on stage for applause (be thankful for that), so I see this as a pat on the back to keep me going. It’s a nice feeling and I intend to enjoy it.
The award is being given "For Services to Guitar Making, Music, and Heritage Crafts". I'm particularly pleased about the "Music" bit. That's what started it all, and kept it all going for me. The Crafts bit is a real honour as well; people that actually make things need all the encouragement they can get. It does feel a bit like when an artist on stage points me out in the audience, one part of me wants to stand up and take a bow, the other part of me wants to hide under the table. Gemini again.
I did wonder if I would be granted an annual stipend, but apparently not, and I don't even get my own castle. Moira will, no doubt, get a new hat, but we will have to buy that ourselves.
So - thank you, to all those who took part in this. I truly appreciate it. I promise that I will still speak to you, as long as when you get off your knees, you tug your forelock if you have one, and use appropriate words like "your honour, sir, your lordship etc"
If any of you have further influence, is there any chance we could get a castle? I'd be very happy with just a tiny one. As long as it’s big enough to keep Moira's hats and my head.
I’ve just realised something. Stop Press! Hold the book! I need to add another page!
Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.