Keith exploded into the room and started prancing around like Mussolini.
I shuffled in in my filthy pinstripe, festival straw and cowshit in my badly bleached hair. Pockets was last, giggling like a loon.

A group of beautifully groomed young people spun round like a brace of startled fawns. And Alex James stood bolt upright, a glass of newly poured champagne in his frozen fingers.

‘Er hi Keith, how’s it going?’ goes Alex James out of Blur.

‘I’m off my fucking tits you ponce! Why aren’t you at the festival? Afraid to get shit on your trainers?’

A plangent trip hop record slowly revolved on a Bang and Oulafssen turntable. I believe it was Portishead, and I’m not sure my memory is reliable on this point, but I think I saw a Fondue Set.

Feeling dizzy, I planted myself next to a pretty, glossy-brown haired girl in a pencil skirt. She looked cross.

‘Who are you?’ she interrogated.

‘Er, I’m Orlando, hello…’

‘How do you know Keith?’

‘Um, I just met him…my band played on the NME stage earlier today.’

‘Oh really. Should I have heard of you?’

Alex James stood in the middle of the room looking awkward and angry. The only other place to sit was next to me, because I had guzumped the space next to his exquisite and increasingly hostile girlfriend.

‘Er…we’re called the Alabama 3.’

‘Why are you called that? You’re not American.’

I falteringly explained that our bands used the semiotics of American popular culture as a means of critiquing the covert ideology within it. I told her that the name Alabama 3 was a reference to a famous civil rights case in which 2 black men, falsely accused of the rape of a white woman, were lynched by the Ku Klux Klan.

A look of appalled horror flitted across her lovely face

‘So you’re racists then?’

Jesus Christ. Is this a wind up? Could anyone be that stupid? Did she just ask me if the Alabama 3 were a racist pop band?

I look up at Alex James, who has an expression on his face like he’s just eaten a trowel. I look at Pockets who looks at me, tittering, egging me on.

‘Yeah,’ I say, ‘that’s right. We’re the racist pop band. It’s the new thing. You know, we’ve tried egalitarian politics in music, now it’s time to try something new. Yeah, that’s right darling, racist pop, it’s the way forward. It’s the natural progression from Britpop.’

I can’t actually remember what happened next. I think it was so humiliating I’ve blanked it out. But an hour later, after a two-mile walk from the hotel, I found myself standing alone outside the festival staring pensively into the lights of a children’s carousel. At this point Keith Allen pulled up in his Vagrant-powered taxi.

‘Fuck those cunts, come on mate, let’s drive back to London and score some more coke’

‘Er, no thanks Keith. I think I’m going to go back to the bus. See you next year.’

Keith gave me a pitying look and took off into his trampmobile.

Back in the pram, as I lay in my bunk and attempted to masturbate to the eidetic image of Sarah Cox’s receding arse, I understood very clearly that my role in the history of popular music was destined to be a minor one.

That may be so, but I feel at least partially vindicated by a picture I saw in the Daily Mail about two months ago. It’s of Alex James at his own gourmet food based festival, or ‘Feastival’, wearing a tweed jacket, flanked by David Cameron and Jeremy Clarkson. So maybe I planted a seed that night… Alex has recently announced in the press that he’s ‘working on a new Mozzarella.’ This is surely a secret signal to the inner circle, to the cognoscenti that change is coming.

A seed. A small seed, but one that nevertheless, will one day grow into a mighty oak. A mighty oak that one day might be felled by the glittering axe of history, grasped by the sturdy hand of Jamie Oliver and converted into a massive fondue set, an earthly chalice full to the brim with rancid, cheesy, spunk.

© Orlando Harrison 2013