So I've had roughly 44 years to consider what I might say, should I one day be lucky enough to meet Tony Visconti, the producer of 'Get It On' and of many subsequent records that ended up in my collection. I had a close call once, on a bitingly cold Winter afternoon in mid-1990's New York, when we passed each other on the street. We were both wrapped up against the fierce sub-zero winds so that our faces were only partially visible, but I recognised him instantly and also instantly decided that I wasn't going to disturb him in those hostile circumstances. I've quietly regretted that decision ever since.
On Wednesday evening (after this show) I found myself in a queue, edging ever closer to Tony Visconti, who was seated signing autographs a few feet away. I had just a couple of minutes of those 44 years left to decide what words I could possibly use to, A) adequately summarise what a profound effect the music he's produced has had on my life, and B) not sound like a gushing buffoon.
As I drew level with him, Tony looked up, smiled and said 'Hello'. This was my moment. 'Do you mind if I shake your hand?' I said. His smile broadened as he gripped my hand firmly. Quite suddenly I knew exactly what I should say. I didn't need a to make a grand statement or sweeping gesture to encapsulate the years of pleasure this man's work had given me. The solution was far simpler and more obvious than that.
'Thank you', I said, shaking his hand warmly and blinking back the stinging in my eyes. 'Thank you.'