Gordon Smart on celebrity bad behaviour in pubs

6 July 2020, 18:32 | Updated: 9 July 2020, 12:13

Gordon Smart, about to introduce Lionel Blair to Oasis
Gordon Smart, about to introduce Lionel Blair to Oasis. Picture: Gordon Smart

As the lockdown eases across the UK, our man recalls some outrageous memories involving the PUB. And Lionel Blair meeting Oasis.

Week 17 in Lockdown up in Scotland. Our pubs are still closed, unlike my comrades down south, who are free to return to their second homes.

I am not bitter about that at all. Honest.

I’d like to thank Richard Osman for being the yardstick of social distancing during lockdown and for this beautiful Tweet: “After four months of not being able to go to the pub, it’s been so lovely, finally, to not go to the pub out of choice.”

Very true, Richard. Still two weeks before my op and then recovery before I’ll be ordering my first pint of Tennents Lager at the airport on my way back to Radio X in August (hopefully all being well, cross your fingers for me, eh?)

I had the pleasure this week of seeing my mentor, advisor, life-coach, golfing partner and gym-buddy, the great Johnny Vaughan, enjoying a beer at one of his favourite restaurants.

It was great to see such a shy, introverted young man bravely embracing the new way of life.

The Radio X Team on the lash in Dublin last year
The Radio X Team on the lash in Dublin last year. Picture: Gordon Smart

Of course, that’s not the case at all. Tough John, JV - or “Toots” as I call him - is a true man of the pub. Hours of stories to tell, anecdotes aplenty, and the constitution of a much larger human being. He has hollow legs. It’s remarkable where he puts it.

Any road up, it got me thinking about some of the memorable pub occasions I’ve been lucky enough to experience in my life.

Last year I went to Dublin with a rabble or Radio X folk. We started on the Guinness at about 7am and spent the rest of the day visiting some of the greatest pubs in the city. It was such a special day of pub stories, giggling, music and random conversations with people from all over the planet. Ended with me being kicked out of a Mumford & Sons gig twice. And I lost my new glasses.

One of the best pub days in London is always in October around the Q Awards. Here’s a proper tip for music fans - find out when the bash is and get yourself along to the pubs near the venue. Everyone goes out en masse afterwards. Paolo Nutini got in trouble in the street one year for answering the call of nature. I had the misfortune of seeing a well-known female American singer using a sink as a urinal and had the pleasure of seeing Matt Cardle being mistaken for Matt Morgan all afternoon.

One year, I think it was 2009, Oasis picked up some awards. We ended up in a pub around the corner from Park Lane. Another black tie event was happening around the corner and I happened to bump into Lionel Blair on my way to the bogs.

I grabbed Lionel and said Oasis would love to meet him. He was a real hero of theirs. So I dragged him downstairs into the bar and opened the doors. A chorus burst out, led by Noel and our pal Scully: “Lionel, give us a tune. Lionel, Lionel give us a tune!”

He was in tears, held his hand to his chest and said: “I never thought you chaps would be fans!” He stayed for a drink and that was that.

Foo Fighters at the 2005 MTV European Music Awards Lisbon
Foo Fighters at the 2005 MTV European Music Awards Lisbon. Picture: KMazur/WireImage/Getty Images

The MTV Awards in Lisbon, back when Taylor Hawkins was drinking, was a special evening in a bar. He was wandering around with his shirt off asking if anyone would punch him in the stomach to show how strong he was. Chris Martin refused. Robbie Williams refused. But I’d had a skinful and offered to help him out. Sadly, I missed his stomach and hit him in the heart, which had quite a frightening result. We both lived to tell the tale.

Scotland once inexplicably played a friendly match against Brazil at The Emirates in London. I hired a pub with a dear friend of mine, the author Neil Forsyth, and it got massively out of hand. The Tartan Army took over a street in North London and the Landlord had to go out for more supplies by 2pm, we had drunk him dry. A guitar was ripped from the wall and Caledonia by Dougie Maclean was played by a pal of mine with some Brazilians joining in for good measure.

You’d have to go some length to find a better combination of samba and well-oiled Scotsmen, in the sunshine in a beer garden.

Right, that’s enough for now. I’ve given myself a thirst.