Gordon Smart on the power of music and comedy to help those in need

8 June 2020, 18:37 | Updated: 8 June 2020, 18:42

Gordon Smart and Noel Fielding at the Teenage Cancer Trust shows in 2009
Gordon Smart and Noel Fielding at the Teenage Cancer Trust shows in 2009. Picture: Jo Hale/Getty Images

In the latest of his Isolation Diaries, Gordon discovers how to stay charitable while still staying indoors, and the people who live their lives in Lockdown.

I’ve now reached a level of Lockdown madness where my inner monologue is done by that famous Geordie voiceover: “It’s week 14 in the Big Brutha House and there’s light at the end of the tunnel for Gordon…”

For those of you who are new to my ramblings, for the past ten weeks I’ve been keeping a diary of life in Scotland while I wait for an operation on my vocal cords. 

The last time I appeared on Radio X was on the Evening Show on Tuesday March 4th. As a reminder, it was snowing and Brexit was STILL the main news story.

God, I’ve missed those Jean Claude Juncker updates.

Any road up, last week for the first time in a while, I received some good news... I could be getting my operation within four weeks. So long as everyone behaves and we respect the rules, laser surgery will happen and I’ll be back on air. 

Johnny Vaughan was on the wind-up the other day asking what voice I’ll come back with. Isaac Hayes? David Beckham? Joe Pasquale? Stephen Hawking’s computer? Nicki Minaj?

Hopefully, it’ll just be Andy Murray 2.0 - normal service resumed.

Gordon Smart introduces Kasabian at the Royal Albert Hall for Teenage Cancer Trust in 2009
Gordon Smart introduces Kasabian at the Royal Albert Hall for Teenage Cancer Trust in 2009. Picture: Jo Hale/Getty Images

News of an op came at just the right time. I was at the dangerous stage of feeling sorry for myself when the news came in. My bottom lip was hanging out, I was crying out for affirmation and love at every turn and really getting on my wife’s…. nerves. 

Mr Adamson in Edinburgh (same surname as the genius Stuart Adamson from Big Country which I’ve told myself is a good omen) had sent a message around the same time I had a three hour Zoom with some of the young folk at The Christie Hospital in Manchester under the care of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

It was the kick up the arse I really needed.

We’re entitled to a bit of sympathy, a slice of self-pity and a moment sucking our thumbs saying, “woe me”.

But the gang at the Christie pointed out that their lives have been in Lockdown for a while. Some of them for years. So, the square root of f*** all sympathy, and quite right too.

They didn’t moan about their circumstances once. They are experts in self-isolation and they can teach us a few things about appreciating what we have...

They did have the hump about the TCT gigs being postponed at the Royal Albert Hall,  because a number of them were going to be involved in the media team and helping to run the night. And it reminded me how much I love those gigs. 

For those of you who haven’t been before, for a week in March, the TCT takes control of the RAH. Roger Daltrey normally curates the music and there is a comedy night to kick things off. Noel Fielding and Russell Brand have been huge supporters over the years. 

Gordon with special guests Jack Chester and Lucy Rich at the TCT shows in 2009
Gordon with special guests Jack Chester and Lucy Rich at the TCT shows in 2009. Picture: Jo Hale/Getty Images

I’ve been very lucky to be a part of the night on a few occasions and introduce the bands onstage, but more importantly, some of the teenagers.

The line-ups are incredible. A young lad called Ed Sheeran opened the show to about ten people in 2009. He went on to do alright for himself. Jimmy Page has played with Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher famously joined Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon to play Tender in 2013. It was a truly magical moment.

The charity needs to raise £5m per year to stay afloat and without the RAH shows, there is a massive hole in the funding.

So I thought I’d remind you about them, so you can disappear down a YouTube rabbit hole and catch up on some of the iconic rock’n’roll moments they have created.

I spent an hour after writing that paragraph watching Them Crooked Vultures, Kasabian, Paul Weller, Sir Paul McCartney and a bit of our very own Matt Morgan doing a show there in 2013.

In 2010 we got booted out of the venue by security after played a solo show. It was about 5am when things wound up. 

I’ll never forget that night for one of my live highlights of all time - Weller and Noel dueting on The Butterfly Collector in 2010. Check it out, and if you enjoyed it and have some spare change, make a donation to TCT.

So next time you’re moaning about living under lockdown for another few weeks, spare a thought for those people who have got their own personal lockdown stretching out ahead of them.

In fact, a lot of people – and charities – are struggling under the pressure of COVID-19, which is why Radio X’s charity Make Some Noise is helping out.

It all climaxes with a day of fundraising on Friday 19 June, but before that we’re asking for your help by entering our competition to win a Fender Jazzzmaster guitar signed by Noel Gallagher himself and some other money can’t buy items you can bid on in our special auction.

Noel Gallagher signed guitar
Noel Gallagher signed guitar. Picture: Radio X

So dig deep (if you can!)