Here’s a story that will melt every fangirls heart. It will make all you girlies fall in love with Rik even more than you ever thought possible. Make sure you have a good few minutes spare, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy this memory – it’s delightful! Huge thanks to Clare for sending in this beautifully written memoir:
Thank you to: The lovely Clare
So, I spent most of the late 80s/early 90s chasing down my heroes at various stage doors, but the one who always escaped me, and the one who I really, really wanted to meet and thank, was Rik – he’d got me through so much. So when Waiting for Godot was announced I knew it was the perfect opportunity. I was 17. London was my turf, my nearest city – I knew what I was doing. It was a given that we would meet before the show when he was going in (we’d have to rush for a train afterwards so we usually did stage doors before shows). I absolutely took it for granted. I’d even written a letter to give to him detailing everything I wanted to say as I knew I’d be a gibbering wreck and would forget it all. So you can imagine how delighted I was to find when we got there at around 4.30 (nice and early, just to be sure) that I hadn’t factored in that it was a matinee day. We got chatting to the stage door guy and he told us that everyone was already in, the show was up, and Rik wouldn’t be leaving the theatre until after the evening show. That’s why no other fans were there. I was genuinely devastated. My friends weren’t so bothered – they liked Rik, but not like I did – and in my dramatic teenage brain I honestly felt like my life had been torn from me!! So my best friend formulated a plan. There in the street she wrote Rik a letter on paper borrowed from the stage door guy just begging him to come to the door to see me between shows. At this point I was so upset I’d forgotten all about the letter I had for him in my bag. The stage door guy promised to pass it on and said to come back at around 6.30, on case he could sort something out. I felt it was pretty hopeless (and nearly stepped under a bus as I simply couldn’t think straight) as we wandered around Piccadilly until it was time.
So, anyway, we went back, and the stage door was open as they always were in those days (have you seen the crowd control that has to go on these days?!). My heart sank as someone else was on the door who had no idea of whatvhad gone on. Then out of nowhere the original guy appeared holding the letter my friend had written. “Recognise this?” he said. “Come on in, girls.” And he took us inside and closed the door, and almost straight away there was this crash bang clatter of someone running really chaotically down a staircase, and out from behind a wall sprang our Rik. This ball of fire and energy and love, with charm absolutely dripping from him. He said he’d read the letter, asked which one was me, and spent a long time with us chatting about the show, the train we had to catch etc. He said he’d make the show extra special for us that night. He was also very concerned that he’d miss his chance to see the pie man who delivered pies to the theatre…so anyway, photos were taken, things were signed, crappy garage flowers (cringe) given, pecks on cheeks snatched, and then it was time to leave, and this was the really, really special bit. We all said our goodbyes and started to leave. I was, of course, last, as I just wanted to look at his face for as long as I could (this all makes me sound like an utter weirdo but honestly, I was just besotted). And as I was walking away this hand grabbed my arm and pulled me back. Guess who?! He pulled me back, turned me around put his free hand under my hair around the back of my neck and full on kissed me. No joke – right on the lips, full on, a bit lingering. I was absolutely frozen to the spot. He pulled away, gave me a massive grin and just said “Bye, Clare” before disappearing through the nearest door to (presumably) find the pie man. My friends had to hold me up!
At the curtain call he spotted us in the stalls and waved and winked as if he knew us.
I had had to go back round to the stage door in the interval to leave the letter I’d written (which I’d finally remembered) and a few days later I received the New Statesman photo & note in an envelope hand-addressed by him.
It was an experience I still hold so precious to this day, and after he died it felt even more poignant.
He really knew how to make us fans feel special. Xx
My heart melted when I read this, it is a truly lovely example of the way Rik was with his fans. He didn’t have to come down in-between shows, kiss her or even send a hand addressed signed photo on later, but he did!! He seemed to instinctively know exactly how to make his fans feel special. She caught him at just the right moment too, perhaps on a post show high and in a really good mood!
An experience like that is going to stay with you forever. I’m really pleased you felt you could share it. Thank you to Sweet Stupid Sexy Clare X
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