My Day With Ray
It is not often that you get the opportunity to be on television, so I could barely
contain myself while on the phone to my girlfriend to tell her the good news. In my hand
was an invitation from Nina Ferguson for Simon +1 to attend X-Ray Vision on Thursday 16th
May 1996, his now famous last appearance on MTV. I already had the priveledge of meeting
Ray the year before on a memorable Most Wanted while Biohazzard were performing. It was my
intention to be in Club Bed that night, but too many fans had turned up outside so they
decided not to let us in. Pathetic Pat was to make a return (with an inflatable friend ?)
after a brief absence, and the evening ended with a marvelous Clean Our Souls involving
the Biohazzard fans and a suspender belt which came to a violent end. This experience only
added to the excitement as this time I knew I was going to be inside the studio....
It had rained all day on the Thursday, but Clare (my girlfriend) was quite
happy to shelter from the rain in one of the better pubs in Camden Town. The studios are
in one of my favourite areas in London so I knew of a few bars to start the evening and to
calm our nerves. Like any other studio, MTV has a number of big security guards but they
were very friendly and got us out of the rain with our passes as quickly as possible. The
crew were already running about and Ray was practicing a scripted scene for the show. We
were moved into the canteen which was recognisable from past shows and issued ear plugs,
probably due to the excessive noise from White Zombie. A table full of beer was welcoming
and it was clear that this was a special night for everyone involved, including most of
the MTV staff who were going to give Ray a great send off.
Showtime came quickly. Clare and I positioned ourselves on top of the stairs so we could
see both Ray at his desk and the stage at the other end of the studio. A clever start to
the show carried on from the previous eventful week in Germany, with Ray wearing his
rubber suit (still drenched in beer !). George Clinton was one of the first guests who I
will not forget for a while. Ray and George together were brillant but Im not sure if they
wanted to broadcast everything he had to say. One of his stories involved a week in a
padded room, a lot of different drugs and a group of University students watching his
every move.After an interview and performance from Tina Turner, played to the audience on
big screens, it was time for the Mad Cam game. Little did I know that this was going to be
my five minutes of fame. Ray and entourage moved around to the front of the stairs and
promptly requested a couple from the audience. A number of people put their hands up but
for some reason, Ray was intent on getting a couple from the very back. Clare and I were
ushered forward by the others in the audience and found ourselves on stage next to Ray and
Nina with an audience of about fifty people in the studio, and MILLIONS at the other end
of the cameras! We had no idea what was going to happen at this point, although all I
could think about was controlling my bladder as the beer had worked South and we could not
leave the studio for the toilet during showtime!
For those of you that remember the show, Clare was asked to recognise me blindfolded.
Two other lads from the audience joined us on stage and we were informed that Clare was
required to recognise me by putting her hand down the front of each of our 'Private
Parts'. Now I really needed the toilet. I dont know how to describe my feelings at this
point, knowing that millions of viewers, including our parents and friends, were watching
my girlfriend arouse my manhood on live T.V. You could say I was happy, how many people
have done that!! Thankfully Clare guessed correctly, we walked away with £150 and a great
story to tell. Im eternally grateful that my video recorded on cue so I've got a permanent
copy of my greatest T.V. moment.
The rest of the show is a blur. I did make it to the toilet and returned to see White
Zombie perform for the second time that evening. Ray left the studio in a typically silly
fashion, by means of a small electric buggy. His vast height and the fact that the buggy
was meant for a child made for a comical end to the show. At this point everyone became
very emotional. Nina and some of the other crew were presented flowers, Ray had a cuddle
from everyone and we said our farewell to allow the tearful crew to be together.
Back home, we were heros. People in the pubs, on the street and even in the petrol station
recognised me and all wanted to know if it was set up in advance. I had no idea what was
going to happen , but on the train journey home Clare confessed that Nina had phoned my
Mum to find out if they could use us for a part of the show and embarrass me. Mother had
informed Clare about the conversation but was told that it would not happen as what they
had planned did not include the fact that this would be their last show. The crew made a
'Best Of Ray Cokes' tribute program which was broadcast the following Sunday evening. It
was compulsive viewing given the previous week, and the landlord of the pub we drank in
allowed the big screen, normally reserved for football, to be used. Much to my horror, my
only regret about my evening with Ray was being shown to everyone again....
What was I thinking about when I bought that horrible orange shirt ?
And this shout goes out to Simon for his input !