Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

How Garvey beat Olympic booze ban

Guy Garvey, frontman of rock band Elbow, who has revealed how the group beat a booze ban at the Olympic closing ceremony

Guy Garvey, the frontman of rock band Elbow, has revealed how the group beat a booze ban at the Olympic closing ceremony to start a backstage knees-up attended by figures such as Timothy Spall.

He explained that they managed to smuggle a consignment of drinks into the stadium as the Mercury Prize-winning act featured in the finale line-up, by stashing it in the equipment brought in by fellow performers Madness.

Guy, who is also a presenter on BBC Radio 6 Music, made his confession during an interview by Kirsty Young for Radio 4's Desert Island Discs to be broadcast today.

The group make no secret of their fondness for drinking and often knock back a few drinks to get them in the mood to perform.

Guy, whose song One Day Like This has become something of a TV sporting anthem and was performed on the night, said his overriding memory of the night is enjoying the company of Timothy who was dressed for his role as Winston Churchill at the event.

Recalling the drink ban, he said: " We were told it was a dry backstage until 10 o'clock. No booze. And I was like 'alright, who's saying that? Who's 'they'?'. And they were like ' well the people producing the closing ceremony, and I was like 'yes, who are they? What gives them the authority?'

"I got really stroppy which is not like me. So we ended up smuggling in a case of Guinness, a case of lager, a load of spirits."

Asked how he had taken it past security, he said: " I don't want to get anyone in trouble, but in Madness's flight cases. Them boys are great, I'm sure they wouldn't have minded - in fact, they partook so there you go.

"But then it was amazing - word got round that Elbow had the booze and we had the great and the good ... Brian May knocked on (the door) for a beer. Timothy Spall was my favourite.

"Me and Tim Spall, now, are really good buddies. I had a great night with him. He had Kate Moss coming up to him and all these wonderful beautiful models and he was still dressed as Churchill and we're well sozzled."

He went on: "T he next day on the train home I thought 'I really like him, I really hope I get to speak to him again' and then I thought everybody in the country loves Timothy Spall, you know. and then I got a phone call from him and he said 'Guy old boy I feel like I have know you for a hundred years. That's my lasting memory of the Olympic ceremony."

Guy, who has won acclaim for the lyrics he has produced on the band's six albums, said he hoped to try his hand at a more extensive literary endeavour in the near future.

He told Kirsty: " I'm happiest when I am working. I am thinking about writing a book, just to see if I can do it. "I've realised that trying things and failing at them, quite spectacularly, publicly I'm actually quite drawn to it in a twisted kind of way. So I'm just going to try stuff."

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