The King and I: Catching Up With Damian Lewis at Rough Trade East

Damian Lewis and his fabulous band had a special little gig at Rough Trade East in London followed  by Damian signing the copies of ‘Mission Creep’ vinyls and CDs gig attendees received with their ticket purchase. I have already shared with you here every single detail I remember from the insightful chat, fantastic gig and the intimate sighting. This post is for those of you who enjoy reading about my catching up shenanigans with Damian. I am happy to report the chat + gig + signing was bookended with some fun moments with our favorite guy!

First things first. There are a few people that I am grateful for making this evening unforgettable for me. Steve, Vicky, Jack, Harvey, and of course Damian himself.  Thank you so very much for making me feel like a team member. And huge thanks go to Tsveti, my wonderful friend and a die-hard Damian Lewis fan, for the photos and videos she made for Fan Fun!

So… Fans that know me well know that while I have met Damian so many times over the last 8+ years, every event is still a very special occasion – so much so that a few hours before the event, I cannot sit still anymore 🙂 And the event at Rough Trade East is no exception. So I arrive at the venue at 4:45pm – 2 hours and 15 minutes before the doors open!

And as I think I am here very early, guess what, fans start to  show up only a couple of minutes later – so I am not the only fan that cannot sit still… 🙂 As I make friends with the fans in the line, Damian’s manager Steve Abbott arrives. I told you Steve was my hero in the gig post but did not explain why. Steve, a very well-known music manager, is such a kind and down-to-earth human being. And he invites me and Tsveti inside so we do not need to stand in line, but more importantly could see the soundcheck. Thank you, Steve, from the bottom of my heart. You are my hero!

Oh, and I also give Steve the Kenilworth print that I got for him to celebrate his beloved Luton Town’s promotion to the Premiere League after 31 years. I thought  of him when I saw the print earlier in the day at the Spitalfields Market since I heard Damian saying on his BBC Radio 6 interview with Gemma Cairney a few weeks ago  that his manager Steve Abbott should still be drunk from Luton Town’s promotion 🙂 Steve asks me to give the print to Damian and say I thought of him when I saw the Kenilworth print. FUN!

As Tsveti and I are playing in the record store, and taking pics with Damian’s record, I notice some action at the store entrance! So, ladies and gentlemen, here is how a real rock star makes his entrance to the venue. And I still can’t believe I was able to film this…

…and as you can see, he notices me at the end of the video!

I have my question ready for him: “So, Damian, the talk of the town is… THIS…”, I say, pointing to the tattoo on his chest. “Is it real or is it a Will Radley tattoo?” For those of you that do not know, Will Radley is one of the twin vampire brothers Damian is bringing to life in his new movie The Radleys. And since Will is a practicing vampire, a naughty boy, it makes sense he has a tattoo 🙂

We noticed the tattoo in the pictures from Damian’s gig at Black Deer Festival, and my reaction  changed from “Whaaaaaaa????” to “This should be a Will Radley tattoo” as I calmed down… so I need to clarify the tattoo situation right away!

Damian’s first reaction: “I was very drunk Saturday night…” Then he laughs and says: “No comment.” “NDA”, Steve adds… 😀 As my Twitter friend Anabel Stark rightly pointed out the tattoo seems to have been made to look old. So I am 99.9% sure that it is for the movie. So… hello, Will! 🙂

As they prepare the stage for the soundcheck, we have a bit more time with Damian. As I promised Steve, I give Damian the Kenilworth print saying that I thought of him when I saw it at the Spitalfields Market as I promised Steve earlier…

…it is so funny that Damian says “I got really  drunk” when I notice more tattoos on his arms! 🙂 And because he tells Tsveti to “take a hundred pictures” she thinks Damian read my post about his gig at Hoxton Hall… well, she has a point! 🙂

Now, some of you may remember Gingersnap and I gave a bunch of Christmas gifts to Damian after his gig at The Tabernacle late November. But one of the gifts came late so I could not hand it to Damian then. This was Gingersnap’s idea – a set of 5 Elvis guitar picks from Graceland official store!

And, guess what, Damian does not only love them but he says he will use one of them at today’s gig, shows it to Tsveti’s camera and puts it in his jean pocket. BRILLIANT! You can see the pick Damian picked for the gig in the clip below along with the picks I give him, mainly as a joke, with a card that reads “from a child of ’80s to another.” 🙂

Oh and I immediately let Gingersnap know on Twitter that Damian is using the pick she chose for him  and here is her reaction!

And here comes the final gift. This is very personal for me. I’ve done a lot of reflecting lately for some reason, getting rid of sources of toxicity in my life, and making more space and time for things that I love doing. I tutor math to kids with limited means. I am a very active member of  a serious book club. My husband and I travel. In fact, I am putting my notes together right now on a train from Cinque Terre to Milan. Fan Fun is at the top of the list of things that I LOVE doing. And I owe it to Damian. He’s my inspiration, my muse, if you will. And the blog has brought me such joy in the last eight plus years that I am grateful to this man who names the blog! And so here’s the gift that I give to Damian, to celebrate the release of his debut album Mission Creep, with thanks and gratitude from the bottom of my heart!

And why 2012? It’s in the card! (You heard it, right? I’m always very good with the cards :D)

After our little ritual, Damian joins the band on stage for soundcheck and OMG we are allowed to sit on the side and enjoy all the songs they would play at the gig. I know well that Damian is always  200% involved in his work, but it is a first hand experience with the soundcheck – the way he practices and communicates with his fellow band members attests to how seriously he takes his music. The surprise of the soundcheck is a NEW song which they plan to play as encore, a Damian original, which is very exciting! I find the song very Elvis-like that it is very proper to play it with an Elvis guitar pick! Kudos to Gingersnap!

Once they are done with the soundcheck, Damian and the band leave the stage. Doors open at 7pm and I get to see some of the lovely people I have met through Damian fandom. Heather is there with her lovely husband Martin who surprised her with the gig tickets as part of  their wedding anniversary. Rain, who runs the great Richard J. Speight’s fan site, is celebrating her birthday at the gig! Ellie, our Fan Fun “London Spy”, is here. Ellie and I have been to all London gigs so far (except for the Koko gig  which was members-only). And my good friend Patrick who may be the only person I know that attended more gigs than I did! And I give out the custom-made “I was there!” fridge magnets – now a tradition! – to  the fans.

I will now skip the Q+A and the gig since I shared all I remember with you earlier here and directly go to the signing.

Look at the line! The venue has capacity of 300 people. The event is sold out. And Damian is simply incredible! He makes time for every single person in the line…

…chatting, signing and doing photos. And since I choose to be the last in the line, I hang out, take photos of my fan friends with Damian, and have a lovely chat with Harvey, Steve’s son and part of Damian’s management team. He has such a sweet story to tell: When Harvey was 5-6 years old, he and his friends used to play Band of Brothers on the playground. Harvey played Spiers – who can forget his run straight through the center of the German-occupied village? And I get to meet Harvey’s friend who used to play Major Winters when they were kids. He’s a ginger!

As I am hanging out and waiting for my vinyl to be signed, I notice a photo booth… and, me being me, I have an idea. No, I cannot miss this opportunity, especially because Tsvetanka encourages me…

…and so THIS HAPPENED!!!

And the first thing Damian says once the curtain’s closed…

“Stop doing that, Bahar!”

I am still laughing about it! 😀 😀 😀

And I really think I was with Will Radley in that photo booth. Look at that, he does not only have tattoos, but also has a hickey on the neck…

…so, believe me, it is a miracle I made it out of that photo booth alive 🙂

Tsveti and I talked about Damian after the event. He is so cool. And he is so nice. And kind.  What a rare combination. And we cannot thank hienough for his generosity with his time. We are still over the moon and plan to return to Earth only before the Union Chapel Gig!  And here’s Damian’s invitation for all fans to his upcoming gig at the beautiful Union Chapel.  There are still a few tickets left and you can grab your tickets here. I hope to see many of you there! And if you attend, please come say hello and claim your “I was there” fridge magnet!


Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

10 thoughts on “The King and I: Catching Up With Damian Lewis at Rough Trade East”

  1. Awwwe, love the photobooth pics! How fun. The 2012 Dom Perignon bottle was really thoughtful and will now live in Damian’s home forever as his candle holder. Shoutout to Tsvetanka for filming about the Elvis guitar pics and capturing Damian saying “thank you.” So glad he played with one of the picks that night. Love hearing Steve in the background about me and Oklahoma LOL 😉 As always, great post. Kudos.

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! And – yes! Steve asked where you were based earlier in the day and then he tried to remember where you were based as Damian was signing your vinyl. Then “Oklahoma!” Me: “Yes, Krista is in Oklahoma!” It was a little miracle that Damian used one of the picks you gave to him – he said “very timely” 🙂 So there was a reason the picks arrived too late for The Tabernacle and then Ollie hid them so I couldn’t take them with me to Hoxton Hall, either! Tsvetanka gets all the awards for filming everything! And I really hope Damian enjoys his candle holder… <3

      1. You always have such amazing adventures! And this was no exception. Thank you for always taking us along for the ride as well. What an fabulous experience – the gig, the other fans, and of course, the kindness and generosity of Damian. Those photo booth pics are hilarious and truly priceless. And only you could come up with the ingenious idea of the gig magnets!

        1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! It was a fabulous experience. Damian is LOVELY. Hahaha the photo booth pics! I am still pinching myself to make sure it really happened. And thank you for your kind words about the gig magnets. I started it at Hoxton Hall in March and people loved it. Now it’s a tradition for all gigs I go 🙂

      1. I’m over the moon for Gingersnap. What are the odds that a musician just uses one of the picks you sent him there and then? It’s just perfect! That said – having Damian say “thanks, Krista!” to her face is on top of my “Damian Lewis related bucket list”.

  2. Ooooh oh, my heart is still trying to fly out of my chest! I love you, girl!!! Can’t thank you enough for made me part of this!!!!!!!! I read the post on Sunday evening and still can’t take off the silly smile! You are a godsend for all the people (Damian included) that catches out with you weather in person or reading your posts! It was a treat the very evening, it’s a treat reading it! I’m gonna print this one and one day after 20 years will take it out of a cabinet and will text or call you: “Hi, Bahar, do you remember how happy we were and…..the Photo Booth ! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Much LOVE!

    P.s. Damian is a treasure!

    1. I LOVE YOU, too! Thank you for bearing with me at these events, you are the best companion anyone can wish for! And how can I thank you for your lovely and very kind words? Godsend?!?!?! No, I’m not but yeah I love sharing the love with everyone and especially with you, and I am so glad we’ve been able to have so much fun together!

      I’m so happy reading the post is a treat! Please let me know I have left out anything that has to be in there. And I hope, in 20 years, we still get to see Damian on stage playing music or doing theatre together. How cool would that be? Much LOVE to you, too! See you soon <3

      1. It will be great to still get to see Damian in 20 years. You know what, we owe him a treat for bringing us together. In Bulgaria, I guess it’s the same in Turkey – when someone is an important relative, such as a godfather, or best man, or has done us a great favor, we bake Banitsa, which is Borek. We have to bake one for Damian for our 20 yers friendship anniversary 😀

        1. I want to see him in his 80s still on stage. And Banitsa it is for the ginger prince! You’re baking it obviously since I can’t bake (or cook)!

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