Backstage with Damian Lewis

The King and I πŸ™‚

I told you that my reports from the second leg of Damian Lewis’ ‘Mission Creep’ UK Tour would be threefold. I started with Damian sitting with me for a relaxed and insightful interview about his music followed by all I could remember from the four gigs I attended. And, now, ladies and gentlemen, I am thrilled to give you a fun backstage report from the tour!

I was very lucky to have backstage passes that gave me an opportunity to hang out with Damian, his brilliant band, and his guests in the green room after the gigs! And the behind the scenes shenanigans vary from a “guess the word” game to a coronation ceremony to Damian introducing me to a few of his friends who happen to be some of my favorite British actors and to Damian mixing the band’s signature drink aka ‘D Lou’ for me. Big thanks go to Damian, Dave, Will, Phil, Joe, Jamie, Kitty, Amelie and Jack for giving me a very warm welcome! I had a dream week!

End-of-Tour Band Photo at Cambridge Junction! L-R: Dave Archer, Jamie Safir, Damian Lewis, Kitty Liv, Ben Ellis, Will Cleasby, Phil Donnelly, Jack Abraham

Damian was certainly in top form on tour; witty, energetic and fun as ever. He cracked me up too many times that I am inspired to tell the fun moments in the green room with headings that quote Damian! πŸ™‚

“Bahar, you’re spring!”

Our long-time readers know that Damian has been signing the set lists I lift from the stage after his gigs with a “Tseku!” – his own very sweet version of “Tesekkur!” which means “Thanks!” in Turkish, my mother tongue.Β  As he does the same with my number 9 gig in Stroud, I decide to teach him a second word in Turkish. And what could be more natural than teaching him the meaning of Bahar, my own name? πŸ™‚

So I ask Damian whether he could guess what Bahar means and it quickly turns into a “guess the word” game. Damian cracks me up!

“Fairy maiden?”

“No.”

“Beautiful Princess?”

“No. Look at my blouse, it is a good hint.” (there are flowers on the blouse.)

“Blooming flowers.”

“No. You’re close”

“Nature.”

“No, but you’re very close.”

“Spring. Bahar, you’re spring!”

“Yes, I am!”

Oh, and I give him a gift that I think he really likes. 12 guitar picksΒ  – each with a picture representing a song on Mission Creep and my favorite lineΒ  from each song. I so hope that Damian makes more songs using them.

“We drove golf balls to the roofs of the school buildings.”

When Monique gifts Damian golf balls with “I am not lost, I am just hiding from Damian Lewis” inscribed on them in Stroud, we remind Damian that he once said he was at his happiest when he was driving golf balls in his pajamas on summer nights. And we hear a fun story from his childhood.

When he was back in school, Damian and his friend Adrian used to escape from the dormitory late at night through the fire escape and drove golf balls to the roofs of the school buildings πŸ™‚ Hahaha no wonder his childhood nickname was “Damage” πŸ˜€

“Bahar, don’t make me jealous.”

When I arrive at the green room in Poole, it is already full with family and friends. And I would not want to interfere with their on-going conversation so I just go to the bar and ask for a light beer. I remember Damian sayingΒ  they are all light and a guy who tends the bar hands me a Peroni. And once I have a good cold sip of my Peroni, I take another look at the guy tending the bar and then I cannot contain myself!

“So James Purefoy has just given me a beer or what?”

Oh My God. So as much as I love Damian as Mark Antony in his brilliant Guardian Solos performance, James Purefoy will be MY Mark Antony forever. I loved him in the short-lived HBO show Rome and I have never understood the reason behind HBO cancelling it after two seasons. Anyhow, it turns out that the guy tending the bar in the green room is James Purefoy! What a lovely guy he is, and it seems he likes surprising people… I didn’t expect this! πŸ˜€

I obviously whatsapp the photo on the right to Lewisto and show it to Damian, too.

My husband’s response on Whatsapp:

“Mark Antony!”

Damian’s response:

“Bahar, don’t make me jealous.”

πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

I don’t know, mate, how about a Fan Fun with James Purefoy or something? πŸ™‚

And James Purefoy is not the only actor I meet in Poole. I love musical theatre, and one of my all-time favorite musicals is My Fair Lady. I was very lucky to see the thrilling new production twice at Lincoln Center Theatre back in 2019 with my mom who introduced me to the musical when I was a kid!

And five years later, lo and behold, I am meeting Harry Hadden-Paton who has brilliantly brought Professor Higgins to life on stage. I am a very lucky girl or what?!?!

“Bahar was my most overqualified stalker.”

But I think the most entertaining moment of the evening is how Damian introduces me to his friends!

“Bahar fell in love with one of the characters I played (read “Brody”.) She was my most overqualified stalker. She’s a professor of game theory. She has an amazing website. She wrote books. And she’s become family.”

Well,Β I feel like a debutante πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

So I say to Damian, “The Most Overqualified Stalker” would make a great song title πŸ™‚ He says it would look great on a t-shirt! πŸ˜€

What do you think?

I have written here several times that I am a Wolf Hall junkie! I cast Damian as Henry VIII when I was reading the first two volumes in early 2014, months before Damian was cast as the king in the brilliant BBC production. And I don’t think anyone can be happier than me now that he has resumed his role in the BBC adaptation of The Mirror and The Light, the third volume of Hilary Mantel’s trilogy.

Damian’s first picture as Henry VIII from The Mirror and The Light

We started the celebrations for The Mirror and The Light with a birthday cake for Damian earlier this year…

…and I am sure he has some version of the trilogy at home but, I give him this elegant three-volume collection, after a brief coronation ceremony in the green room, to continue the celebration of the return of the king!

“Don’t get jealous, Bahar.”

And later that evening Damian plays along and takes a selfie with the four queens of his UK Tour! I still can’t believe Mel has been to more gigs than I have on the UK tour, and Damian tells me “don’t get jealous, Bahar” and tells Mel “Bahar’s getting competitive!” Oh yes I envy her in the most positive way! Go, girl! And thanks so much for sharing fabulous photos with us from the gigs we could not go! In total, Mel has been to 10 gigs on the UK tour, and Monique, Tsvete, and I have been to 7. So I think we deserve to wear these crowns!

If we continue the Wolf Hall theme for the fun of it, we can call this photo Henry VIII and Four of His Queens Who Could Keep Their Heads! Tsvete would be Jane Seymour since she is shy and kind (I am a “rogue Ottoman” in some ginger’s words!), Mel would be Anne of Cleves because she is from Germany. Monique would be Catherine Parr because she is the tallest queen. This leaves me as Catherine of Aragon which also makes sense since Henry did not necessarily choose her but was stuck with her πŸ™‚

ps. I took this test and got what I was afraid of: Anne Boleyn.Β  I sort of knew it since I honestly chose “clever” and “competitive” for my best and worst personality traits respectively. The test says my outspoken ideas were what killed me! And, you know, those crowns are my idea, too! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

“Bahar has a sweet tooth, everybody knows that.”

If you are following Damian on Instagram, you should know about ‘The D Lou’ the band’s special drink!

I am thrilled to report that not only have I had a “D Lou” but I also have filmed the inventor of the drink making one for me! So get the recipe, have a “D Lou” and thank me later. It is delicious and dangerous – you can’t have too many D Lous! πŸ™‚

Huh? Yes I have a sweet tooth but how come Damian knows about it? πŸ™‚ It turns out he thinks I have a sweet tooth because I’m from Turkey. “All those baklavas…”, he says, and you know what, he is right! If I travel from Turkey to the UK for a gig ever again, I know what I am bringing for Damian and the band πŸ™‚

As I sip my ‘D Lou’ I have one of the most hilarious conversations in my life with Dave Archer in TURKISH! It turns out he stayed in Istanbul for a few months for a project and learnt some essential Turkish: “Merhaba” (Hello!), “Nasilsin?” (How are you?) and “Iki Bira Lutfen” (Two Beers Please!)… I am still laughing!

“Monique, Best Photo Yet…”

Monique has a great eye. She takes fabulous pictures at the gigs. And this one does not only receive accolades from us but also from the man himself.Β  And thanks to the generosity of the photographer, we now use the photo to promote Damian’s summer festival gigs! Thank you, Monique!

The photo ,signed and framed, in Monique’s house

And I just love this picture that I have taken of Damian and my girls: Firstly, there are three beautiful smiles in there, and secondly, I can’t stop giggling about the “danger zone” sign behind them!

After taking this photo, I tell Damian that I still can’t believe his answer for the Proust Questionnaire question “What do you dislike most about your appearance? was “My smile”. “Because”, I say, “you have a beautiful smile.” Well, he is surprised about his answer, too; he says he was probably insecure πŸ™‚ Well, I believe you, mate, but I seriously can’t comprehend having “Damian Lewis” and “insecure” in the same sentence!

“I’m shouting your name everywhere.”

Damian hosts a lot of family members in Cambridge. Manon and Gully are there to support dad, too. Lovely! And I get to meet Damian’s older brother William Russell who served as the Lord Mayor of London between 2019 – 2021. Lovely man with a great sense of humor. He says Damian should play Glastonbury because it is the only way to see Coldplay play there πŸ™‚ And he is so kind to tell me that Damian very much appreciates the work we do for him. When I share this with Damian later, he jokes that he’s shouting my name everywhere. Haha. Shout or not, he’s definitely sealed the Fan Fun deal for a long time. Sorry, James πŸ™‚

“It was my father’s.”Β 

We also have some wardrobe talk! Damian is wearing a beautiful coat in Cambridge and I have to ask… “It was my father’s”, he says. So I say this should be a family thing since Gully “borrows” Damian’s leather coat these days, too πŸ™‚Β  And we talk a bit about Manon wearing Helen’s yellow gown and Gully wearing Damian’s shirt and leather jacket at the WonkaΒ  premiere in London. Very sweet.

I have been regretting not having taken a picture of Damian’s coat because I really wanted to share it with you here… and lo and behold he has it on as he and Alison attend the fashion designer Bella Freud’s birthday party in London. You can visit our gallery for more pictures from the party!

Damian and Alison at Bella Freud’s birthday party in London

Isn’t it a beautiful coat?

And having mentioned Alison, let me share with you the gift I give Damian to celebrate the end of a 21-gig Mission Creep Tour.

Alison is not only a brilliant musician but she also makes brilliant art. She has her Chop Shop in November where she has a multi-dayΒ  marathon of selling affordable art. And you typically choose the art piece you want to buy and let her know but she has also introduced a limited number of “lucky dips” last year where she picks an art piece for you! So what I did was to email her and kindly ask her to do a “lucky dip” for Damian πŸ™‚ And here is what Alison has picked. I believe Damian bought the flowers in the art piece for her. I love it, and I know he does, too! Thank you, Alison <3

“I look like Michael Caine.”

Damian has recently said in an interview:

“I have a very loyal group of ladies who come from afar and follow me and they’re fantastic. And they show me a lot of support, and love. Yeah, they’re great. And I’m always very glad to see them.”

And I show him a story from my Instagram as proof of our commitment! He laughs and says:

“I look like Michael Caine.”

Well, what else could a man ask for when he is 83? πŸ™‚

Michael Caine in his mid-80s

Damian: you are fantastic, and you show us a lot of love and yeah you are great. You simply do not give us any other option than following, supporting and loving you. We are always over the moon when we see you and it takes time to get back to mother earth. We thank you from theΒ  bottom of our hearts for the memories! ‘Til next time!

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!

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