During my trip to the California State University conference on technology and disability held at Los Angelis last month, I had the honour of briefly meeting Stevie Wonder.
Other than his hit singles and collaborations with other artists, I cannot claim to be too familiar with a large proportion of Stevie Wonder’s work. I’m sure Ebony and Ivory as well as I Just Called to Say I Love You were not the musicians finest moments? Although I enjoyed his performance with Tony Bennett on the Grammy awards earlier this year. And I will always have fond memories of Happy Birthday which I sliced and diced in Sony Soundforge as a special audio production for ACB Radio.
The fleeting encounter came quite by chance while I was mulling over the difference between accessibility and usability with an interesting man who used to work for Apple (that’s the computer people not the Beatles record company). I was boring my acquaintance with my thoughts on blindness product packaging when he interrupted me.
“I thought you should know Stevie Wonder has just come into the room.”
As indicated above, I am not the most fanatical of Stevie Wonder aficionados. That said, I have the utmost respect for stevie Wonder’s achievements and he probably is one of the most renowned blind people alive. I felt almost duty-bound to go over and say hello. Stevie was sat about 10 feet from where I was standing and naturally he was in the midst of a croud two or three deep. I sidled over and struck up a conversation with the huge bodyguard who was escorting Stevie that evening. It turned out that the guard was one of four who are charged with the star’s safety. Anyway he seemed a remarkably tolerant guy who was good enough to arrange my 30 seconds with Stevie. I shook hands with Stevie and told him that I had enjoyed his Grammy appearance with Tony Bennett and was looking forward to any future collaborations. Stevie, clad in a leather jacket, remained seated and told me it was good to meet me and to be cool. It was then time to let someone else say hello so I moved on.
It was not the most dramatic of meetings by any stretch of the imagination but definitely an A-Lister to add to my modest collection of famous people memories which include: Ian Rush and Steve McManaman world class footballers, Patrick Moore astronomer and world record holder for presenting the longest running tv show, Paddy Ashdown while he was leader of the Liberal Democrat party and the Queen during her visit to Liverpool in 1992.