Anthems: An Interesting E-type Experience by Brian J Green

Russell Watson Photo 1

This text is taken from the article ‘Anthems: An Interesting E-type Experience’ by Brian J Green. For the full article, please consult issue 94, September 2012 of The E-type.

Russell Watson with Brian Green

The email from Louise at E-type Club HQ simply said, “Would any of you be able to offer your E-type for a photo shoot in the Manchester/Cheshire area next Tuesday, March 13?” and gave a contact number.

I happened to have a free day and thought it might be interesting so, with visions of glamorous models in mind, I got in touch and arranged to take my car to the studio. The car was actually at CMC in Bridgnorth, having new rear wheel bearings fitted, but would be ready to collect on the Monday, so all I had to do was make sure it was presentable on the day…or so I thought!

I picked the car up on Monday and set off for home about midday, only to find, after about five miles, that one of the new rear wheel bearings had collapsed! I nursed the car back to Bridgnorth, where the mechanics at CMC immediately stripped it down, removed the offending bearing (in which a roller had snapped in half!) and had me back on my way in just over an hour. Incredible service by CMC, but worrying to see such poor quality in a brand new replacement item.

The following day I arrived at the studio in Manchester to find there were no glamorous models, but one of the greatest tenors that this country has ever produced, someone whose music I have enjoyed since first hearing it more than 10 years ago. Russell Watson was shooting pictures for his latest album, Anthems (currently No1 in the classical music charts). The album is a celebration of great British music over the years and includes tracks such as Jerusalem and Land of Hope & Glory, so he wanted to capture some iconic images of Britain to complement the music. Having grown up in nearby Salford, Manchester was the perfect location for the shoot and what could be more iconic than Jaguar’s E-type? The photographer’s studio was a converted Victorian school building, which provided an ideal backdrop for some 1960s-style images and we then moved on to the village of Styal, not far from Manchester, where an original red phone box provided another iconic image and further opportunities for some stylish pictures.

Although a lot of time was spent just standing around and watching, the whole experience was interesting and enjoyable. The photographers and supporting crew were incredibly professional, as can be seen from the images used on the album, but these were achieved in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere with none of the ‘prima donna’ behaviour that one associates with some of our well-known celebrities. In fact, Russell could not have been more normal and friendly, and seemed to enjoy the experience of driving my car between locations, during which he was able to compare it with a V12 E-type he had owned many years ago.

Anthems Back CoverRussell was a charming and interesting companion during the journey and talked openly about the illness which so nearly ended his career and his life. It was a privilege to spend time with him and an inspiration to hear how he has coped with adversity.

You don’t step out of a factory onto a stage with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra without having something beyond talent. You need drive and desire, a need to make your mark, to make your voice heard. “I’m a stubborn bastard,” says Russell. “My music is about making a connection. Put me in front of 90,000 in a football stadium and I feel all their energy. It’s what I live for, that and my kids. There’s nothing bigger than that feeling.”

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