Blunt wing-walks with the Red Arrows!
Jubilant scenes across the island as multi-platinum selling mega-star gives surprise air-show performance: in world’s first live concert strapped to a jet
The 66th Jersey International Air Display will certainly go down as one of the most spectacular, after Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter James Blunt dazzled onlookers with his surprise addition to the event’s finale, whilst securing himself a deserved inclusion into the Guinness Book of Records.
Insiders around the Blunt camp, as well as the Ministry of Defence, have been sworn to secrecy for the duration of the eight months the artist has spent alongside the aerial display team, as they rehearsed their performance over the Brecon Beacons.
Onlookers in Jersey today only became aware of Blunt’s inclusion when, in their customary finale to the event, the Red Arrows shot into sight over Noirmont, then flashed downward into St Aubin’s bay, before slowing down and tracking across the beach front, further reducing their altitude. It was then, from the tip of their diamond formation that Blunt waved to the now delirious crowds from the harness affixed to his RAF display Hawk, Red 1. And as the planes accelerated across toward La Collette, Blunt kicked off his playlist with: ‘So, Long Jimmy’, from his debut album Back to Bedlam.
‘I could have melted’ explained Maxine Gilbertson, who had been dining at the Gunsite Café. ‘One minute I’m mopping up from my carrot cake…. and the next, I’m peering into James Blunt’s eyes. He waved! I had to buy two sorbets just to calm down again.’ ‘He’s just so much more tufty and gorgeous in real life!’ ‘And not only that!’ she shouted ‘I picked up on Insight last week, tickets to see him at Fort Regent tonight for three quid!’
Despite the euphoria across the south coast, Blunt’s performance was not without drama. Shortly after setting out into the second verse of ‘Carry You Home’, from his second album All the Lost Souls, Blunt, a former army captain, let out a frenzied string of expletives, causing the masses on the ground to gasp collectively, and parents to glance searchingly to their children.
Word quickly spread that the artist had impacted something.
‘We were just on our approach to Elizabeth Castle’ Blunt explained afterward ‘So I knew that the corkscrew was coming soon. I had just started singing again after the chorus – and then whack! That’s when it happened. Right in the neck! It felt like being hit by a baseball. I could barely breathe. I know that I let out some rather unpleasant language, and for that I am sorry.’ ‘I thought it must have been a bird or something. It really shook me up. Red 7 and Red 9 both flew closer to see if I was ok. I got myself back together again, gave them a thumbs-up, and we just sort of picked up where we left off.’
Experts have since been able to confirm: from wing fragments and traces of semen taken from the star’s ear, that he had come into contact with two Asian hornets.
‘It is unheard of for them to be mating at such high altitude’ explained UK entomologist Corey Mandibles; ‘but given the mood, and the carnival atmosphere of the occasion, we perhaps shouldn’t be altogether surprised.’ Mr Mandibles sighed wistfully. ‘They were probably just having a bit of fun.’
Roy Sharples, one of Jersey’s last surviving Second World War veterans, described events. ‘It was one thing to be at the 70th anniversary of VE Day and to see my squadron’s sole remaining Lancaster pass over the cliffs of Dover flanked by Spitfires; but seeing Mr Blunt perform ‘Goodbye my lover’ at 600mph over The Radisson was an experience I fear I will only tarnish if I attempt to encapsulate the majesty of it all. And despite the fact that I, nor any of those around me, could decipher anything more than just the first word of the chorus each time he whizzed past, it wouldn’t be over-egging it say that the experience has reinvigorated what has been, recently, a wavering sense of national pride in me.’ Mr Sharples swallowed back a tear. ‘And as for that black Bretling suit of his?’ he then added. ‘Stunning.’
Home Affairs minister Gaston McShale said this of the day: ‘The securing of Blunt for this year’s air show, alongside the very nature of his performance, are reflective of a heady new dynamism sweeping through the administration. And whilst we, ultimately, had no direct bearing on his coming here, nor upon his teaming-up with the Reds, we can assure the public that we take culture and the Arts extremely seriously.’ ‘We are currently’ she said ‘as part of reforms to Economic Development’s fund allocation schemes, exploring the possibility of brining in Adele for the cider festival, and have already had a response, albeit somewhat cryptic, from U2 regarding the laying-on of an additional Sunset Concert at Grantez this February.