More tea, Sir Alex?

More tea, Sir Alex?

Coming home from a jaunt can be pretty tedious. We're all guilty of acting tetchy when we've been killing time in airports and falling asleep in uncomfortable seats, then waking up with a severely cricked neck and creased-up face ...

You can mutter and frown as much as you like, safe in the knowledge that no-one's taking any notice, least of all your nearest and dearest who you're travelling with. But imagine if you're famous and people have got their eyes on you?

Our flight was delayed for 24 hours returning from Rio de Janeiro - though the hardship wasn't too great because when we did finally board, we had business class flat beds. Amazing!

Such luxury usually commands the price of £4,000 per ticket but I managed to get our flights more or less gratis, thanks to the magic of saved-up air miles.

We flew with British Airways and you get real glassware and crockery when it's time for your meal. Later you get a lovely blanket and a big fluffy pillow, your seat reclines to become properly horizontal and you can choose what film you want to watch, when.

You even get a telephone right next to you that you can plug your credit card in to then chat away to your friends and relatives to your heart's content, if you're happy to pay £5 per minute for the privilege!. I loved it so much I felt like moving into the plane permanently.

So we arrived at Heathrow and jumped on our connection, also with British Airways, to Manchester. Who should be sitting a couple of rows in front of me but Sir Alex Ferguson and his missus?

They'd been ushered aboard early so they didn't have to queue with the likes of us. Sir Alex looked decidedly grumpy and was firmly glued to the sports pages of the Daily Mail. He and his wife barely spoke to each other, their body language was awful.

Mrs F was very smartly dressed, like she'd been at a business meeting rather than a posh social do, and he too was very dapper in a grey tweedy jacket and a black and white stripy shirt.

There was no first or business class on the flight, everyone was seated together, and the stewards made a huge fuss of Sir Alex, constantly asking him if he wanted a tea or a coffee ... well I suppose he is a Sir!

Not even their friendly attentions were enough to get him to crack a smile. Before you ask, I didn't do my usual trick of befriending him, I was too scared!

My civil partner Michael had left Rio a couple of days earlier than me and some of the other members of our group - we'd been at the world-famous Carnival. He's a big Man United fan and when I excitedly told him about Sir Alex, he said: "Well there's no mystery why he looked so glum. He's probably still gutted about Man United's shock defeat at the hands of Sven Goran-Erikksson's Man City on Sunday."

Ah, I see. If I'd peeped at the sports news over Sir Alex's shoulder I'd have no doubt figured this out for myself.

When Macca made me coffee

Like everyone else I've been following the McCartney divorce case ... and I have to feel sorry for Paul. Heather's so angry and aggressive, she doesn't do herself any favours or get anyone on her side.

You don't know what goes on behind closed doors but I remember Paul McCartney being absolutely great when I met him, back in the 80s, when I was 22.

I'd come to London to meet up with Michael Jackson, who'd befriended me as a teenager, and the two superstars were recording material together, including The Girl Is Mine.

I introduced myself to one of Macca's people at the Air recording studio in Bond Street and he agreed to let me interview him with my tape recorder - not for any particular journalistic assignment, just because I was a fan.

"Hi, I'm Paul," he said, and shook my hand. As if I didn't know who he was!

He invited me into the studio and made me a cup of coffee! Can you imagine that? I was totally at ease, he was so cool and friendly. He made me laugh, doing an impression of Michael Jackson, and describing the first time Jacko rang him up to ask him about working together.

Paul was thoroughly confused and bemused because he couldn't believe the high-pitched softly-spoken tones on the telephone weren't those of a girl! Of course once he met Michael he realised that he does indeed sound a bit girly ...

And so to Fed

I'm delighted that our big club night, Federation, has a new venue - a dirty, gritty disused car body shop in Holbeck, Leeds. We're doing little to Victoria Works on Bowling Green Terrace, apart from bringing in great lights, a huge sound system and lots of entertainment. The first night is Saturday March 1 and then it's the first Saturday of the month after that. Go to