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Harpers' columnist Guy Woodward set to take the stage at this year's Skin Côntact concert

Published:  12 April, 2016

For a second year in a row the wine trade supergroup Skin Côntact will be taking to the stage next month in an effort raise aid as part of Comic Relief.

Skin Côntact LIVE AGAIN! is taking place on Thursday 12 May 2016 at the O2 Academy, Islington. Skin Côntact LIVE! is sponsored by Côtes du Rhône wines, whose partnership has made it possible to stage this event and allow 100% of the proceeds to go to charity.

All in aid of a good cause 'The Band' including Richard Hemming - he of Jancis Robinson fame; Alex Hunt MW of Berkmann, Matt James of Bordeaux Cellar and Ben Smith of CyT will be performing along with a number of other personalities and talents from across the wine trade.

A series of guest stars will be on hand to wow spectators, one of whom is Harpers' very own columnist, Guy Woodward.

The Islington Academy stage has hosted Beck, Muse, Eminem - and now you! But who are your musical heroes?

Beethoven, Bernstein and Bailey. That's Tom Bailey, of course, erstwhile lead singer of the Thompson Twins. But mainly Bernstein. What a guy. Just an unbelievable force of nature. I did my thesis on him at university (Manchester, since you ask) - which was almost as long ago as the Thompson Twins' heyday. Almost.

What's the largest audience you've sung in front of?

Surprisingly large, considering my dubious vocal prowess. It was in front of a full house at the Royal Albert Hall. I was, though, part of a choir which was nearly as big as the audience. We're going back to my chorister days. Are you starting to get the feeling that my best days are behind me?

And how would you like to be introduced on stage?

You know that bit in 'Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me' where George Michael says, 'Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Elton John'? I'd like that. Except George would say, 'Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Guy Woodward.' Maybe with Elton John.

What are you listening to a lot at the moment?

I know that you're supposed to use this bit to show how achingly cool you are, and doubtless Neal Martin will have a list of hipster names of whom none of us will have ever heard. Personally, I have a pretty short playlist, which mostly comprises Billy Joel, Chopin and the Pet Shop Boys.

And what was the most memorable live musical performance you've ever seen?

Apart from the Thompson Twins? I remember going to see Vladimir Ashkenazy play Beethoven's Emperor Concerto when I was pretty young, and being mesmerised. But in all honesty, no-one will ever hold a candle to Prince live. Unbelievable. I remember the first time I saw him, being disappointed that he was miming. It took me three songs to work out that he wasn't. He's just that good.

Quickfire round!

Côte-Rôtie or Gigondas?

Côte-Rôtie, if you're buying.

Adele or Madonna?

Adele, or course.

Viognier or Marsanne/Roussanne?

The latter.

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?


And finally, what's your most embarrassing musical secret?

I think I've probably revealed them all here. But if you want another, I played the trumpet in orchestra at school. For our big end of term concert at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham, we all took the number 62 bus to the venue straight from school, and I managed to leave a key item in the luggage compartment on said bus - my trumpet. This was before mobile phones, so there was no chance to get it in time. So there was a spare seat where I should have been, a slightly thinner orchestral timbre, and two very bemused parents wondering where their son was.