Today’s ‘shock’ incident, in which the Popemobile was attacked by a man wielding a piece of Fuzzy Felt or something, is a fine excuse for me to tell you about my own bizarre experience with the Pope’s security squad.
It was years back, when I worked at Kerrang! magazine. We had the splendid and entirely sensible idea of taking black metallers Cradle Of Filth to Rome’s Vatican City for a bit of fly-on-the-wall fun and some photographs. So off we merrily went, with at least one of the band members modelling their own patented Jesus Is A C**t T-shirt (and no, that's not Jesus Is A Coat). Marvellous. What could possibly go wrong?
A mere five minutes after setting foot on a deserted Vatican City, we were surrounded by angry men with submachine guns. Their leader, the eldest and most angry of all, barked at us in Italian and we looked confused. And yes, a tad scared of ending up like Swiss cheese. There followed a very uneasy period of stilted negotiation, during which I became convinced we were about to be slung into the Pope’s personal prison. After all, Vatican City is a registered country in its own right, with its own rules.
Thankfully, one of the younger guards was less enraged with us, and started talking his elder colleague out of shooting our teeth out. Young Guard even made small-talk, asking the band what kind of music they played. At this point, someone almost blew it by replying, “EVIL music”, but then we were on our way with a stern warning. In Italian. Cradle Of Filth lived to play that night’s gig, and I lived to regret coming up with stupid journalistic ideas in potentially dangerous parts of the world.