“We’re all a little bit excited,” says mum Siân in that soothing voice of hers as she ushers me into the family home. “My little girl could be going to number one today!” She rushes over to Cher Lloyd’s side as they huddle around the radio. For some reason the radio is a giant contraption being worn on grandad Christopher’s head. “My dad’s an inventor!” explains Siân proudly.
“Shut UP mum!” snaps Cher. “We’re into the Top Ten, I bet Reggie phones me any minute!” Siân clears her throat loudly and Cher notices me at last. She springs up, brandishing a terrier. “Hello hater!” she says. “This is my dog Wagger.”
“I wanted to call him Einstein,” says Christopher sadly. I pet the dog, who limps away with the stiffness of age.
I assure Cher that I’m not one of her haters, that in fact I quite like her. She kisses her teeth. “You can’t stop looking at me, can you? You can’t stop writing ’bout me!” I explain that it’s because I’m here to interview her for a magazine profile. “Well I’m laughing all the way,” she counters with unnecessary petulance.
Christopher shoots her a wild-eyed look. “You really are a cheeky girl, aren’t you.”
Siân looks round as if a gun’s been fired in the room. “What? Where?”
Fortunately there’s a sudden distraction as the phone rings. It’s Reggie Yates, confirming that Cher has indeed gone to number one. The girls turn the radio up loud and dance around, crying happily.
Christopher reaches into the sideboard and hands Cher a tattered envelope. “Time to open the sealed letter I wrote you in 1985!” he blurts.
Cher narrows her eyes, commenting that she hadn’t been born then, as she opens the envelope and reads out the letter. “Dear Cher, If my calculations are correct, you will receive this letter immediately after learning that you have reached number one in the popular charts…”
“That’s amazing Dad!” lilts Siân. “What does the other letter say?”
“There were two letters in the sideboard – one with a Y on the back and one with an N.”
“No there weren’t,” says Christopher defensively. “When was the last time you did a forecast anyway?”
I clear the air by asking Cher where the inspiration for her song came from, but only a croak comes out as her little mouth opens and closes. She begins to weep.
“Too much excitement!” shrieks Siân. “You need vitamin C!” She rummages in the fruit bowl. “Oh my darling. I know there’s a clementine buried in here somewhere. Don’t even try to speak!”
But Cher has found her voice again. “Mum stop trying to shut me up! I’ll talk about my success if I want to!” She looks daggers at Siân. “Gagger!”
“Have you both quite finished?” I interrupt. A silence descends across the room. It is broken by a sad bark. Wagger staggers in.
[continued on page 119]