Stand Aside, oh diminuitive purpley chap formerly known as Prince.
Make Way for the taller and altogether more substantial man formerly known as the 42nd President of the USA.
As previewed here last month, Bill Clinton came to the O2 this lunchtime. To afford the VIP tickets we re-mortgaged our home, sold our grandma to science before she'd even popped her clogs and employed George Galloway to do a bit of fund-raising for us.
Excited as we were, ticketmaster acted horrendously and almost wrecked everything - losing tickets in the post, only telling us of the cancelled performance when we phoned to check on our missing tickets and then giving us the wrong time to turn up - half an hour after Bill had started talking. If there's any way to get tickets to events without using ticketmaster, do it. Perhaps the O2 should re-consider using them, too.
Thankfully we had turned up early - Indigo2 (within the O2) is a much more intimate venue than the bigger arena and so we knew this would be quite different from his barn-storming speeches to massive baying crowds at election victories and Labour party conferences. The place is quite plushly fitted - the VIP seats even swivelled silently. All the way round, too... Only half the seats were taken, but then many ticketmaster customers might have turned up late and missed it. But Clinton kicked off with a 30-minute speech regardless, and then took 30 minutes of questions taken from those submitted by the audience - who remained silent throughout, except to laugh quietly at appropriate moments. The man had everyone eating out of his hand.
We were treated to a rich canter through world politics, touching on issues as far-ranging as Darfur, genetics, Nelson Mandela, climate change and the five questions that every educated person in the world should ask themselves*. It was chatty in style - taming any calls to action with self-deprecating humour and the odd aside. But Joke Central this was not. The real insights came from the personal information he divulged - such as Bill's chats with Mandela about his release, and why on earth he had chosen to wear an orange tie with green socks today (he was marking the 1st August withdrawal of British troops from Northern Ireland after 38 years).
After he was done, the O2 had arranged for a saxophone player to perform 'Happy Birthday' for the former President for this coming Thursday. And then the man who used to be the world's most powerful figure turned on his green-socked heel and left the stage - 17 months before he might be back in the White House as First Gentleman. Let's hope Hillary sorts out his wardrobe before it's too late.
Image taken from Michael Millhollin's Flickr stream.
* Five questions: What is the nature of the 21st century? Is this a good or bad thing? How should we try to change this world? What steps should be taken to achieve this? Who should do it?