Jimmy Saville is dead.
I met him just once, back in the 60s. Saville was on the upward curve of his rainbow then. I was playing a gig with the New Vaudeville Band in Manchester (Belle Vue?) where he was how’s-about-that’ing on the turntables and being ultra-enthusiastic about the utter crap he was playing – much the same as I was on the piano.
A local story about your man Saville is that he was the guest celebrity who officially opened Mow Cop and Mount Pleasant Village Hall on 20th May 1965. This is the version of events that was passed on to me:
Saville had been a wrestler and wrestled on the same circuit as a wrestler resident of Mow. When it came to discussions about the official opening of the village hall, the good-natured Mow dood said, ‘I’ll see if I can get my mate Jimmy Saville to do it for us.’ Brilliant! Saville was big time and would do the occasion proud and, it was hoped, for free.
When it came to the day, Saville allegedly charged them a fee of £200 (evidently his agent had insisted). Two-hundred notes! - and they were notes then - a whopping amount of money in those days. To give you an idea of how much: Lynda and I bought a house around the corner from the village hall five years later and paid £950. It’d had taken the Village Hall committee six years of hard work to raise the £1500 for the hall. That’s a rate of £250 a year . . .
The Village Hall Committee was naturally disappointed, not to say financially embarrassed. ‘Never mind,’ Saville allegedly said, pausing to drag on a cigar the size of a toddler’s arm, ‘I’ll send you the latest Top Twenty records for you to play on your social nights.’ The Committee waited eagerly for the records to arrive.
They’ve been waiting forty-six years. They’ll never get them now.
The Right On! night at Congleton library was ace. Mike Drew staged an excellent show of poetry and song - voices speaking out against political exploitation, injustice and persecution.
The poetry was the absolute business, with contributions from The Nomads, Phil Williams and that shining star of the Cheshire Poet Laureate Scheme, John Lindley.
The songs were provided by yours truly, Dave Wedgebury, Dave Dove, Andy Stubbs and Phil Maddocks. As Phil remarked after the early evening sound check, it’s amazing how five singer/acoustic guitarists, inspired by the same coterie of predecessors, can come together on the same night and play songs on the same theme and be so different one from the other:
Dave Wedgebury with his Bob Marley-influenced high tenor voice; Dave Dove with his smooth West Coast approach, Andy Stubbs with his in-your-face Anglo-American proto punk, high-energy vibe; Phil Maddocks with his sophisticated English balladeer approach and me . . . er . . . whatever, I don’t know, none of the above, I suppose . . . me with my bag of rough n ready homemade songs, erratically performed.
The audience was up for it and receptive to the cause and to the individual offerings.
'Twas Right On! right enough.
I was on Red Shift Radio on Tuesday promoting the Poetry Party taking place at the Alsager Library on Friday December 9th with Angus Varley the library manager.
We were interviewed by Simon Newbury whose is a fine photographer with his other hat on. It was a good interview. I read: Homage to Cheshire, Talking Blues and Heathery Weathery Hill.
Angus read a couple of monkey poems written by his brother. I mean, they were about monkeys. I’m not suggesting Angus' brother is a monkey. Though, on the other hand, we are all brother and sister monkeys according to Mr. Monkey Darwin, ain’t we?
Simon liked the imagery of my Homage to Cheshire and asked if he could use it for a series of new photographs. I was quick to agree to the collaboration. Delighted actually. Simon is so good in the old art of light and shade malarky and I’m looking forward what he comes up with. I’ll keep you posted.
Why not come along to the poetry party? It’s a sort of open mic night for poets. I’m hosting it and I know that we have some very exciting poets coming along. There’ll be lots of lovely stuff for the poetry fan and there will be refreshments too.
Libraries are shaping up to be the most happening of places. Make sure you support your local library.
Those in government, local and national, who propose the closing down of public libraries (how stupid, how sinister a suggestion that is) ought give up their own private libraries by way of example.
And yes, David Cameron, that means both your books, even the one you haven't finished colouring in.
I’m going off for a swing in my rubber tyre now.
Hope to see you at the Alsager Library Poetry Party on the 9th.
Please take care of yourselves and everyone you meet,