Hi there, pop fans!
Smile, smile, smile
It's all over
I have got the furious needle
While serving in the Royal Navy during the 1914–18 war, boredom drove him to teach himself musical notation to enable him to play a three–string double bass in the ship’s band. From there he graduated to tenor and G banjo and later to C melody saxophone. It was money earned at semi–pro gigs on these instruments that kept house and home together during the dodgy ‘Thirties.
During my infant years, he got his kicks teaching me the musical elements and showing me off. He had produced a male infant that could read music before it could make sense of its ABC. By the time I was five I could play simple tunes on finger–style G banjo, read music tolerably well and could recognise the signature tunes of all the dance bands that came on the wireless.
My poor Dad had no idea what he was starting! Around about my tenth year I got him to teach me the basic fingerings of the C melody sax to enable me to play in the school orchestra. By then I was hooked and, although I was warned time and time again against the precarious life of a musician, I knew in my soul that that was what I had to be. Things came to a head just six months before I was to sit for my final exams. I packed my bags and alto sax and set off for my first pro job in Nottingham at the tender age of sixteen. That was me on my way to tear the world apart. I’m still tearing away, but don’t seem to have made much of an impression upon it. But that worries me not.
I love music and all that goes with it. I also love my father’s memory for making it possible.
When the music stops . . .
So why muck about? It is obvious that musicians, never mind prophets, rarely attain recognition at home, so I’ve concocted a brand new rave game. I’ve called it musical countries. I’m writing a Grand March to be played by the Massed Bands of the Brigade of Guards. It will be recorded and bounced off a network of satellites circumnavigating the earth so everybody can hear it simultaneously.
All the time the music is playing all the musical talent in the world must roar about all over the face of the earth. When the music stops . . . well, I’m sure you’ve played the game before!
Are we our brother’s keeper?
What a strange state of affairs! Real criminals, mass murderers, child beaters, armed robbers and the like, end up with far more fame than any pop star or folk singer, but I don’t recall any judge telling them that they have a duty to their fellow citizens. For these occasions a judge likes to delve into his bag of histrionics and come out with “‘Never in all my years on the bench have I come across a crime so heinous . . . ”
Question: Do any of us have a direct moral responsibility towards our fellows? I think not. For example, I don’t seem to remember any increase in the number of suicides when some unfortunate star takes the easy way out!
The show must go on!
What if one of that little lot decided they wanted a rise just before the curtain went up or the red light went on? Horrors! It doesn’t bear thinking about. Yes, it’s just as well we’re a well–behaved bunch of fellas. Or are we? I wonder what would happen within our profession if suddenly music became as vital to the country as electricity or engineering maintenance or transport ! There you have it in a bombshell. The reason we don’t have all that holding–the–country–to–ransom jazz is because nobody would even miss us should we decide to withdraw our talent and labour. Well, not for a few weeks anyway.
Oh well, saylavee! But it does put a fresh slant upon all that cobblers about the Show Must Go On. If the Show didn’t go on it wouldn’t matter much to the pragmatic public or the Trade Gap. The real reason the show must go on is that somebody might find out they didn’t really need it anyway.
Pop music in question
It all happened some twenty odd years ago when we were both working in the Roy Dexter Band in a ballroom in Swindon. In those days musicians were keen and the music was the better for it. We often began a rehearsal after the last paying customer had left. On one such occasion we were interrupted by the intervention of the local policeman. We had neglected to close the windows and he had received a complaint from the adjacent hospital about the sound of a dance band rehearsal at one a.m.
We stopped immediately and invited him to join us in a cuppa before we all left for our beds. One thing led to another and in no time at all we talked our now tame fuzz into showing us his truncheon and handcuffs and even his whistle. The sight of the handcuffs held Eddie fascinated and he insisted on trying them on. After much persuasion the Law consented and Eddie straightaway went to the keyboard to be the first man ever to play real locked–hands style. Happy days!
Thought for the month
Copyright © 1968, Kenny Graham. All Rights Reserved