The Devil looks after his own
Kenny Graham bio
Hi there, pop fans!
Smile, smile, smile
It's all over
I have got the furious needle
Brain Drain
Revive me!
My inheritance

The Devil looks after
Hymn Number Dinky Do
The Expert
Post mortem
Tete a tete
Fine, fine, fine
Fame and fortune
Mars, they're making eyes

Have you noticed it's nearly always the nice guys who die? I've been sticking pins into wax effigies of nasty members of our fraternity for years and they get richer and richer. The villains get stronger and the meek inherit the earth—just a small plot of it. The talents around get less and less and the snides appear to go on for ever.

I am not a man who makes friends easily and my loss, when someone dies, is rarely a personal one. However, the horrible realisation that I will never hear old so-and-so playing again bugs me more than enough. If any of you that have left us ever get a chance to read this column I would like you to know that I really do miss you and the world is the poorer for your departure and thanks for all the hard work you put in to make the kind of music you did for the short time you were with us. Pax Vobiscum.

To be or not to be
An interesting thought was put forward by a taxi driver on the TV feature Braden On The Box the other Sunday. This man suggested that greatness and success might well be in us all and it is only circumstances that push some to the top while others stay in their semi-detached and live out their humdrum lives. I've been considering the implications of the theory ever since. Yes, it makes you think, doesn't it? But it would seem to be unarguable. We can only know what people are and never what they might have been.

It is my belief that it is quite possible to have a great talent and never be a success and conversely, to be a great success and have no talent at all no matter what our circumstances are or what opportunities we may have. I don't think it's important anyway, Take the case of J. S. Bach. His contemporaries didn't reckon him at all and it matters little if he wrote music to get away from his hoard of screaming kids or for the greater glory of God. The important thing is that he did write and we are in the pleasurable position of being able to enjoy interpretations of what he wrote. Exactly the same could be said about Duke Ellington. Not that he's got a hoard of screaming kids, and as far as I know he doesn't dedicate each work to God's greater glory. His will be a different set of circumstances, maybe because of his racial background, or because of his living conditions as a child. Whatever it was, it doesn't matter. He did what he had to and we are the richer for it.

The taxi driver who started all this might have won a Nobel Prize or sailed single-handed around the globe; or broken the Sound Barrier on a pedal cycle. Come to think of it, J. S. Bach might have helped carry a sedan chair and the Duke become a New York taxi driver. But they didn't.

What a revolting lot
They're all at it-workers, students, the lot. All of them are revolting, some for more money, others for better conditions, and they're doing it all over the world. But not the musicians. They will have to stay revolting in their own peculiar way. Or need they? Since I wrote The Show Must Go On I've been thinking about this revolting strike business. Here are my thinks: I suggested that musicians are not in a good position to strike because what they sell doesn't rank as essential. On second thoughts I might have been wrong. We must take a leaf out of the French students' book and learn a lesson from the recent B.R. tactics. Audacity and split-second timing are the important things to remember.

The French, and some British students, have the audacity to suggest to their mentors that they know how to run universities and know how and what they wish to be taught in them. So the first thing we musicians must do is to take over the BBC-TV studios, recording companies, theatres, clubs, and tell them that we've had enough of playing and writing all the rubbish they ask for and insist on playing and writing what we like. What right have they to tell us? Next stage is to withdraw our labour when it's going to have a telling effect on the biggest number of people. How about a scream-up for an across-the-board 20 per cent rise two minutes before the curtain goes up on a Royal Variety Performance? Or walking out of the pit just before the curtain goes up on a musical extravaganza when a foreign dignitary is sitting with our P.M. in the audience? There are so many beautiful opportunities that spring to mind.

Better still if the M.U. had jurisdiction over the State Trumpeters and other military music-makers. Think how quickly we would all get an increase if Her Majesty and the Cabinet were made to do without their fanfares and marches at some important State occasion. The thought of such diabolical power is driving me revoltingly insane.

But brothers, all this is nowt but a dream. Bet your sweet life that some bloody blackleg who could knock a tune out of anything would jump into the breach and ruin it all.

Amusiacs unite!
I have mentioned before in this column the laughable attempts of the Labour Movement to sing "The Red Flag". What should have been a sound to inflame me to sharpen my pitchfork and oil the wheels of the tumbril had me rolling around the floor in uncontrolled merriment. Well folks, it's happened again! This time it was the students. Flown here at great expense by the B.B.C., they aired their opinions as to what was wrong with the world and for the coda raised a clenched fist (some right, some left!- thought there was some rule about that!) and began to render "The Internationale". I use the word render advisedly . . . you couldn't call it singing! I had to be restrained from rolling out of the house, my merriment was so great.

So what is it with these revolutionaries? Do you have to be tone-deaf to become a member? Amusiacs they may be, and also highly amusing . . . when they start to sing.

 Copyright © 1968, Kenny Graham. All Rights Reserved