No Cunning MD Either

Friends have been congratulating me on getting my app onto Google Play. Word is spreading slowly but surely. There’s apparently a compelling story here – Old Geezer Defies Indifferent IT World And Learns To Code His App Himself. Am I becoming a celebrity?

In case I am (which I doubt), I remind myself of the expression ‘Hubris, nemesis and tears’ and at least one musical enterprise which didn’t go so well. A little humility won’t go amiss.

To prove I’m not making it up – why should I after all when it’s a memory which makes me cringe – you can check the facts on page 83 of a certain famous celebrity’s autobiography. But let me explain…

In the mid sixties when I was nineteen I was working at the Phoenix Theatre in Leicester as a humble assistant stage manager. It’s now called the Sue Townsend Theatre after our city’s famous author. But back then in 1965 it was a three-weekly rep. Carey Harrison’s play Dante Kaput was about to be staged and it featured an on-stage band.

At that time I played pop, folk and hill-billy styles all on acoustic guitar. The classical studies were to come later. So I was excited to be given the task of persuading a local music store to provide a complete electric band kit, instruments and all, for the show. And I would be playing in the band! Incredibly enough I had never actually played an electric guitar before. It was a red Stratocaster. I couldn’t believe the volume…

I was also tasked with looking after three young actors who would be the other band members. They were straight out of the Central School of Speech and Drama in London and apparently in dire financial straits as ex-students often are. So they crashed at my mum’s, the four of us sleeping on mattresses on the floor in my bedroom. No rent and free meals. My mum was lovely!

I think it was Maurice Colbourne (star of Howard’s Way) who bagged the bass guitar. Steve Bradley claimed rhythm guitar. Both played rather hesitantly I seem to remember…

The star of the show and the band’s savior was Tony Robinson who played up a storm on drums. No shrinking violet him, he went for it like a good ‘un. Thank goodness he did as there was at least something excellent about our one number. This is where the humility bit comes in…

No-one suggested a song so we did an instrumental. I was left playing lead.  I was just a dumb kid, what did I know? There was no Musical Director. Carey Harrison, who was directing, never said a word. The band never said a word. So there was me, doing blistering lead guitar solos which made Stockhausen sound like Barry Manilow.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. I hoped for years that it was all quietly forgotten, but no. It’s all on page 83 of No Cunning Plan by Tony Robinson.

Humility strikes again…

 

Posted by Julian Wright

1 comment

Thanks, great article.

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