Copyright © 2005 Martin Newell
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Johnny Clarke's (surprise)birthday party... and so, round to the restaurant room of the Grey for a bit of buffet and about 20 or so people and sundry daughters and missuses. And for a Monday night in Essex at the beginning of a recesssion, quietly great, all things considered. I brought a guitar in and and managed to play Wow! Look At That Old Man for John, which he likes because it has a strong nod to doo-wop in it and John's an absolute doo-wop nut. Pete was there, whom I used to live with in a big ramshackle house about thirty years ago. Pete ran my homebrew up to festivals a couple of times and it made me enough money to pay for some studio sessions that eventually led to my first solo record deal.
Not too wild really...sort of like a well-behaved kids' party and with Fiona, who's helping me with some demos at the moment, finally doing a bit of singing aided by John. The guys there were a mixture of interesting old buzzards...mechanics, politicos and everybody off to some sort of work in the morning. Lots of jokes about how many times John gets mistaken for Ron Wood.Which he does...I've actually been in the Mezzo in Wardour Street with him when he's been approached by an American businessman who wouldn't take no for an answer. John just gave up and signed 'Ron' .What else could he do?
I told the Brighton story: John and I were on our way to a gig at The Zap in Brighton years ago. The taxi we were in stopped at some lights. Next to us was a B-boy...baseball hat on back to front..dumb expression and blasting out about 300 watts of dancebeat nonsense BOOMCHA BOOMCHA BOOMCHA BOOM . John winds the window down in the cab and shouts at the bonehead: ( joke noo yawk accent) " HEY BUDDY? COULD YA TURN IT UP A BIT? I THINK I STILL GOT ONE EYE-SOCKET LEFT!" The taxi driver's wondering what the hell's going on. The bonhead in the car sees the two weirdos in the back laughing hysterically and looks nonplussed. The lights change and to prove that he's the man, he does that screeching premature ejac. wheelspin thing that young drivers do. And John and I are still laughing at the twat. Then we do the gig.
Happy birthday John... and many more of them.
Good old Johnny Claaarke at Newell's desk