The Tears of a Clown

Now if there's a smile upon my face…

Thursday Nights – It’s Reunion Time

After the recent death of a musical hero of mine, John Martyn the singer-songwriter it left me contemplating life a little. I had explained in my tribute to John how I came to first attend one of his concerts back in the late seventies with a friend from Nottingham Trent Polytechnic as it was in those days.  His enthusiasm for John Martyn’s music convinced me that I should give this man a good hearing and I became a great admirer of him  then, and over the years.

Jeff Reynolds was that good fiend of mine amongst a host of good friends of the day, others being Rue Randall and Gary Tarlton-Weatherall who also studied at Trent Polytechnic in the same small class as myself. We were all apprentice compositors – typesetters basically, for those not familiar with the now-defunct word. We were all industry-based with full-time jobs in print shops but came along to study for a year full-time at ‘the Poly’, thereafter followed by one-week-per-month appearances at the same learning institution.

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They were wonderful, exciting times in some respects but also very difficult ones too. We four were a pretty tight-knit bunch in most respects.  It’s difficult to forget the pressure we were placed under in learning that very complex and skilled trade. In those days a failure in our exams basically meant no City & Guilds qualification and therefore no status as a craftsman. To fail would have been unthinkable and quite possibly the route into a potentially humdrum unskilled job with few prospects. It was against that backdrop that we studied together but one would never have thought so in observing us. Continue reading


September 4, 2009 Posted by | Ripping Yarns | , , , | 8 Comments