Motorcycles And kebabs
I have been a fan of Big Johns for many years and seen him perform on several occasions at gigs and gatherings, often introducing less enlightened folk to his genius. Two gigs spring readily to mind , but for different reasons , on e when I was attending college as a mature student in the west country and the other a little closer to, what I believe is, Johns roots.
While studying and living in Devon I read of an upcoming gig by JM in Bristol, several of my fellow students, having never been fortunate enough to have heard John before, were invited back to my digs and enlightened, and ten of us onboard five motorcycles headed up the M5. I am not 100% certain but think it was around 1986 or so, despite the fact that we were all students of Motorcycle engineering, mechanical failure threatened to leave two of our party stranded by the roadside. I have an aunt and three cousins in Bristol and phoned the eldest, Tony, to see if he could help, after explaining our dilemma he offered to drive down and pick up my friends and give them a lift to the gig. I cajoled my friends into paying for a ticket for him from a tout outside the venue and we all crowded in to see John perform with a full band , which blew us all away, a fantastic performance which my cousin still talks about to this day.
The second was at the Kendal leisure and arts centre, maybe two years later, again I had convinced a large number of friends, and friends of friends, to attend, with a party at the farmhouse I was renting afterwards. It was a rather an intimate performance, John and the ever present, at that time, Foster Patterson occupying the stage. I saw this as maybe my one chance of meeting one of my musical heroes and so after a peerless performance I tried to get back stage, with no success. Gathering in the foyer and arranging the convoy back to the farm we headed out to the car park. Walking past the emergency exit to the venue I saw the door was open, plucking up my courage I opened it and entered to be greeted by the sight of JM breaking down his gear and packing up, I walked up to the stage and thanked him for a great night to which he responded with thanks of his own, before I could say anything else a few of the ladies who were in tow had followed me in and there enthusiasm seemed to overwhelm him , they were all talking at once inviting him to the party, which he gratefully declined, trying to entice him with a kebab (I am vegetarian he said) pizza then ? No going home to the Mrs, as he took refuge behind his amp.
Thanks JM, hope to catch you again soon.
Steve Burns, Norway