“Une Pause Dans Le Temps”

The Blue-Berries   Paul Swan’s memories (1/2)


Paul Swan added these reminiscences :

I recall our gig with Them as the stage manager warned us before they arrived that they were notorious for borrowing supporting acts’ equipment to save them unloading theirs. Sure enough they did and I thought we were pretty brave in standing our ground and refusing. However, I had left my tambourine on stage and the next thing I knew Van Morrison was using it. Gave me a bit of a buzz and a story for years after. It is now a few feet away from me. The skin is stretched and old, a bit like me, but still inscribed in red paint with my name.

Also while we were playing with Stevie Winwood watching, a string broke on my guitar and with the floating bridge it threw the rest of them out of tune. Rather embarrassing as we were trying to impress! I had to run off and change it quick leaving the rest of you to it! Memories!

Paul Swan, September 2012

More of Paul’s musings :

My trusty old acoustic I started with, was from Fred Knight's second-hand emporium in (was it?) Carnarvon Rd (Yes - That’s where my first guitar came from too. Now the Chaos Gaming Zone - Ed!). My dad bought it for me for the princely sum of £5. The first thing I had to do, of course, was reverse all of the strings - filing out the narrower grooves to take the wound strings (E,A,D). Trouble was at the other end of the scale, the finer strings (particularly B,E) had too much play on the bridge and used to regularly snap. As a result, I used to pad the bridge with toilet paper to act as a cushion! I then got an aperture pick-up to amplify the sound - whatever that sounded like!

Also, do you remember my white bongos? A present I wanted and then didn't really know what to do with! So, they were enlisted as part of Richard's drum kit. Only trouble was they weren't really designed for drum sticks and one of the skins tore quite soon afterwards. They were quickly consigned to the loft and 20 odd years later, to the dump as I couldn't be bothered to see about getting them repaired!

I well remember picking up our Burns guitars from Tottenham Court Rd. On winning the competition I had cheekily written to say that I would require a left-handed model as my prize. I didn't hear anything but when Richard and I turned up, we found that the basic sun-burst models we were supposed to have been given were not in stock, however they had 2 separate special orders which had never been collected. Not only were they the more expensive coloured bodies - but, of course, even more unbelievably, one was left-handed. We went from despondent to triumphant in a flash when they agreed we could have them. Must have been fate!

I remember Dave and Paul's uncle. As Richard G says, I think Rolf was his surname. Also remember practising in his garage, much to his near-neighbours’ irritation! I couldn't remember how we used to transport ourselves with him as, didn't he just have a small Bedford van? - but maybe Richard H has answered that. Obviously I remember my dad driving us lock, stock and barrel in his big blue Commer furniture delivery van - particularly the two trips to the Brightlingsea Sailing Club. I think we must have rock and rolled well enough in the back. Then he had to drive home and drive back later to pick us all up. Looking at my notes, I see we also played another gig in Brightlingsea at a church youth club (24th April 1965). Didn't even remember that. Doesn't look like many people turned up as there was another event in the town!


Up  : Richard biography