A tale of two mikes

Continuing the meander down the track of my bygone musical wanderings, the year is 1972, the occasion a Bangladesh benefit concert organised by the Swansea University’s Progressive Hedonists Union for Culture and Creativity (known by its friends as the PHUCC club!) Really the club had little to do with the university, other than using its facilities and venues. It was a largely underground run by my buddy Tony Tillmanns who went on to run a very successful music advertising company. I used to help Tony out with the club and when George Harrison organised his hugely ambitious and successful Bangladesh charity gig in New York we wondered whether we could replicate the idea (on a more modest scale of course) in Swansea. A date was fixed, and a venue organised, namely the town’s Top Rank ballroom. Acts were contacted – and there was a real willingness to play for chips so  that we could maximise the money raised. Genesis, Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come (one of the best live acts then and now and the classy Mick Abraham’s Band had all agreed. We were just short of an act to open this prestigious event. Who better than our own band, The Fitton’s Freaker’s Jugband? After protracted negotiations the deal was sealed. We would play for a crate of beer. On the night  we suddenly realised we had a problem – no amplification! No worries we naively thought. We’ll just use Genesis’s!

Unsurprisingly Genesis refused our request but with one  concession. We could use one microphone. So, huddled around this mike like flies trapped on flypaper we ran through our set with a sound caught somewhere between the Grateful Dead and Lonnie Donegan. I can’t say how we went down because we were all a tad pissed having consumed the free beer in something of a dash. I do remember one guy saying he liked one song – ‘Binding Myself To You’ – the rest is a little hazy.

Much to my astonishment a flyer from this show has survived the years. Here it is typed lovingly by Tony’s fair hand.

On a much sadder note – this was also the stage that later that year witnessed the tragic death of the gifted and still remembered Stone the Crows guitarist, Les Harvey, at a gig organised by the Entertainments Committee of Swansea University. Les grabbed hold of a mike with a wet hand, a mike that sadly was not earthed. An utterly shocking and heartbreaking thing to occur. I shan’t ever forget it.

Such is the passing nature of our fragile life…………….

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keithfitton

Left with the use of my left arm/hand only, after a serious motor cycle accident in 2005, I am learning to adapt to life with a brachial plexus injury and have developed a style of playing guitar using open tunings. I love drawing, painting and generally messing around in a fairly loose fashion. Can't describe myself as an artist, but perhaps a doodler with intent.

2 thoughts on “A tale of two mikes”

  1. Hi Keith, I remember it well. I was supposed to go and see, you but Alan Fletcher had split with his girlfriend that day and I ended up walking the cliff tops of Caswell Bay with him.. I actually tell people that I nearly played the gig, because I did join in your rehearsals with my minimal musical talent, but I knew I stood no chance of really being on stage. I’ve still got a poster advertising the event- I’ll try and find it in the loft and upload a photo of it.
    I also remember the Les Harvey tragedy-another gig I would have gone to, but for the fact that the Wolves/ Spurs EUFA Cup fFnal was on TV. I can still see your face when you came back and told us about it at our wonderful Palace in Bryn Rd, I’ll never forget how upset you were, and I felt pretty gutted as well because I’d seen Stone The Crows before and they were a brilliant live band. Happy (and sad) days, wonderful memories.
    Keith

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