Saturday, 9 June 2012

In Ilfracombe

east down manor

Back in the day and after Blackhill Enterprises, the Edgar Broughton band were unfortunately tied up with a management company called World Wide Artistes and part of the deal was accommodation in North Devon in a wonderful house called Eastdown Manor. This is where we wrote and made the demos for the album Inside Out. It was a mixed time with a constant campaign to get our management to do the right thing. This was mostly beyond them due to their complete lack of imagination and criminal tendencies. The worst crook of the lot was a character called Wilf Pine a thoroughly useless pirate who didn’t have a creative bone in his body. Wilf liked to bully people and I’ll never forget the day we sat outside his office listening to him berate and insult the band Stray who were a nice bunch of guys. They looked quite crestfallen and embarrassed as they left his office and we went in. Our personal roadie Chris immediately sorted the situation by telling Mr Pine that if ever he treated us badly or harmed us in any way he, Wilf, would never be able to enjoy a quiet drink again. Wilf was terrified of hallucinogenics and he was told that he would get a nice big trip if he crossed us. Job done. He appeared to have a sneaking regard for our stance and never did cross us. By the way Wilf that promise still stands and you are a pathetic  old man now so keep your distance ha ha!
Any way we all lived at East Down Manor, the home of Sandersons the wallpaper people for about a year and a half. The entire crew lived with us along with a couple of Afghan Hounds that belonged to our Chris.
We had some good times there but I had a few low periods too. The entire beginning of Side by Side on Inside Out was inspired by a visit from our great friend and lawyer Brian Livingstone who got me out of my bed and into a good mood with the help of a little mescaline. Very nice too! I remember that day as we all piled into a little cake shop after a visit to The Valley of Rocks with Brian and the band, wives and crew. We were off our skulls but the two elderly ladies who served our cream teas were quite pleased to see their entire cakes and other goodies consumed in one fell swoop. We were generally well behaved even when totally smashed and we left the ladies with a big smile on their faces.
Brian later helped us successfully sue World Wide Artistes and to have all rights returned to us. This was a first in UK Music biz history and was covered by Private Eye in a piece that lampooned the World Wide Artistes crew unmercifully. 

looks fishy to me

I was down that way again near Ilfracombe last weekend to play a surprise bithday gig for Jim and Gail. It was Gail's 60th. Jim and Gail run a very nice B n B in a lovely setting not far from the coast. 


The gig was at Combe Cottage a restaurant run by couple  Paul and Kate. Kate is the chef and Paul runs front of house. It is a very nice eatery and I am sure you will get a warm welcome if you call by. The gig went well and I was very impressed that Jim kept it all a secret from Gail right up until the last minute. I must thank Steve and Lyn who picked me up from Barnstaple station and took me back the next day. Also thanks to Steve for supplying the amplification.
I slept like a log that night and the next day the entire assembly from the night before showed up for an amazing buffet that really was splendid. One of the high lights of the afternoon was meeting Grant, Gail’s son, and his partner. Grant, not yet thirty is a platoon commander in the British army. It was a fascinating insight to get part of the Afghan story from some one who knows the score. I say again the kids are all right and so are the young men and women I meet at all of the FDPFAFDW gigs. Good luck Grant and be safe.
I’ve been going to Ilfracombe since I was a tot. My parents used to head west for the annual two weeks holiday ( the Coventry fortnight ) and while most kids we grew up with never travelled far in the school holidays we would set out on a Friday night and arrive on the coast by morning on a motor bike and side car.

On this occasion I didn’t get to see the sea at all. Water , water every where and not a drop to fish. Thing is even a light spinning rod is a bit awkward to carry plus all the other bits and pieces and it seems rude to say to my hosts  - I plan to spend most of my time alone on the rocks or a beach.
I have had some marvellous times in Devon and Cornwall but I couldn’t live there long term. The pastoral / semi-urban life is all a bit cosy and remote from where I consider the action to be. It is a lovely place to run away to but I’d be running back to where the change happens quite quickly. There is a lack of modernity in attitude and even language. The rural life is a good life but I don’t see the big positive changes, born out of integration and looking at the bigger picture, happening in the west as they are in the north and south.
I would guess that like Jim and Gail, most of their guests are Christians. There is no doubting the strength of the bonds between them and the good things that grow out of it all. These are people who do good things for others as a matter of course. I am very happy to have met them and enjoyed myself immensely. Thanks to all for a memorable trip.
I'm off to rehearse in the Midlands next week so I'll report back on what transpires when I return.



rickmedlock said...

A enjoyable read as always Rob.

See you next week.

Rick :)

Anonymous said...

Such an enjoyable story,akin to Larkrise to Candleford.It's so obvious you are happy again.

Anonymous said...

Great read as usual Rob, thanks for the last supper communique and very excited about the fabrik cd! will hope fully get to Burton and Leicester looking forward to seeing you and Luke make music together.... now for some long quiet walks in the Lincolnshire countryside ahh the peace and quiet! glad i dont live in your neck o'the woods to busy to fast and you can't grow potatoes like we can!

Anonymous said...

I was watching Michael Chapman's DVD 'Journeyman - live on the Tweed'
He spoke of the days before the Humber Bridge & commented 'why would anybody want to go to Lincolnshire? Nothing but potatoes & wind!

Bournemouth Tony

Anonymous said...

Quite right too Bournemouth Tony, so please everyone don't rush here nowt to see except tates and flat fields.. so rush to the citys step away from Lincolnshire nothing to see.

ahh i love the peace and quiet.


Anonymous said...

Larkrise to Candleford ah sweet!

Mike from Albuquerque said...

Hoping for another post soon Rob.Hope you are well and looking forward to seeing you in Leicester.

Jim & Gail said...

I enjoyed the blog almost as much as your gig. It was great having you stay with us at "Nightingails" and share Gail's birthday buffet. Keeping the meal a secret was easier than the surprise holiday to France with various family and friends.
We get a few Christians staying with us but equally Muslims,Jews, Non believers etc. All are welcome.
Thanks again for the great gig. The look of utter amazement on Gail's face when you turned round to say hello will be with me always.


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