Wednesday, September 2, 2009


9-2-09 England

Just like Finland yesterday – I first went to England in the fall of 1979 – 30 years ago! I got tips from record collector friends about where to look for records in London – but I didn’t have enough brains to have a hotel / bed & breakfast reservation! The only address of a place where I could stay turned out to be full. They took pity on me, and recommended me to a bed & breakfast in Shepherd’s Bush, where I stayed on and off for several years (in “Lime Grove”, to be exact).

How / why did I go to England? I saw The Avengers on TV, as a child. I loved the music of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. I thought that the British spoke the same language as me. And I loved British pressings of phonograph records!

Yes, the common language makes a difference. I can have deep conversations with other English speakers, some of whom actually reside in England! And, as many of you will know – I went to live in England for nearly a year, in 1990. I lived in Lower Kennington, in Bath. I went to Manchester, Swindon, Bristol and London. Manchester to see my friends from Pasadena, Dread Zeppelin; Swindon because XTC came from Swindon; Bristol because it was just down the road from me and; London, because it has a boatload of record stores and I actually know some great people there…

Poet / lyricist Pete Brown has been in my phone book for about 25 years. He wrote many lyrics for Cream / Jack Bruce. I really love his books “Few” and “Let “em Roll Kafka” (both illustrated by the late Mal Dean). Pete is a real music fanatic – we always talk about Hermeto Pascoal together. And it was through Pete that I got to meet the late Dick Heckstall-Smith (of Colosseum). Last time I saw Pete was in North Hollywood, at the studio of Eddie Kramer, the guy who made all the Jimi Hendrix albums!

Ooh, not so fond of the food in England. But the drink was OK. The TV was also very interesting, during my year in Bath. 4 channels, all equally interesting, with easily accessible satellite TV still in the future for the UK.

Before I left England, I took out an advertisement for a “Video Trading Partner” – I forget which magazine it was in – Record Collector? What Video? Long story short: I’ve been corresponding with Terry Greenhill (aka Telberto) since 1991. He’s sent me nearly all of the series of “Later with Jools Holland” – first on VHS tape, then on DVD-R’s!

I seldom buy anything from Amazon in the US, but I am a frequent customer of – I sometimes buy Word Magazine, and see books that will never see the light of day in the US – so I order them up from! I’ve also ordered a lot of CD’s from them, too. Decent prices and, in many cases, the only way to get British jazz that the importers / exporters won’t usually deal in!

Peter Cook & Dudley Moore! Spike Milligan! England, oh, England!

- Ron

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