Saturday, 4 June 2016

Goodbye Boys

I try to keep things positive on this blog but am a little sad to be thinking about the passing of two greats , Dave Swarbrick , fiddle player with Fairport Convention amongst many others as well as being an artist in his own right , and Muhammad Ali , peerless boxer and human rights activist.

My Dad
I was introduced to Muhammad Ali from an early age , as he was the nearest thing to a hero for my my dad , a boxer himself who had to give up because he cut so easily. I knew him as Cassius Clay and then went the tmedia trauma of him converting to Islam and changing his name. We had Henry Cooper but Muhammad Ali was the man, my dad was dismissive of Cooper and eulogised Ali.

I was never into boxing because I was far too not liking the pain , also I remember seeing a book about Ali called GOAT , which was on Amazon with a retail price tag of £2,000 . You can now buy it here for a more reasonable , but still expensive £99.99 , but I wondered about the title, GOAT is an acronym .... Greatest of All Time.

There are so many stories surfacing , especially about his links with Tyneside , how he got married at a mosque in South Shields , raised money for a local boxing club , and basically just go on the net and you will see loads of information about the great man.

Another great loss was Dave Swarbrick who I saw at the Tyneside Irish Centre in 2014 , performing on a stage I have (dis)graced myself , my memories are here and he was incredibly funny and talented , I think I also saw him with either Imagined Village or The Albion Band at The Sage.

I first heard him on John Peel accompanying Martin Carthy on "Prince Heathen" , but remember the speed of his playing on "Fiddlestix" on Fairport Live which I still can't hear in my head , I have got to listen to the recording to hear is brilliance.

I do feel that 2016 is a year of incredible artistic departures but their legacy will endure, like Muhammad Ali's fights and words and deeds , we will always remember them, like Swarbrick's music. I'm going to include Johnny Wakelin's "In Zaire" about the Rumble In The Jungle with George Foreman and Swarbrick's live rendition of Fiddlestix.

Remember them this way.

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