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John Green Day 2

BY CHRIS COOPER


It’s early Tuesday morning here September 3rd and I am sitting in my Dylan room looking at the pictures we took at the 2nd Annual John Green Day.

Looking at the pictures here the one thing that strikes me most is the happy faces that most of the pictures show. I had asked Dizzy to wander around and take pix during the day, as I knew that when it came down to it I would be far to busy and would never get around to it myself. I am glad that she did them. I thought at the time of the first one that it was too stressful and we would not do another. Then I located Julie Felix and things sorta snowballed from there.

Dizzy and I reached the Moat House Hotel close to 7 pm on Friday night. Many of the hassles that we had all decided we knew how to avoid were staring me straight in the face again. You know. PA playing up, facilities not where they should be. Finding we had to supply more of many things than we expected. Another words just like before. And as usual the stresses and pressures got to me and I suspect to everyone the night before the event. I recall going to bed about 1 am thinking this is never gonna work. Then you get up. After breakfast I go back to the scene of the previous nights troubles, and once again things are magically falling into place.

Sometimes I think that Kidda sits up there and laughs as we struggle to get the evening together, knowing his humour he would have thought some of my antics were pretty crazy that’s for sure. And I am sure he would have noticed the unsung people who do their bit in there and never ask for anything in return. Fellow Freewheelers Richard and Paula who manned the desk, took in tickets and kept things running without any fuss. I know Richard missed a lot of the events as he was always on the desk. We, that is those in FW really should get together some point in the day, or night, and toast the kidda and each other.

And yes it was a helluva day. Our every effervescent Emcee Keith Agar again sliced us to pieces with his razor wit as he cobbled the various events together. Some lovely touches, sometimes it is easy to miss the more sensitive side of Keith but anyone that saw his Restless Farewell (Sinatra) video linked to the pictures of John Green could not helped to be moved. I went over to John's mum Edna at the end of it, seeing the tears rolling down her cheeks. She smiled at me and holding my hand she said, “Its ok, I’m not sad. I’m just so proud to think that you all thought so much of my John. I am so pleased you all still remember him.”

Then there was the speakers.

Keith Agar
Keith Agar
  Jeff Stevens
Jeff Stevens
  Andy Muir
Andy Muir

Andy Muir gave us a scholarly account of the Basements that held the crowd’s attention.

Jeff Stevens looking fresh and rested after his time off from Freewheelin gave a superb account of his visit to Big Pink and the people there. With his slides to illustrate the day he put a nice personal touch to the event. I am sure his family was as impressed as we were.

C.P.Lee
C.P.Lee
  Derek Barker
Derek Barker

Then there was CP Lee. Our very own CP, resident singer, thought provoker and our own court jester. For me he injected some humour as into the talks as well as keeping us thoroughly entertained. As the picture shows shades of Newport 2002 also. Amazing!

We kept abreast of all mags with first Andy and then of course Derek Barker editor of Isis magazine who gave us a personal slant on Al Aronowitz followed by a questions and answers session that we unfortunately were obliged to curtail in order to get all that music in..

The Basement Tapes

And then there was the music! This year more than the first. Three main acts and for actual sets plus a jam session could have been too much if we had not kept it as well mixed as it was.

Societies Pliers
Societies Pliers
  Cold Overture
Cold Overture

Societies Pliers were there again, singing a lot of Basement tracks, their line up expanded slightly from last year they got things moving nicely. Coming on as early in the day as they did cannot be easy but I thought they carried it very well.

Cold Overture are a young band, their enthusiasm and youthful arrogance make them fascinating to watch and they really got the crowd moving. So much so that they were called back for an encore, something that I think surprised them far more than it did the rest of us. I am sure they have a bright future in front of them if they pursue this.

Julie Felix
Julie Felix

Of course the professional peak was left to Julie Felix. Her first set was very impressive, I have never heard “Master Of War” performed so well by anyone other than Bob before, curiously she seemed a bit nervous for her second set but was well received by the crowd. I found it a lovely touch that she spent so much time wandering around, buying up Dylan memorabilia and watching the videos. I spoke to her a number of times during the day and she commented how friendly it was and how pleased she was that so many of the crowd were producing old records for her to sign and saying hello. Her very supportive crew also had the long waited new album of Dylan covers “Starry Eyed & Laughing” to sell for the first time here. I believe it’s the first time a new album has been released at a Convention. Another first for Freewheelin’.

And that was almost it, except for the little matter of the jam session with pretty much everyone (except Julie) that went on and on. By the time it started John, Keith and myself were high on the adrenalin and sleep was out of the question. So we end up drinking and watching films till 4 am.

So was that it?

Well no not really. That is only the event. It says nothing about the time we had meeting old friends, sharing drinks and laughs with your friends and reminding each other why we are here.

Lovely to see Lambchop back with us despite his serious health problems. I know that originally he was not intending to stay the day as he was afraid his health would not hold up. But he did stay and it was nice to see him and the famous hat back in a Dylan community again, surely where he belongs.

This year I spoke to a number of people who would say to me “I never knew John Green, but you guys sure do his memory proud.” That alone makes it worthwhile for me.

We had style.
We had class.
And we put on a good event, better than I could have asked for really.

And if you had asked me on Friday if there would be a John Green Day 3 I would have said “no chance”. And if you asked me now I would say “Of Course". For me that’s what is all about.

John Stokes and Chris Cooper.
John Stokes (left) and Chris Cooper.

 
 
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