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Dylan cartoon Hello, My Name's
Keith Agar



by Chris Cooper



OR ANOTHER DAY IN NORTHAMPTON

Well guys we did it again! This time seemed easier in some ways. There may well be  a number of reasons this was so. First off, our indefatigable Emcee Keith Agar (the unofficial Freewheeler) had carried the organization for this one mostly on his own shoulders. Of course we helped when we could, but Keith supplied the momentum. 

Once again the crowds were of similar volume and indeed many familiar faces, it’s good to see we are developing a group of regulars much as our Cambridge meetings do. And this time we succeeded in persuading our other Cambridge cohort John Nye to join us. I believe this was John’s first ever Convention, but he certainly settled in. I usually get left to do the audio/visual stuff at Northampton and it often means I am running from place to place. Well it was a little easier this year as John Nye, who often helps set things up at Cambridge naturally dropped back into the role and was soon helping sort the chaos out. Thanks John.

John Green Day 4  

Whilst Keith set about one of his hilarious intros to the day the usual reliable band were at the door letting the hordes in. Fellow members Paula and Richard again manned the door throughout the day. Without a whimper, well done. I’d like to put their pics here but sadly whilst I did organize a camera my missus Dizzy left the thing on and the batteries were dead in no time so I only have stills from my films. Next year people...

Also would have liked to put one in (or on!) my old sparring partner JRS, who tried to keep things together in his usual diplomatic way, and who got the present FWlers together for a small FW agenda meeting during the day. It generally was felt that we should hold a further get together in the style of our old Lincoln meetings. So we may start meeting twice a year soon!

John Green Day 4

Andy Muir was first speaker a role he’s well used to, and I thought this year he gave his best yet. He also produced a further rare audio track “in the spirit of John Green” which was a touching gesture. 

   
John Green Day 4

On the subject of touched, CP Lee’s talk that followed was the customary mixture of sartorial wit and mayhem that makes his talk such a popular one. He had me switching tracks, audio / video and stills as he ran us through some of our musical heritage, nice one CP. And wherever did you find all those rare pics???

   
John Green Day 4

Trevor Gibb introduced Masked and Anonymous’ screening. His enthusiasm and knowledge on the subject was impressive. To see someone so young being so animated and enthusiastic about our old wheezer was really nice. He’d be a good addition to the FW ranks one fine day.

Masked and Anonymous gave me some respite time and I was sure glad of that. Though I have two endearing memories of it. One was walking back almost tripping over Paula who was sitting there glued to the screen. She almost apologized for being in there but when I reached the back of the room I could see that virtually our entire audience were in there. Dealers rooms are rare video screenings had been abandoned and with the lights out it almost had a cinema atmosphere.

John Green Day 4

 

John Green Day 4

The panel discussion happened this time, we have tried before somehow it never got going. This time it did, I was so pleased to see our old mate Jeff Stevens up there and very involved. A sit followed the screening it was not surprisingly dominated with M & A questions. But I enjoyed it, and as you can see so did the panel themselves. We were now running over a bit but  there was  a break here. So we had some free time? If only. This was when we had to get the bands set ups organized as well as Keith’s slide presentation, and with JRS herding us into a FW meeting also I barely had no time to get a meal even. In the end Dizzy and I had to grab some food during Peter Stone Brown's set. Dizzy was pretty considerate here as this is not the way many wives expect to spend their 33rd wedding anniversary!

John Green Day 4

Thankfully she (and I) really enjoyed Peter's set, he was joined at the end by Trevor Gibb and at one point gave us an almost 30 minute intro to Farewell Angelina! Awesome! This guy has been everywhere. I got his album that he was sporting and whilst it’s 8 years old you should still hear it. I’d have him back for sure.

And returns were what was to follow, I confess some misgivings about whether we should have rebooked  the next two, but my fears were groundless.

John Green Day 4  

John Green Day 4

Cold Overture gave the best set I have ever seen them do, with their new guitarist “Fanny” they were on top form and delivered scorching versions of many Dylan songs including Hurricane and very touching versions of “Tomorrow is a long time” dedicated to absent friends, which I assumed referred to their soundman Yan who is seriously ill. Paul had his name written on his forearm throughout the performance.

And so we got to Steve Gibbons, and you know, he was just amazing, so much more relaxed than before, he joked, he took requests at the end and he overran! My fears were  quite groundless judging by the  cheers.

By now it was gone midnight but we were up most of the night as usual, I spent with many of my mates, some fellow collectors and my old conspirator David, which as you can see Dizzy did manage to  capture.

John Green Day 4

So another JG passes, and I am pretty sure there will be JG5 next year. I have no idea who will be booked, but I know who a lot of the crowd will be. I haven’t mentioned John’s family but they were all there again this year. Including John’s Mum Edna.

Last year she had implied she might not be back but not only was she there she stayed up till after the event had closed. I was therefore a bit surprised to see her bright eyed on the Sunday morning as we prepared to leave. She came over and gave Dizzy and I a goodbye hug. “Look after yourselves”, she said, “I’ll see you all next year”. I commented that I thought she had done well to stay the day and that I was glad she would be back, and with a  smile she said “well you feel a part of my family now”.

I don’t think there is any better reason for what we do.

To the Kidda !

and,

Till  Next Time

 
 
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