Wednesday 27 January 2010

Freddy Plays Guitar

I've always been fond of inanimate objects. As a child I could form quite close relationships with stuff I'd find out playing... unusual stones, bizarre ornaments and interesting pieces of wood. It didn't get as serious as a 'conversation'... but I may have occasionally spoken to them. It's probably a good thing I grew out of it, but to this day, I still love objects that come with stories.

Take this jar of pickled onions. Brought round by my parents friends Fred and Linda to go with some cheese. Fred's originally from Ross on Wye, just across the Welsh border, cider country, and he prunes a mean apple tree. He's also an accountant. Linda's financial too. I've known them since I was a kid, but that's more or less all I knew about them... until two weeks ago in Wales.

Over dinner... actually before dinner, during dinner and for quite a long time after dinner... we drank too much wine. The chat flowed too. Turns out, in the early 70s Fred worked for Huntsman, the very exclusive Savile Row tailor, as bill chaser to Royalty and some of the eras biggest stars.

Linda used to hang out with the largely forgotten, then huge, Badfinger. Clearly, in the parlance of the times, these kids were rather groovy.

Well, it turns out, one evening at some hip Soho night spot, a young Fred, fresh from rugby practice, got chatting to a very nice young man at the bar. The nice young man made him a proposition...

Which Fred says he declined... Yes, in about 1971, Fred knocked back David Bowie. A year later Ziggy Stardust came out.

So, Bowie never got his hands on Freddy's onions... but I did. We forgot to eat them with the cheese, so I brought them back to Glasgow. In return, here's a song that definitely was written for you Fred... and, by the way, your onions are lovely.

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