18th November

pete bath

Pete Bath displaying silky skills in 1971.

Today is the 18th November and is the birthday of my good friend Pete Bath. It’s not so much that Pete’s birthday means so very much to me, though I wish him the very best, but what tended to happen in my life on his birthday.

I met Pete in September 1970 when he left Doncaster, as I left Birmingham, to start a degree course in French and Italian at University College London. We became good friends almost immediately and that continued through the next 4 years together and also since then.

18th November 1970 was not as significant as later ones. I think we had a bit of a pub crawl and I probably kept Pete company in a boozing marathon. I think I spent much of the evening with a young lady who became my girlfriend not long after.

18th November 1971 was a different kettle of fish altogether. We were living in a flat in West Finchley and decided Pete’s birthday was a more than adequate excuse for a party. Had a row with my then current girlfriend who stomped off home in a huff. Got “befriended” by an older lady from flat next door and grew up a fair bit over the following few months!

This prompted a song I still occasionally perform … “Silicone”. This recording is a demo from a couple of years ago.

nether street 1972

Nether Street flat, West Finchley 1972


 

18th November 1972 found Pete and I sharing a flat in Geneva having both landed plum assignments as English Assistants for a year. As usual Pete’s birthday was an excuse for a party and friends arrived from UK and other places as well as many of our new found Swiss friends. I started a “warm friendship” with a lady I met at the party which created the fresh complications my life seemed to demand in those days.

It was also one of the first times I had played with Michel Bucher, a wonderful flautist and great friend. We recorded a few songs together as “Weeping Willow” and here is one I wrote around this time, “Nevermore”. (NB: recorded in 1972 on a portable cassette recorder so don’t expect “Phil Spector” quality!).

tony burt michel bucher

Weeping Willow : Tony Burt & Michel Bucher : Geneva, 1972-73


 

So we come to 18th November 1973. Back in the UK, sharing a flat in Edgware and of course planning a party. So on the 17th November 1973 I’m wondering what tomorrow is going to bring, and here is the song those thoughts prompted, “18th November”.


 

When the momentous day arrived, 18th November 1973, what whirlwind hit me? How was my life turned upside down? Well I was receptive and open to it but nothing interesting happened and I don’t recall much of note happening to me on that date from 1973 to now.

But I did write a song, sat sulking in my room, “The Ship”, which was the last song I wrote as a young man. I didn’t write another until well into the 1980’s. Anyway here is “The Ship”


 

So what about 18th November 2014? Well it’s 41 years since I wrote a song on this date and I’d probably sit down and try to write one tonight if I wasn’t otherwise engaged. I’m off down to the Falcon Hotel in Bromyard for our weekly music session where I get to play with some of my best buddies. Think I’ll try a few of these songs to bring back memories. But definitely will not be starting any romantic adventures, especially as Brigid and her sister will be there too!

One thought on “18th November

  1. tonyb Post author

    Just received this from Pete Bath:

    Hi Tony,

    Thank you for your best wishes to me on my 64th Birthday, plus the enclosed blog, songs, photos, etc. I love the photo of all of us, including Mike Bond and Vicky from next door, outside the Nether Street flat. Do you remember who took the photo? It wouldn’t have been Vicky’s husband Clive, would it!

    I can update you with a little information regarding those other birthdays. In 1970 we didn’t just have a ‘bit of a pub crawl’. Nearly the whole French Department joined us in the New Inn on Tottenham Court Road and I eventually fell out into the street after everyone had bought me at least one drink (about 15 bottles of barley wine and several pints). I cannot remember a thing after that except that I think it was you who looked after me and somehow got me back to Ramsay Hall. I’m not sure if you left or stayed but I remember waking up in my room alongside Inez Harman, but being as p****d as I had ever been I just went back to sleep. The next day was when I was summoned to Professor Screech’s study, together with Olivia Seligman and was questioned about what had happened at the pub and thereafter, ie: any drugs? That was when Glynn had fallen into some sort of a catatonic state and had written pages and pages of scribble with Olivia’s and my names being prominent. My birthday was the start of Glynn’s downhill decline but it wasn’t down to drugs – or my birthday really.

    In 1973 Dave Willan had booked a restaurant down in Charlotte Street , “Animos”, for about 15 of us. When we got there we found that the restaurant had no record of the booking and told us to go elsewhere. Some swearing ensued and we were thrown out. We went round the corner and found that the Pizza House in Goodge Street could accommodate us. This was the setting for Mike Walling to demonstrate the perceived merits of sponge finger biscuits and zabaglione and we nearly got thrown out from there. I’m pretty sure you were with us, as well as John, Dave, Mike Walling, Mike Bond and Lynda Joint, Mike’s girlfriend at the time, plus other girlfriends.

    Fast forward to 2014 and yesterday I met Mike Harrison at lunchtime from the train at Grimsby station. Things were so much more sedate and although we went to the pub where Mike and I discussed the self-same memories of November 18ths past and those particularly in which MIke was involved, I am glad to say there was no rolling around in the street or causing chaos in the pubs and restaurants in fact quite the opposite. Mike, Jade and I went out to a restaurant last night and Mike fell asleep mid-dessert – boring or what? Not really.

    Well, thanks again for the memories. I still have all my diaries so if you ever need to cover these events in more detail, or name names, here I am. Good luck with the rest of your blog, best wishes and love to Brigid. Pete, xx

    Reply

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