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.
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!).
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!