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Across the Borders / One Silver Wedding and a Funeral

5 April 2009 3,610 views 6 Comments

dloverWell as of Monday April 6 I will be back in gainful employment. I have a new job working at the Borders store in Milton Keynes.

Borders is primarily a major book selling outlet and also sells Magazines, DVD’s and CD’s –the MK store has a Paperchase concession selling designer stationary and a Starbucks café.

It’s the bottom rung in but a foot in the door and as the singer once said ‘’everything that’s small has to grow’’ and it will bring in much needed regular income.

So ends six weeks of form filling, online job viewing, jobseekers signing on, solo bike rides (a man had to stay fit!), many a mood swing from optimism to pessimism, sometimes in the space of a few minutes (the good lady has had to put up with a lot!) as I got my head around the challenging status known as redundancy. And then of course there was the bed shop interview…

As they say on those reality TV shows…it’s been a journey…

Once again thanks to so many people out there who offered support

and help during the difficult last few weeks. I’m more than a bit nervy about getting out there again but I hope I’ll soon be back in the retail loop.

The last few days have been full on as I packed in a fair few things before the big retail return. Last week I spent a very enjoyable stop over at Graeme Hutchinson’s place in Berkshire. It was a real luxury for us both to spend an afternoon and evening immersed in Zep related banter.

Can’t recall the last time I’ve indulged in viewing Zep videos with no distractions. We had on Knebworth August 4,Earls Court May 25, Seattle 77 etc ( bit of a throwback to the day I viewed all that in Swan Song back in 1981) and also saw that Physical Graffiti doc which has yours truly waxing lyrical.

Graeme’s guitar collection was nothing less than incredible – original signature Jimmy Page Gibson’s, a Gibson double neck, Botswana brown Telecaster,Lake Placid Strat and more .

In fact Graeme gave me an insightful lesson in how Jimmy achieved that B bender effect on the live version of Ten Years Gone. Now I know why he does all those shoulder hunches on the Knebworth video.

Then there was Graeme’s expansive CD collection – all manner of rare Japanese box sets and more before my very eyes. It was great to cram all that Zep indulgence into a 24 hour spell.

Mirroring what happened exactly 25 years ago when Janet had a viral infection a week before our wedding (but thankfully got to the church on time), the good lady has not been 100% the last few weeks but thankfully again recovered for our Silver Anniversary celebrations on March 31.

Yes 25 years and never a cross word…well one or two like the time she had to sit though The Firm (only joking Jimmy!)…we had a day in London dodging the rain on Saturday and on the actual day a nice meal out in the afternoon. At 4pm we walked over to the nearby church we got married on that precise moment 25 years ago. The actual church was locked and I wondered if the organist who performed (and yes I know it’s cheesy!) arrangements of Stairway To Heaven as Janet came in to the church and All My Love as we signed the register, still held court. Back then he gave me a tape of him rehearsing the two pieces and of course I had to drag that down from the loft and give it a hearing. Sounded rather eerie all these years later but still effective.

We met with the Lewis bruvs and wives later where one remarked (paraphrasing the famous Diana quote) ‘’There’s been three people in this’s called Led)…well whatever formula there is it’s worked for us this past quarter of a century!

Thinking a back to 1984 it seems like a different world. The diary reveals I compiled a wedding top ten playlist of the tunes that were inspiring and summing up that period of March 25 years ago. It lined up like this:

Stairway To Heaven, All My Love, (the church soundtrack) Ain’t Nobody/ Chaka Khan (Janet’s ring tone now!) Thriller/ Michael Jackson (his Making Of video had just come out and we sold bucket loads of that at WH Smith where we both worked), Head Start To Happiness /The Style Council (appropriate Weller tune),The House That Jack Built /The Questions (ditto), What Do I Do/ Galaxy (disco tune I recall playing at our reception),Van Halen/ Jump (a great rock tune), Dr Mabuse/Propaganda (ZTT dance act),Glad It’s All Over/ Captain Sensible (and we were!) and Just Be Good To Me/ SOS Band (another one from our reception).

Of course I could not resist compiling a Silver Wedding playlist of the tunes that have been inspiring and summing up where it’s at now which runs like this:

Stairway To Heaven, All My Love,( 25 years on natch),Chesnut Mere/ The Byrds (from a bargain Fopp purchase last Saturday), Used To Be A King /Graham Nash (his melancholy has often fitted the mood recently) Forever Young/ Bob Dylan, One Too Many Mornings/ Bob Dylan (see below) , Speak Lke A Child /The Style Council (nostalgic spring uplifter), I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing/ Aerosmith (one of the good lady’s all time faves), Ten Years Gone Knebworth live version (recalling a great day out in Berkshire – thanks G!),Slow Dancer Robert Plant (see below)

In stark contrast the next day I attended the funeral of an old friend Dave Briggs. I saw a lot Dave in the early 80’s when we played in our band Roughmix –Dave on a mean sunburst Strat , me on the drums of course. He was an integral member of Alan Stutz (of Diary Of A Nearly Man fame) gang. I last saw him at Alan’s book launch last November. I knew he’d been ill with cancer but his death aged 50 was a shock. Dave was an affable lovely man, laid back and often of few words but always perceptive and he loved his music including Zep. I remember playing Slow Dancer from Robert’s debut album on a pre release tape after a Roughmix rehearsal in June 82 in Alan’s bedroom with Dave, Sponge (our bass player), and others of the gang. Don’t know why, but I have a clear memory of watching the liquid volume lights flicker as the track progressed as they peaked

around the point where Plant screeches ‘’Well well’’ and goes into that final verse.

Afterwards we all agreed Plant still had it. In spades.

Dave had a great way of passing judgment by raising an eyebrow and uttering either a tentative ‘’yeah’..for a thumbs up or ‘’ummm’’for a thumbs down. Slow Dancer got a definite ‘’yeah’’

It was a big turn out for the funeral including Jerry Bloom local renowned Blackmore /Deep Purple chronicler etc. Another of the old gang Shaun M made a heartfelt speech about Dave and afterwards there were more than a few beers supped at The Queens Head Milton Ernest. A live three piece knocked out some fine tunes including a rendering of Dylan’s One Too Many Mornings one of my all time Zim faves.

Jerry and I got into the usual light hearted L. Zep v Deep P. battle even down to our ring tones I have Immigrant Song which he said sounded like the Birdie Song while his was some obscure Purple track although the length of it seemed of Child In Time proportions.

It was good to see many people I just don’t see too much of now from way back, but the good thing was it was like I’d seen them only the day before. It was another day of high emotion (there’s been a few lately) a reaffirmation that true friendship runs deep and Dave would have been well proud of how the whole day turned out. There was a lot of love in that pub.

All for Dave Briggs 1958 -2009

Rest in peace Roughmix guitarist of much repute…

In between all that there’s been the TBL site redesign which I hope you’ll agree Martyn has done a fantastic job on, JL’s birthday is today April 3 (happy birthday Mr X!) we are picking up Sam from Norwich early Sunday who is back for Easter.

Then I’ll be girding my loins as it were for a full on retail return across the Borders in MK on Monday at 10.30am. So it begins again…ever onward

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  • Patrick in Bournemouth said:

    HI Dave

    Pheeeewwwee ! Glad to hear you managed to get a new job – you must be SO relieved. **CONGRATULATIONS**

    Borders is a fantastic shop – the one here in Bournemouth does a great trade – and it stocks TBL !

    Keep it going Mate – looking forward to the next mag.


    ps, the website is spot-on – like it !

  • Steve A. Jones said:

    Congratulations to Dave & Janet on their Silver Wedding Anniversary.

    All the best,

    Steve A. Jones

  • Neil Stoker said:

    Well done Dave, welcome back to the land of work, keep up the good work on the site and COME ON YOU SPURS

  • Gerry M., Shefford said:

    Great news Dave…nice storefront display of Mr Wall’s latest perhaps?

  • Sheldon Cole - Taunton Zeppelin fan said:

    Many congratulations Dave. It must have been a very worrying and stressful time, but you must now be feeling a certain relief! Best of luck with the new role.
    I hope you still have time to write your diary entries which I and no doubt many others really enjoy.
    PS I share your enthusiasm for “Presence” which is on constant rotation on my car CD player. It is a demanding but ultimately very rewarding listen.

  • Stuart Martyn said:

    Best of luck Dave with the new job at Borders – the best book store. Get them to stock TBL!!

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