Black Parrot Seaside: 1975-2014
Other, far more important anniversaries will be commemorated elsewhere today by millions,and I do not underestimate or trivialise their importance by writing this. Many of my family served in the Armed Forces, and most were fortunate enough to come back intact. Indeed, were it not for my dad and both my Grandads doing so, I would not be able to comment on this, (or anything else) today. So yes-I will stop at eleven am this morning, wherever I am, and I will give thanks for that, and the sacrifice of others.
November 11th marks a far more trivial anniversary, too. Today it is a year to the day since the band I joined, in around 1975-the oddly-named “Black Parrot Seaside” finally and terminally broke up. It fragmented suddenly, in a distressing way,in my house, whilst we were rehearsing. It was something which I suppose on reflection was inevitable, given the internal tensions which were beginning to surface, but it was nonetheless very painful. We'd had a few dry runs at folding previously, with plenty of arguments, public and private, previous break-ups and long periods of dormant inactivity. The avalanche which followed last year's spat though, was terminal. Besides losing us several gigs and a Festival appearance, it took away several friendships with it. Including one that had endured for 55 years.
Together, outside and beyond the band, we had helped each other through bereavements and setbacks. We had attended each other's weddings, birthday parties, family funerals and retirement functions. We had watched each others' children grow up and had seen our respective careers flourish, then wither away to a comfortable life of sedentary folk-singing. We gigged, rehearsed, wrote and performed together. We shared holidays, hobbies, a sense of humour and political beliefs. But in the end, this was not enough glue to hold the frail canvas together. As a band, we had plenty of good times, a few very barren times and a lot of flat lining in between. It felt like bereavement when it happened, and it still does.