Packed into the Printers Playhouse on a Wednesday night with storm Gareth left at the door, Eastbourne CLP was treated to a unique evening of fundraising entertainment from our near neighbour and comrade John Baine. AKA Attila the Stockbroker. Punk poet. Early music instrumentalist – 14 renaissance instruments. Musician and songwriter. Soloist. Barnstormer 1649 Band leader – early music and punk.
During the first half John versed us with a moving mix of politics and the personal:- ‘Support for the man with a beard with the initials JC’. Brexit and bankers, the NHS and Thatcher’s Funeral. Childhood rock pooling with lizards in Tupperware and a 9 year old’s fascination with crustacean’s and bottom feeders. Night fishing in Southwick with the lights of Brighton in the distance and that glorious ‘i’ve made it moment’, after hearing John Peel’s voice on a tinny transistor playing from his Rough, Raw and Ranting 1982 Cherry Red Records EP.
Moving through we arrived at the heart in the rough personal memoir stuff. A place of laughter, touching moments and unexpected tears. We were painted the candid camera picture of John’s bladder cancer treatment – homage to the NHS and to his wife, with an appeal thrown in for men to go and get it sorted if something just don’t seem right down below. One poem gave us a rebellious teenager refusing to turn down the booming volume of his T Rex album instead locking antlers with his new ‘just married to Mum’ step dad who stood at John’s bedroom door declaring he was now the Man of the House. Journeying like this together for 37 years the 2 finally arrived at a bitter sweet reconciliation with both men saying’ I love you’ at the end of that now respected gentleman’s days. Reconciliation. A message heartfelt from John for us all to do this now if we can. This one got to quite a few of us I’m sure.
Half time and John took command of the obligatory CLP fundraising raffle. He’s now gotten it down to the barest essentials, knowing how these things can drag on and on. So we were issued with the rules of the game….. all tickets at the ready and 2 mins to say Aye or your number’s binned!
The musical second half treated us to Early Music, Grime (ish) and punk. We heard the rumbling tones of the strangely shaped Crump Horn and the Sausage Bassoon and the chords of the mandolin. The story telling part of this half took us from the 1649 Divine Right of Kings and Charles 1st being beheaded making anything possible thereafter. Enter The Ranters, The Diggers, The Levellers, and more. We heard about that ‘ghastly sore to the Puritans’ the bawdy Ranter, Abiezer Coppe. John and his band in the 1980’s may have been ‘loud and bleary and all over the shop but were sober and polite compared to Abiezer Coppe’. We heard of Thomas Harrison, defecting from the New Model Army as Major General to stand firm with the Levellers. Having already abolished sin by throwing peanuts at priests, he was hanged, drawn and quartered but remained rebellious to the bitter end by punching his executioner in the face as his last act of defiance.
For more on this must know history see The World Turned Upside Down – Christopher Hill:
An enormous thank you to John for your unique brand of entertainment and for your support. Thank you also to everyone in the practically full house audience. To Dave Poole for the idea. Graham for organising. Printers for the venue and technical support. To our raffle prize donators. And of course to our lead fundraiser Rachael.