A Music Legend at my Front Door!

In the late 1970’s I was an art student at a college in a little town called Stourbridge. Stourbridge is famous for its decorative crystal glass and is situated in the area now known as “West Midlands” (the town used to be in Worcestershire). One of the things I became involved in whilst completing my degree (apart from drinking copious amounts of Bank’s Bitter) was the College Social Committee. This involved helping to run the bar, booking bands and apologising to the local residents for the excessive amounts of noise and drunkenness.
Our small but “atmospheric” little club became something of place to be seen, it wasn’t as though we had much competition. The nearest club was JB’s in nearby Dudley. JB’s in its original form was sweaty, slightly dodgy but great venue. It has recently reopened http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JB’s_Dudley.It doesn’t look quite the same somehow. At the college venue we booked bands like Dr.Feelgood, and The Kursaal Flyers, quite cutting edge at the time.
You might ask how does this relate to Dymchurch? Here’s the answer…
One of the bands who were never off our turntables at that hedonistic time were the Canterbury-based outfit Caravan. We couldn’t afford to book them, but their dreamy, Neo-Romantic songs, with a slightly jazzy edge and odd sounding keyboards, fitted the requirements of 70’s Art students very nicely. Their albums had clever titles like “Girls that Grow Plump in the Night”, “Cunning Stunts”, “In the Land of Grey and Pink” and “Blind Dog at St.Dunstans” http://www.caravan-info.co.uk/#/

Back to Dymchurch. Several years ago I was out walking the dogs along Eastbridge Road. A middle-aged couple approached us and said they were staying the night at The Ship Inn. They asked if they could get back to the pub through the fields. We told them they could but it had been raining hard all day so the main road was a safer option.
We chatted as we walked and it turned out that the man was in a band and was playing a reunion gig in Canterbury the next day. They had come to Dymchurch to enjoy a day at the coast. Of course I was intrigued as to which band the tall baseball- hatted man belonged to.
The man asked me if I had heard of bands called Hatfield and the North, Camel and – wait for it- Caravan, I said “Of course!”. A hazy, nostalgic vision of my student days appeared in my mind.
The man turned out to be Richard Sinclair, Bass player and Vocalist with all of the above. I wanted to chat forever, but finally we shook hands and off the couple went for a cosy night at The Ship.
I couldn’t believe it, it was like being transported back into my early twenties, a truly surreal moment when a prog-rock legend from my student past appeared outside my own front door!


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