Tete a tete
Hi there, pop fans!
Smile, smile, smile
It's all over
I have got the furious needle
A while ago, I was on about pubs without music and their attraction for me. I have an unfortunate knack of wandering into the other sort-pubs with music, particularly sea-side pubs just as the ‘musical entertainment’ is about to begin. No sooner am I comfortably seated with my pint than some musical idiot proceeds to batter my eardrums—right hand hitting the defenceless keys of the piano, approximating the melody, while the left hand flails about hitting whither it falls.
Sometimes I am greeted by an electronic organ, some with electronic rhythm sections built in, oscillating menacingly from strategically placed loud speakers (and I do mean loud). What they all play is never known to me for I only hear as much of their repertoire as it takes me to sink the remainder of my pint before I disappear into the night.
Fortunately there is yet another type of pub—that which presents music in a civilised manner. One such is the Queen’s Head in Great Clacton. It is not by accident that the sound of Quincey Jones greets you on your entrance. It could just as easily be the Duke, Basie, Tatum, or anything worth hearing—and all played at a discreet level. The Guv’nor is Doug Tate, onetime drummer and percussionist. His policy: to serve good drink (draught Worthy and Guinness), good food (personally prepared by his charming wife Wynne), and good music to help it all down.
I make it a point to pop in and enjoy their wares whenever I find myself in Essex. It is such a pleasant change to be able to talk about music with someone who loves it. I don’t have to tell you about the pitiful level of repartee one gets from casual bar acquaintances in strange pubs.
When I asked Doug if he ever had complaints from his regulars about the music, he assured me he didn’t—which struck me as remarkable, as the customers were varied in type and age group. “The answer,” explained Doug, “is simple. I don’t tell them that I’m playing jazz and they don’t mind.” So there you go.
I can’t really say that I approve of such talent used as background music to chat, but I know that if there must be music in pubs, good stuff is less nerve–racking. Nothing is worse than to have your attention drawn from what someone is saying because bum notes keep smashing your ears.
Copyright © 1968, Kenny Graham. All Rights Reserved