Thursday, 25 June 2015

Final Newtown Neurotics gig at the Square Harlow July 4th, not final Neurotics gig though.

I'm off  to play Glastonbury solo on Friday at the Leftfield stage at 3pm but I thought I'd just flag up the next gig the Newtown Neurotics are doing. It will be the last gig the Neurotics will ever do in the Square as the venue is closing down at the end of the year.
If you've ever seen us at the Square, why not come and enjoy that experience once more, for the last time. And what a gig it is going to be!!!! More acts to come... Solitary Confinement and Living With Unemployment on the same night anyone???

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Colin Masters aka Colin Dredd 1956-2015 - The final goodbye.

Last Sunday night was a lovely evening, big thanks to all who came and to those who performed, Howard and Clack, Murray Torkildsen, Attila. Also to Rosa Goodwin Drewett, Simon Lomond and Sarah Ross for joining me on stage for my set.

A big thank you also needs to be said for the Square One Partnership for making the Square available to hold this event, Chris Fallon for doing the sound and to all the staff who were so helpful throughout the evening.

For my wife Clare, I thank for loving me and helping me to hold myself together in these difficult times, and I needed help, it has been such a strain.

It was a very moving night and I managed to be moved without actually breaking down, which I have been prone to do at the drop of a hat recently.
Personally, Colin was very special to me and all I wanted to do since his last hours and the time after his death, was to make sure that I gave him the goodbye that he deserved. In the process, we all got to be involved in that goodbye, and during that time, I have experienced the greatest side of Social Media because it enabled me to reach out to so many people who's lives have been touched by him, and the love and the support that came back has been phenomenal.

But, there is another, more personal and more private mourning going on behind this, my thoughts are now with Colin's family, his former partner Sylvie and also Val, who spent so many years together with him, revelling in their common interests, and later looked after him in his ill health.

The non public side of Colin will be cherished in a different, more quiet way. We have celebrated his public rock 'n' roll life in music and images and seen how far and how loved the man as a musician is regarded.

But away from the limelight, his character, his love and regard for people, was every bit as important as the mark he made in music. There was a lot of his life I had no part in, so I cannot help illuminate that in which I did not share. I just did the bit I knew, I hope it didn't over shadow the man behind the rock star.

Now I have to let him go, no more tributes, no more rock gigs in his name, nothing left to make me feel that I am stopping him from sliding into the abyss.

But, I have seen lives transformed by this man and I know that if I say that 'he lives on in our hearts', it is not a trite meaningless response to loss, because I feel it, I know it is real, we all do. And when you realise this fact, you begin to see the man, still alive, still with us, still vital.
And in that, is a true comfort and a revelation that can only come when words gain true meaning.

I have learnt so much from these past couple of weeks and one of the things I learnt, is that, quietly and in his own way,
He changed my life,


I was transformed.

Thank you Colin, what a gift you gave me!

Friday, 5 June 2015

My speech to say goodbye to my friend Colin Masters aka Colin Dredd 1956-2015

This was my speech for Colin at his funeral on Wednesday 3rd June, shared so that those who could not make the funeral can get a taste of our goodbye to him.
Stand by me.
The early Eighties were a very divisive time politically, and in London there were a couple of right wing groups who were determined to make their Nazi ideology popular by targeting young people. The National Front and the British Movement started by recruiting muscle from outside football grounds and then they turned to music fans. They leafleted live gigs and then attempted to take out bands they deemed to be left wingers. They attacked audiences and performers alike, smashing up or disrupting gigs by the likes of Sham69, Redskins, Madness and many more.
Into this seething cauldron of hate came the Neurotics and being anti-racist and lefties in nature, were added to the list of rock bands that had to be stopped. There were some informers within these fascist groups who would warn us in advance of trouble and in May 1982, as we prepared, with Attila The Stockbroker, to play a club in Islington called Skunx, we got the message…
“They are coming for you”.
As was predicted, when we took the stage there was a wall of Nazi skinheads staring malevolently at us. We played like our lives depended on it, hoping beyond hope that the music alone would change their minds. We were left untouched that night, but that was because they were after the headliner Attila who, once he took the stage, they attacked and smashed his instrument over his head, whilst glasses, tables and chairs flew in an orgy of violence.
Subsequently, we were sent a ‘single’ of ours disfigured by race hate slogans, my publisher’s life was threatened over the phone and I had death threats left on my answering machine.
And whenever we did a gig in London, we would often get the message once more
“They are coming for you”
My point here is that Colin wasn’t a fighter, he was a very sensitive man and he wasn’t even able to defend himself if attacked. But never, did he say “do you really think we should do this gig? Never did he voice concerns about our safety in playing these concerts. He knew, like we all did in the band, that this was intimidation, and if they couldn’t physically stop us playing then psychological warfare may do the trick. It didn’t.
At these gigs, with Simon Lomond on drums behind us, Colin would take his place at the mike beside me, our legs shaking and our hearts gripped by an icy fear, standing in front of hostile audiences, high up on the stage like targets at a fairground at which pot shots of glasses, pool cues, bar stools and chairs could potentially be aimed at us.
And as I’d announce our first number, I would look down the neck of my guitar and just beyond would be Colin, as white as a sheet, but resolute, showing enormous courage, time and time again.
Gig after gig, he stood by me, he stood by his beliefs and like bothers in arms forged in the crucible of war, we too became brothers in that time.
I recently had the privilege of spending his final night with him and every now and then he would open his eyes to check if I was still there, I stood by him, like he did for me.
My friend, my bassist, my brother, Colin.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

When flowers are not power and money is.

Ahead of tomorrow's funeral at the Harlow Crematorium at 1pm, a final bit of information
Colin would not have liked money spent on flowers, rather he would like to have seen the money that would have been spent on them, instead go to a good cause.
The family have now announced the cause that you can donate to in his memory if you should wish to, details below...

THE NATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR YOUTH MUSIC via the donate button on the web site
or text 70070 and text message YMUS10 £ (amount donated-£3, £5 or £10)