July 21 2009
As I walked into my local BetFred for my daily adrenaline booster John the Bookie greeted me with the immortal words ;”You know who Chip Monk is don’t you?”
Now John has a vague idea that I dabble on the fringes of the music business as he’s always seeing me between trips and assignment’s and also because I usually bet on horses that are named after bands or songs (Cockney Rebel is an exceptionally successful runner).But pulling that name out of the hat would have been an outside bet by anybody’s standards.
Chip Monk is of course renowned for his involvement with the Stones,Woodstock,Monterey and anything else worthwhile that happened in the 60′s.It strange because I am currently reading You Can’t Always Get What you Want by Sam Cutler who worked with The Grateful Dead,The Stones and coined the phrase ;’Ladeez and Gennulmen presenting the greatest rock’n'roll band in the world!!!!”.He also was present as that decade defining debacle known as Altamont.
Both he and Chip now live in Australia-but how the fuck does John the bookie fit into all of this?
” I knew you’d know him”,he chuckled, ” let me make you a brew and you you can talk to my friend Robin.”
He passed over his mobile ( a rare privilege as it was usually reserved for the odd surreptitious bet).
And so I had this conversation with Robin, a charmingly scholarly chap who told me that he had recently spoken to Chip because a friend of his wanted to do an interview with him for Record Collector about his Woodstock memories.
The friend it turns out was Kris Needs, a fine man who I had dealt with in his Zig Zag days.
And where did Robin fit into all of this?
Well it turns out that Robin used to be a Chemistry teacher in Aylesbury and one of his pupils was Needs. A forward thinking music lover he used to take his pupils on coach trips to see acts like Jimi Hendrix and the Stones.
Robin was also responsible for setting up Friars Aylesbury a venue that has seen many a class act go through it’s prestigious portals including Bowie.Mott the Hoople,King Crimson etc.( Rather than bore you with the history you can read a much more interesting version on the official site).
Friars are celebrating their 40th anniversary and are holding a series of special concerts (again check the site).
It was a pleasure talking to Robin a historical figure who I hope to get to know better. Who knows he may even give me a few handy tips.
I did check all the horses to see if there were any Friars connections (that’s how technical it gets with me) but drew a blank.
Watch this space.And by the way if you have any tasty tips do pass them on.
Apart from Steve Harley and Tony Stratton Smith do you know any other figures in the music business with racing connections?