On the other hand...

by Derek Bailey

There were other views. Andrew Shone and John Capes were part of an homogenous group of young people, fellow students, mostly, of Gavin Bryars, and they formed the bulk of our audience. Their enthusiasm and perception and continuity provided the 'climate' in which we played: very encouraging. But, although predominant, it would be inaccurate to represent theirs' as the only view of our activities.

A certain amount of grumpiness from any of the local musicians who occasionally chanced their arm at sitting in with us, invariably with unhappy results, wouldn't have been surprising, but I wasn't aware of any. Dissatisfaction of a more significant kind, for me, usually manifested itself on the rare occasions that one of my earlier musical associates would turn up in the audience. Their attitude was perhaps best expressed by George Paxton.

George and I had worked together in a band in Edinburgh some years previously. He was, in my estimation, a brilliant pianist and our association had been very beneficial for me. I hadn't seen him since that time but one Saturday, touring, George arrived at the Grapes. He came during the first set and I didn't get to speak to him until the break.

George's objections were of a theoretical nature. 'What the fuck do you think you are doing?' were his first words. This was not a question I was in a position to answer at that time but, knowing there was one area in which we had always agreed, I bought us a drink. The rest of our conversation consisted of George asking questions to which he didn't really want answers and me happily not supplying them. But, it was amicable enough and, before returning to play the second set and aware of the likely developments coming up, I suggested George might like to cut his losses and leave now. In fact, he didn't. He stayed to the end. But, leaving, he gave me what I think is described as a 'quizzical' look.

A couple of weeks later, back in Kilmarnock after his tour, George got in touch again. He sent me a 'Get Well Soon' card.

Derek Bailey