Wednesday, 2 July 2014

2nd July 2014 - Burnt Oak, Blue and the Baldry's

Thought for the day : "A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart."

Down in Barton on Sea today and the sun is shining brightly. Met a friendly man from the District Council who is happy to assist in reducing the Community Charge for my in-laws and had hunter's Chicken for tea...   Just about to sit down to a nice glass of Chateau Neuf du Pape.. 2011 Not quite the Chateau 41 (2014) but a deep red colour and rather a nice bouquet....

Dinner this evening included a reminiscence from Burnt Oak in the early days via Vic. Apparently Ken Baldry lived in Barnfield Road and was a big mate of Vic's in the old days. Who is Ken Baldry I hear you ask?? Who indeed!!  Actually Ken had very little fame, and neither did his brother - the policeman, Bobby, the other brother or any of the five sisters..   I won't go into the history of the youth club in Whitchurch Lane, the clubhouse was on the fork of the road. But apparently all the "gang" went there as it was the one place where you could get dancing lessons and meet the girls!.

It was also the home of a British Restaurant, a charity style place for dining for those less fortunate who could not really afford the food - something started after the war I understood - but checks on the Wiki show that they started in 1940 to assist those bombed out, run out of ration coupons or other needs. You could get a cheap meal or free - not really sure..

But the couple who ran this building, rented out the clubhouse once a week in the evening for the youth club - and they turned out to have a daughter called Dolly Parker and Ken later married her - it seems there may have been a necessity !!!

So Ken ended up marrying Dolly, but it was his elder brother (not Bobby) that we are thinking of. He was a Motor Cycle Cop and did not live in Barnfield Road. He had an accident/collision one day in Colindale which ended up as a fatality, though it seems he was not necessarily to blame - but it was not long after that that he left the force.... He set up a carpet business instead and later carpetted Vic's house and gave him a good discount!!..

So Ken's Brother, the policeman, had a son, and it seems that Ken and Vic used to play at the house and, sad to say as it would possibly class as cruelty at worst or neglect at best, they used to play "catch" with the baby!!!. Passing from one to the other - apparently the baby enjoyed and it did not harm....  But that baby grew up to be 6ft 7" tall "Long John" Baldry which is where this story started...
"Long John"  Baldry 
Most famous as a blues singer in the 60's and 70's he died in July 2005... Best known for me for his songs  "Let the heartaches begin" and duet version of  "You've lost that loving feeling" (also later by Scott walker !)

Apparently he was also the voice of Doctor Robotnik in the adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog... !

By the 1970's Baldry was openly gay but In 1969, Elton John tried to commit suicide after relationship problems with a woman. Baldry and a friend found him, and Baldry talked him out of marrying the woman, helping make Elton John comfortable with his sexuality. The song "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" from Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy was about the experience.

So from Burnt Oak, Camrose Primary and Downer Grammar School - to fame and stardom and final death in Canada in July 2005....  Vic was surprised with the knowledge that he turned out to be gay ... was slightly concerned that using him as a ball might have had an affect.  I re-assured him that this was unlikely!!!

Meanwhile in Ringwood, following a sat nav crisis which wanted to take me through a private estate and passing locked electric fences (I could later see where the road crossed the estate and came out on the main road - but the Postcode led only one way !!! ), met a delightful Audio Visual Expert by the name of "Blue". The name, it seems, was as a result of coming from New Zealand some 55 years before when everyone thought it fun to say "hello Blue" so the name stuck. 

Blue had tried to sell an overhead projector on Ebay which failed to get any bids. I had contacted him later as it was local to Barton and offered a "buy it now" price of £20 - our budget for the making of the murals for Greece Baby walls, and he agreed to sell if I was willing to collect. After finding the right place, we chatted about his last 50 years "on the road" in music and theatre and his current project now he has settled down and married and created a specialist lectern that will change height electronically and contains screens and links to computer and other media...  Having some new interest form America - he is now deciding to move into construction of the specialist lecterns and I wish him every success in his venture..

But as he learned of the reason for the projector purchase - he insisted that he would not take any money - and that I should ensure that I sent a photo of the completed mural in due course...

A lovely Fellow - I raise my glass to you Blue at Blue AV  and wish you every success for the future. I gave him a card - he may see this Blog in due course - I hope he does....

And so, glass in hand, I rest for the evening ... replete with projector and a glimpse into history...

Picture of the day 

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