Rustic Hinge & The Provincial Swimmers
White Rabbit finally split up, Rod moved firstly to Calne & then Bristol with his
old buddies Pete Biles & Mickey B. (who if you remember was the trumpet
player for Flower Of Wisdom). They were inhabiting part of the 'Freaks
Castle' that was owned by John Osborne in the Cotham district of Bristol.
Goodway moved back to Calne at first, and then Bristol, where old friends
Pete Biles (who played the bongo's for J.P. Sunshine once in a while) and
Mickey B. had taken up residence in part of a huge shambling
palace of a house in the fairly exclusive Cotham area. This
'freak's castle' with bay-windows, balconies and huge basement, was
owned by John Osborne, beatnik and artist, who lived with his
family on the top floor, and inhabited by a variety of students,
madcaps and misfits. Anarchy ruled and, almost as in some profound artistic
statement, old fridges and a chaise lounge' lay entangled in the overgrown
garden (sounds a bit like their own little Gormenghast, if you ask me, L.).
Rod was invited down to 49 Cotham Road and was so entranced by the aura and
craziness of the place that he decided to move in, shortly to be joined by
lady, Mally Parsons, who had been at Polytechnic in London. The
landlord regularly threw Bohemian parties for residents and his friends
(artists, poets, anarchists and antique dealers (!)) which were very
enriching for all involved (a real meeting of cultures: beatniks and acid
heads). Rod and his
friends turned John onto LSD
while they got involved in the free jazz-poetry blows
which became an integral part of the evening's entertainment. It was
a very creative environment at No.49, and Rod would play his songs at the
parties too, often with Pete and art student Kenny Wheeler adding
percussion. Compared to the flower tripping J.P. Sunshine material, Rod was
starting to write heavier and weirder stuff, and the first batch of
prototype songs was recorded solo late in '69, in a very echoey out-of-use
bathroom in one wing of the house".
the late summer of 1970 then. With Rod's arrival 'The Puddletown Express'
becomes 'Rustic Hinge & The Provincial Swimmers. It would seem that the
Dorset countryside teemed with musical talent that summer. Bands like
High Tide & Later Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come were resident in the area
during this period.
the middle of making this "T on the Lawn” monstrosity
a BBC camera crew turned up. (Wanna
see the result? then click here ).They were making shots for a programme
on Thomas Hardy, "In the Footsteps of Tess of the D 'Urbervilles"
or something. Apparently, in the novel Tess was supposed to have lived in
this farmhouse (because although Hardy made up his characters, he based
where they lived on real places and so Tess was supposed to have lived in
the farmhouse we were living in) and this film crew were going round filming
all the different places that had appeared in Hardy's novels. And of course
when they got to our place they turned up and we had the Crazy World Of
Arthur Brown's light show on, which looked like an air raid in colour; the
whole house was lit up and there
were strobe lights, and you could see it from miles away. And there was this
crazy rock group playing out on the lawn. It wasn't like we were playing any
kind of conventional music, it was outrageous, nasty,
bad trip music but
Michael Croucher, the producer (who was a lovely bloke, by the way) liked
it. He thought it was so bizarre, you know, to go from Thomas Hardy to the
sort of things that we were doing. He actually listened to the tape and
enjoyed it; he saw the Bartok connection; he could dig it on that level:
and maybe Stockhausen as well. And he dug it; so he filmed the whole lot.
The BBC banned it from the eventual programme that it was filmed for; there
was a flash of this manic group on the lawn and then it was gone. We were on
screen for about two seconds. The actual thing that was filmed was a poem of
mine called "Lychee" put to the music of Rustic Hinge And The Provincial
Swimmers. We looked like one of the weirder Indie bands going over the top!
Adrian Shaw was wearing a grass skirt; fishnet tights and had "SGURD"
written across his chest. He had some strange idea that the filming process
would reverse it so it would read "DRUGS" when shown on TV. I
believe a guy called Fred Bison also tried this trick recently on his "Beatroots"