Farewell Dear Saxa

IMG_5108A wonderful send off for Saxa on Wednesday with many old friends seen and stories shared. I have many Saxa stories but this is one of my personal favourites:
Shortly after The Beat who I managed had their first hit with ‘Tears of a Clown’ in ’79, Saxa who’d been in my life for a few months then says “Johnny, you me go have a drink tonight, I’m taking you out”.
So we go to his local The Compton in Handsworth and I think for the first and last time ever Saxa brought me a drink. We leaned on the bar chatting about this and that hardly paying any attention to the talent competition going on in the other bar.
After half an hour or so I hear a shout from the other bar “Where’s John Mostyn?” Saxa is grinning at me and without mentioning it he’d put me down to sing. Always one to seize the moment I get up on stage with the pianist and drummer and quickly think of a couple of Elvis songs to sing. This went down so well that I won and the gentleman running it presented me with a crate of lager and a teddy bear and announced that I was “Through to the final next month”. “There’ll be a £50 first prize and an agent up from London and everything, this could be your big break” he says to me, reasonably not knowing that I was managing a top ten band at the time.
Unable to resist I go back the following month with Saxa and when called deliver 3 of my best cover songs. Go down a storm and come off feeling rather confident. Other acts follow and I know I’m still winning when a gentleman in his forties is introduced to the stage. He’s wearing dark glasses and has a friend lead him on to the stage having left his white stick at the side.
He goes into a version of ‘Bright Eyes’ and tears the place up, in a way that you haven’t seen unless you’ve seen a blind guy singing ‘Bright Eyes’. Rapturous applause and I knew I’d lost it. Sure enough he won.
I came second and won a bottle of sherry so that was ok. I was in the gents alone after the event when said gentleman comes and stands at the urinal next to me quite unaided. “Sorry about that Our Kid” he says. Looking at his wry smile “You bugger” I say ‘You can see as well as me” “Aye” he says you gotta make a living how you can haven’t you Kid?” “Do you do this a lot?” I ask him, “Two or three times a week around Brum” he says, “Keeps heart and soul together”
Saxa got me into all sorts of trouble as the next few years went by but I’ll alway remember the night he took me out for a drink.

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