Come Together

Anyone who knows me might tell you of my ‘obsession’ with collecting unusual signatures, mostly from the worlds of history and politics. However, because of the nature of my business and countless interviews that I’ve conducted with the famous or ‘connected’ people over the years, my collection naturally began to spread into other areas, in particular the domain of show business. When worlds figuratively collide after a substantial period of time it’s easy to put it down to mere coincidence. The last time we visited America we took time out to spend a couple of days with our friends in Connecticut: a small beautiful part of New England. The lake at the bottom of their spectacular garden was frozen over with the winter frost giving the trees an old fashioned Disney look. As we walked along the coast road in the winter chill Jeff and I began reminiscing about all manners of things, and in particular the part that both humour and music had played in our lives. I recalled my music lessons at Corby Boy’s School which weren’t so much lessons as more of an experience. The music master was Mr. Jackson: we were never on first name terms with teachers. That would have been disrespectful and never in a million years condoned, though it didn’t stop us from creating and privately using his nickname: Jacko. One day, Jacko asked my friend Roy and I to help him tidy the music room which would also provide exemption from the next lesson, the dreaded maths! We leapt at the chance and quickly got to work sweeping and polishing. In the corner of the room was a tall cupboard that was full of old music books and general teacher ‘stuff’, a cupboard that would need moving if we were to clean behind and under it. As we began to shift it I heard a sliding sound followed by a shallow clunk. This piece of utility furniture had not been moved in an age, a conclusion quickly drawn as we discovered years of dirt, cobwebs, fly husks and…….a very dusty old 45rpm 7” record. A quick blow revealed it to be a record by one of my favourite comedians, the American stand-up Bob Newhart. Jacko said I could keep it as a ‘reward’ for helping him. Back in Connecticut we’d arrived back at the house for a thaw, warm drinks and a roaring fire. It was then that Jeff produced this old 60’s American concert programme from a Bob Newhart tour which was signed ‘To Jeff, best regards, Bob Newhart’. He told me that he wanted me to have it as he knew of my collection and the likelihood of it being in safe hands. He had treasured it all those years but said he just didn’t know what else to do with it. I keep it with an old scratched record that I once found in a dusty old school room.

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