I have been reminded of this weekend by several coincidences in the past few days/weeks.
Firstly, I used the following photograph to illustrate one of my party pieces from 1979 (no photos from the event itself) only for it to dawn on me and other commentators what the origins of the following photo must be.
Also, as part of my Ogblogging, I uploaded one of my old NewsRevue songs, Privatise, which is sung to the tune of Bright Eyes. It’s a real good one, though I say so myself – click here.
I played Bright Eyes while working on the Privatise/NewsRevue piece and it brought on a solid wave of memory from that April 1979 weekend. You couldn’t get away from Bright Eyes that spring; it was the Easter Number One, it was everywhere. I’ll insert a link at the end of this piece as a reward for those who…scroll all the way down there…I mean read this fine piece of mine in its entirety.
Drewy’s Party 14 April 1979
I don’t remember ever decorating at Anil’s house, but that’s what the diary says I did, before going on to Drewy’s place in Harrow-On-The -Hill for the party.
There was a group of visiting BBYOniks from the USA (New Jersey I believe) in town – earlier diary references cover earlier sessions with them. That is probably why I took my camera. Indeed, the photos of Drewy’s party are the only party photos I took throughout those years (unless you consider the conventions to have been several-days-long parties, which is not a ridiculous contention).
The stack of pictures from the party itself, all 31 of them, can be viewed here. A few good examples follow.
A few familiar faces (and some unfamiliar ones) in the above picture. All familiar faces in the picture below.
Simon Jacobs showed off his cigarette party trick for the camera:
I’ll need to do some work in Photoshop to enable people to see Simon’s smoke well – but I’m sure you all get the idea.
Drewy could do a perplexed expression for the camera in those days, so he did that.
It was a big house, the Drewy house. Many of us stayed. Frankly, that number of people often found ways of squeezing into smaller houses – this Ivor Heller Party piece from the previous spring (1978) refers.
Aftermath and Ramble, 15 April 1979
So how have I managed to find solid evidence that my unidentified fragments of negative, including the above “trews-free in the park” picture come from the same weekend?
Not so easy.
The main suspect in “the mysterious case of the trews-free gentleman” (see the first photo of this piece, above) now lives in the USA himself. When approached, he immediately started pleading the fifth amendment, which I think has something to do with bearing arms – I really should have made more attention when I did that comparative law module…whatever, I knew I’d need to handle this character very carefully indeed.
Still, once the gentleman had been offered immunity (which is apparently what you do with guilty folk in America to get them to sing), he sang like a canary.
More conclusively, now that I have gone back to the original negatives and looked at the whole fragment, I have also found the following picture on the same strip:
Also on the same strip, a couple of nice pictures of Linda, so she must have been there too. Perhaps she has some memories of this weekend to add:
Given the negative numbers and the fragmentary nature of the negatives, I am vaguely recalling that this roll of film was not finding its way happily into and through my camera. Indeed, from the depths of my memory, I think the camera jammed on the ramble, hence the shortage of pictures on that stack.
My diary is clear that we went on from Drewy’s place to a ramble:
As I write (14 April 2017) it is the 38th anniversary of the Drewy Party and Matzo Ramble weekend. An auspicious anniversary, as it happens, because this is Easter weekend and also the middle days (Chol Hamoed as they are known) of Passover, an unusual coincidence of festivals, just as it was in 1979.
In the run up to this Easter, there has been a storm in a teacup in the UK about Easter Egg Hunts being renamed as Cadbury Egg Hunts – click here. Whether this was done for marketing purposes or was, as some have suggested, “political correctness gone mad” to remove the specific reference to “Easter” I neither know nor care…
…but in the spirit of the modern era, perhaps we should rename the Matzo Ramble as a Rakusen’s Ramble. Or, in honour of our recently departed visitors from New Jersey, a Manischewitz Meander…
…now I’m rambling. Have a look at the Bright Eyes vid below. Those with memories that go back that far, might just get a little memory flash of that 1979 spring. If so, I’d love to learn about your memories too.