In Memory of Connas


I didn’t get to see Connas for a good few years. Then via my brother Paul, and the ubiquitous Facebook, we got back in touch. Trading e-mails, cracking on about music, our domestic lives etc.

Mark Read put on the Band of Holy Joy Troubled Sleep song-play at the Star and Shadow and I asked Connas if he fancied deejaying on the night. He agreed straight away and asked what kind of sounds should he bring. I just said anything… maybe best leave all the Rezerection stuff at home, otherwise…everything!

conas 1I wasn’t sure if he would turn up even, but man, it felt good when we finished the play and there he was behind the decks. He had crazy-coloured his hair for some charity do and looked great. He was with Donna and Curly John and a few others. Donna looked great it must be said. Mind you Curly John Smith didn’t look too bad either. There were a fair few folk I should have been talking to, about the play and the band and what have you but I purely gravitated towards Connas and the decks, having a good crack, checking which records he was playing, just like old times.

He started out with some real oblique oldies, Jacques Brel, Lee Hazlewood etc, but suddenly shifted up into funk and got everyone who was left in the room going fair crazy with the dancing.

At one point he went to the toilets and I thought I’d take the liberty of sneaking a track on. I pulled some hip-hop thing out of his box and slapped it on the deck. He came back and looked at me in horror. ‘I’m not having that, you’ll clear the floor man’.

Instead he put some War on, it was late period platinum era jazz funk War, and I thought maybe he’d blow it too, but no, it was a great selection, and the room went even crazier. It was the start of a really good night.

I just wanted to share something with you here. And I don’t so much want to share memories as convey a feeling that I have towards someone. A man I’ve always considered to be not just a great DJ but also someone who was one hell of a lad. A mate. Someone whose taste and judgement I looked up to and respected and someone who I had a great many laughs and adventures with over the years. Someone I didn’t just like but loved a great deal, a fellow journeyman, a bit of a brother basically.

Earlier I talked about his photos. They were shots of our town North Shields. We were intent on capturing a place that seemed to be disappearing so fast. Well, most of the places on his photos have indeed gone. But one thing I always notice when I return to my hometown is the spirit, the spirit has never disappeared. The spirit does not die. Same thing applies to Connas, I know. Connas had, nay, has… a spirit that will never die.

The other day I wrote a few lyrical verses. They were a bit like the words on the first song we played earlier, Leaves That Fall In Spring… of careless youth chasing reckless misadventure… but written in hindsight now with the experience of age. We recorded the song last night, Chris Brierley and myself and the words seemed horribly prescient. Maybe a bit too close to the bone. Again I thought about pulling back thinking maybe now would not be the time to perpetrate such dark and blue and melancholy matter on people I care about.

conas 3But, no, listen it has to be said, we can’t shy away from this simple fact, this is how we live our lives, all of us, this is what we do, and have done. Chasing the light, and kicks and adventure and all that stuff, experimenting with our selves and with our souls, following our curiosities, to get above ourselves, and sometimes around ourselves, and what kind of dull unknowing safe lives would we live otherwise, for sure there will be mishaps, and yes, things don’t always turn out like they should, and certainly not like in the text book, but I tell you this, we should never stop trying, and looking, and going all out for the extraordinary, and rail at all times against the mundane fare that is offered and sometimes forced upon us and furthermore there’s all of us been involved in bad scenarios at some point but we must never stop looking for the good in others, and especially, our friends… we must all look out for each other, always, and what’s done is done sure, but I say this, this is also just the start, this can also be a good beginning, an opportunity. Anyway, this is our last song, it’s called Down By The Old Spring Gardens and it’s for Connas… tonight.


2 Responses to In Memory of Connas

  1. Donna Conway says:

    Amazing guys, thank you. Beautiful words and track.

    I am very proud.

  2. phil knowles says:

    well done boys……… love it