Why Me?
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Why Me?

Allan English has had to put up with a lot of irritating people during his musical career. 

"Why Me?" he asks.

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Why Me? Allan English


(This article originally appeared in the Sydney Jazz Club Quarterly Rag, Nos. 68-69, 4th Quarter 1993.)

My nickname is "Spotty" but I often think it should have been "Magnet". I seem to attract "certain" people on gigs. When I play in pubs and clubs, and have just played a long bracket there's usually only two things I want to do in the break, but I have to run the gauntlet on the way.

"Hey mate, come here, you play a good sax." I knew he was paying me a compliment but being a smart alec and busting, I said, "I'm a Selmer man" (the brand name of the instrument). He replied, "I don't care if you are only the cellar-man, you still play a mean horn!"

In the hey-day of the clubs, there were times that they ran talent quests and boy, did they come out of the woodwork then. Some of the aspiring stars of tomorrow had the foresight to bring some sheet music; some did not. One lady who did not was asked what key she sang My Way in. She replied, "I'm not sure, but it's just a little higher than I'm talking now."

The following week, Macdonaldtown's answer to Slim Dusty was tuning his guitar to our piano. "Hey mate, your piano is a quarter of an inch out of tune."

After a while we worked out that he had to move his capo a quarter of an inch from where it had been embedded for the last five years.

Many years ago I worked for a chain of record shops relieving when the various managers went on holidays. One day a guy came in and said, "I don't know who sings it and I don't know the name of the song, but it goes '. . . dum de dum . . . da da dum de dah'. Have you got it in stock?"

Occasionally, you can get even. Recently at the Norfolk Hotel one of our lady regulars came over as we were packing up and said, "You boys didn't play my song today!"

I replied, "Baby, I didn't know you wrote one."

But I guess if it's any comfort, I know I'm not the only muso who suffers. Dudley Moore, on one of his trips here, was cornered by a junior female reporter and asked, "How long have you been a constant penis?" (concert pianist) and "How many play in your trio?"

To the latter I think he replied, "We all do."

And they wonder why musicians drink!

A magnetic young Lord Spotty English at the Clifton
Gardens Hotel, Sydney, during the 1965 Jazz Convention

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