25.3.14

UNMASKING AN IMPOSTER

Apropos of nothing in particular here’s an odd thing that happened to me once in a long lost and fondly remembered local, The Thatched House in Dalling Road between Hammersmith and Chiswick in West London. I used to live less than five minutes’ walk away.
         On this particular night the then landlord and his wife, Michael and Nuala, an Irish couple, were celebrating their wedding anniversary and I’d been invited to linger for afters, along with several other regulars and a few friends of mine hosts.
         It was Michael who sauntered up to me and suggested I might like to meet his Scottish friend who “used to play saxophone in the Average White Band”. Michael knew I was in the rock trade. I was duly introduced to a short, balding, Scottish chap. He certainly wasn’t either Molly Duncan or Roger Ball, the AWB’s horn duo.
         “Oh, did you play with Molly and Roger then?” I asked.
         The man just looked perplexed.
         “I used to know the AWBs quite well once, back in the Seventies when they lived in New York,” I went on. “Hamish is playing with Paul McCartney now isn’t he?”
         The man was glancing around, looking worried. He didn’t respond.
         “And Steve Ferrone has made quite a name for himself playing with people like Eric Clapton,” I continued. “S’funny, I don’t remember you. This was the era when they had that big hit with ‘Pick Up The Pieces’. They were living out on Long Island in a house owned by Ahmet Ertegun, the head of Atlantic, their record label. Did you join later?”
         The Scottish bloke’s perplexed look was rapidly turning to one of embarrassment. Michael the landlord looked on bewildered.
         “Er... Nice to meet you but I have to go and talk to some friends over on the other side of the bar,” the “AWB saxophone player” finally said, beating a hasty retreat.
         “What was all that about?” asked Michael.
         “That guy never played with the Average White Band,” I said. “He didn’t even know who they were, or what I was talking about.”
         “What were you talking about?”
         “The Average White Band, of course.”
         “Well, he’s been telling everyone for years he was in that band.”
         “Believe me Michael, he wasn’t.”
         “Well, well, well. Bugger me. What you’re havin’?” 
         In the general scheme of things it’s probably a pretty safe bet that you can go around the world telling people you played saxophone in the Average White Band, especially if you’re Scottish, and no-one is likely to challenge you. They were never that well known, after all, there were six of them, the sax players stood at the back, and it’s been a long while since they played together or troubled the chart compilers. But this fellow had the misfortune to come up against someone like me, who just happened to have known the Average White Band and a bit about their history.
         So, if there any other imposters like this around, take note that there are people like me out there ready to expose you and you never know where we’ll find you. 

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