Thanks for this one John, it was a really difficult event to organise, as like so many events post-COVID-19, we only really had a week to organise it, once we had determined that COVID-19 Incidence Levels had reduced so much that it was a "doable" event indoors. We still had, for Steve's sake, probably one of the most stringent entry requirements on the evening, in the whole of the state of N.R.W. with 2G PLUS valid negative test, which everyone complied with and Elena Giovino ensured in her wonderful School Maam manner that the ventilation in the room was even better that in many local schools.So a special thanks to the audience for both accepting the strict conditions and still applauding for Steve with so much well deserved fervour!
I think the standing ovation and applause that Steve received both at his "Intro" and "Outro" (To quote the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band!) during his brief V.I.P. visit last Friday was probably almost as good as a blood transfusion for him, which he still regularly needs, so if there are any young folk clubbers out there, please do go and donate blood if you can, for many people, it is really literally a matter of life and death.
I was honoured to be the best man at Steve and Regine's wedding some six years' ago and which we celebrated again recently in May when the swifts arrived once again in northern European skies.
Apart from John Hurd who visited folk clubs in his formation years in Portsmouth, Steve Perry, during his time living in Bristol in England, actually knew what a British folk club was, and he even was aware of that great British folk artist Fred Wedlock, who had written the very first song that I ever played on the inuagral night of Folk Club Bonn, way back in 2010, entitled "The Folker". John Hurd and Steve Perry and myself were three people on a mission, but with possibly less knowledge that we probably needed. It sufficed though and we succeeded, in establishing what our perennial "Special Guest " in December, Simon Kempston, refers to as, "The Best Folk Club Outside Of Scotland." Simon should know as he has played in most of them now, over the years. So there are many people to thank for that particular accolade and Steve Perry in particular is one who springs instantly to mind!
I was equally honoured to host Steve's brother Bill who played at the June FCB. He would have originally have flown back to Canada on the Thursday before the Friday FCB in Steve's honour on 03.06.22 so I invited him to stay another day later later and play at the folk club last Friday too. Bill had already played at FCB in 2012 when the FCB was still in the Schützenhaus in Graurheindorf, and then again in 2015 in Haus Mühlestumpe. So as one would imagine, Bill Perry's history in FCB was almost exactly parallel to the folk club's own history, but at a much greater distance.
"OK Steve it's a deal! You take over the shed-dualing for the next year and you're allowed to discard my elaborate algorithm and do the scheduling as you see fit!"
Folk Club Bonn was initiated by Detlef Stachetzki, John Harrison and Barry Roshto at the end of 2009 and it finally got off the ground in 2010. John Harrison did the scheduling for the first year and it was quite arduous, calling in old debts when one previously had played at peoples parties in previous years, almost like "throwing the drunks in" rather than acting as a door stopper. Luckily, Barry Roshto took over the job in the second year and the folk club was developing its own momentum and Barry devised an algorithm to prevent people playing more often than was democratic, and the year of a Monty Pythonesque "Shed Dualing" succesfully began. So after two years hard work we were both very pleased to see that Steve, who had joined the folk club in its second year and as a fellow English native speaker, he also started to enhance the scope of the club even more with his Spanish and Portuguese language skills. With his wonderful warm and friendly attitude and limitless patience Steve took to this "task" or rather "joy" like a duck to water. Of course, because of "due dilligence" both Barry and I checked on Steve at the end of each year, and with each year his smile grew a little bit warmer and wider, until after a few years we could no longer kindly tell him that it was originally only intended to be a one year assignment. Steve was doing it so well it would have been most detrimental for the Bonn folk club to force him to stop, just for the mere sake of it. So Steve has done so much more for the club than any of us initially thought possible. So many thanks Steve for your many years service with "labours of love", but even "labours of love" are still "labours", so you do deserve a bit of a rest, and never forget that we all love you.