Thursday, 26 January 2012

Van Meets the Bard of Ely



Steve Andrews is an interesting character.  No two ways about that.  Steve (AKA Bard of Ely) is a singer-songwriter, author, poet, freelancer, environmentalist and naturalist from Cardiff, Wales, now living in Tenerife in the Canary Islands.  In the past few years he has written for the Tenerife News newspaper and Living Tenerife magazine.  He has also been quoted as a "weed expert" in The Ecologist.
In the UK, he has written for Kindred Spirit, Permaculture and Feed Your Brain magazines, and, collaborated with CJ Stone for Prediction and the NFOP magazine. He had a column in the Big Issue, and it was this publication that dubbed him ’Bard of Ely’.  His writings include the book Herbs of the Northern Shaman.  The Bard's song You're a Liar, Nicky Wire was featured on BBC R1 Session in Wales and received a good review from the NME .  He has also been a co-presenter of two series of In Full View on Choice and he has appeared on many more TV programs on the BBC, BBC2 and HTV.

In 2002 and 2003, the Bard was a compère for the Avalon Stage at Glastonbury Festival and he has also played at this world famous event.  He has also appeared at the Green Man Festival .  He is a member of the Loyal Arthurian Warband druid order and, aptly, a Bard of Caer Abiri (Avebury).  He has also made a name for himself growing exotic fruit when he was on HTV Wales news for having the first homegrown pineapple in Wales.

 Quite the Renaissance Man.  Anyway, why he is being mentioned here is that he does have some connection with Van.  On author CJ Stone's blog called "Ten Thousand Days" there's a post about the Bard meeting Van for the first time.  
Here's the Bard of Ely's description of that meeting:
 "First of all I spoke to Van at Robin’s. I was working for Robin Williamson. This would have been about 1993. I was working at Robin’s as his secretary. And I had to answer the phone and everything, and I answered the phone one day and it was actually, it was Van the Man, and I’m saying, "who’s speaking please," and he’s saying, "Van Morrison." And I’m in total shock, awe, whatever, I’m like, "wow, this is Van Morrison," you know. And that was the first time I spoke to him, and that was a very unsuccessful conversation. I’m sort of gibbering, "oh, um, I’ve always been, well er, a great fan of yours." And he’s saying, "yeah, yeah?" And I’m saying, "yeah, yeah, really, what shall I…?" And he’s saying, " just tell Robin that I’m in the area and if I’m around I’ll give him a call again." I said, "oh yeah, right, right, I’ll do that." And - I remember what he said - he said, "all the best." And that was it. And I thought, "oh wow, wow, Van Morrison has said ‘all the best’ to me, this is brilliant, I’ve spoken to him." And that was the first time that I had any sort of connection with Van.


But then, I’d taken my son to his pottery class. And it was closed that day. And it was in the afternoon by now. Robin Williamson was doing the midsummer solstice concert at the Celtic folk museum in St Fagan’s, which I obviously knew about. I had an invite to be there. Because the pottery thing wasn’t happening, I said to my son, "well let’s go along and see Robin." So we went to the folk museum and it was an appalling day - it was one of these midsummer absolute piss-down days, it was absolute torrential rain going on - and we got there quite late anyway, and when we got there Robin’s gig was just about finished. And because of the terrible weather, they had to move the open air thing into one of the marquee tents. And Robin finished his set, and I could see a couple of people, one of whom was Van Morrison. And Robin went over and he was talking to them, and I thought, "wow, that’s Van Morrison again." And then I heard in the conversation, it came up that the other guy who was with Van was from Ely. And I thought, "wow, wow, Van Morrison is actually with someone who’s from Ely. This is my cue to go over and say something." And I went over and I said - the first thing I said was just utterly ridiculous - I said, "so you’re Van Morrison then?" And he said, "er yeah?" And I said, "oh yeah, I spoke to you once before, from Robin’s." And he said, "yeah." I said, "And I’ve always been a great fan of yours, I love your music." And he said, "yeah." And by this point I’m thinking, I’m not making much success here, I’m not having much success in having sparkling conversation with my hero here, all he ever says is "yeah."
At which point my son came over to me, and he’d just been outside the tent, and he came in the tent, like, we were at the edge of the tent, and Robin is stood one side, and Van’s stood here, and there’s this other guy from Ely stood there, and Isaac just comes in under the edge of the tent, and he says, "Dad?" And I says, "yes Isaac." And he says, "you see this rope?" pointing to the guide rope coming off the marquee tent. And I said, "yeah?" And I’m starting to sound a bit like Van Morrison, I’m saying, "yeah?" And he said, "well, can you put your head by it?" And I said, "yeah." And he said, "well go on then." So I’m moving my face down by the rope, very naively, in my usual way, and not expecting anything, and not being on my guard at all, I’m just putting my face down by this rope. At which point he grabbed the rope and twanged it, and all the water that had collected on the tent roof flew all over my face and down my neck and all over my clothes, and I just didn’t know what to do or say or anything, I’m just completely and utterly freaked out with utter embarrassment, cos this is right in front of Van Morrison. And I just muttered something, "er, oh, er, Isaac, um, we’ve got to, er, we’ve got to go and, um, come on," and sort of grabbed his hand and went. And I didn’t look back. I just sort of went out into the rain outside and headed for the exit as fast as possible. And that was it".

1 comment:

  1. Just found this and wanted to say thanks for sharing this true story and some info about me!

    ReplyDelete