A true story...
On a wild November morning, I was on Porthleven beach with my
guitar trying to find a good spot to play a few songs.
This probably sounds a bit odd and yes, I suppose so, but there
was a rather special reason. I was asked to be there by Helen,
my lovely ex. house-mate, who was going to propose to Susan, her
partner, in the most romantic fashion - waves crashing on the beach
and a beautiful, stormy sea as a magical backdrop.
This unusual gig was to be the 'extra surprise' as they arrived;
I'd sing a few love songs and help make the occasion even more
romantic. Luckily. the weather was good, if windy, so things got
under way with me perched on a rock with my Takamine, praying it
wouldn't rain, looking like the cover picture on some obscure folk
It was high tide with only a tiny area of beach available and
a few intrepid beach strollers were in close proximity as I began
There was an old Cornish guy with his Border Collie who made his
presence felt immediately as I started my first song by shouting
at me... "No point in buskin' ere boy.. you won't
earn a bloody penny".
I tried my best to signify I was just playing for my friend who
was in the process of proposing marriage and that collecting money
from beachcombers wasn't really the object of the exercise.
However, I think he must have missed the 'Romantic' significance
of the occasion because throughout the twenty minutes or so I was
singing and Helen and Susan were locked in a lover's embrace, he
was shouting at his dog who was playing a bit too close for comfort
to the water's edge and the enormous waves.
Anyway, the purpose of me being there was to sing, and at the
appropriate moment play Helen's favourite, John Denver's "Annie's
Song". I cannot say it is one of my most liked songs of all
time because that would be a lie, but nevertheless I was determined
to do it justice.
What I hadn't reckoned on was the Collie's owners continuing and
constant tirade at his very wet dog throughout my performance.
He was only a few feet away from us and didn't stop shouting at
the poor animal from start to finish.
The previous night I had spent a few hours memorising the words
to the song so as not to make any silly mistakes but not realising the
lyrics were about to change quite drastically during my live rendition.
As I started singing, with Helen proposing to Susan, the dog was
still messing about at the water's edge and the old guy was still
shouting at him to come back.
So, the new (revised) lyrics to Annie's Song are now these...........................
You fill up my senses (You bloody bugger
Like a night in the forest (Get back 'ere
ya stupid animal!)
Like a mountain in springtime (Oye, Clipper,
Come let me love you (For the very last time
Let me die in your arms (You stupid dog!)
Amongst all this mayhem the real business was beautifully done
and Susan said "Yes"!
At that moment I thought I saw Clipper being swept out to sea.
As we walked away from the beach toward the Harbour Inn for a celebration
drink I heard someone shouting..
... "Clipper ya bastard.. stop messing about..where
the hell are ya?"
It's okay, the dog was fine.