Well, here am I, a long time since I left Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and still mightily proud to have served for eight years in The Brigade of Guards, and today – mindful of the hundredth anniversary of the Armistice – I dug out my old regimental beret and attended the remembrance parade in my local town.
There was an impressive turnout of ex-service personnel and townsfolk. At the War Memorial (before the eleventh hour of the eleventh day) the names of those local men who had perished in both world wars were read out to the silent gathering.
The first name read out was Allcock!
I wasn’t at all prepared for such a reminder and at such an emotionally charged event.
My thoughts turned immediately (and quite naturally) to our Maartin Allcock, reminding me that it was already two months since he had departed this world.
I say departed, but he was, in the truest sense, ‘sent off’ on Friday, the 5th of October in admirable style by a gathering of colourfully dressed family and friends. Pink, purple, stripes and spots were much in evidence and, as advertised, for this occasion became the new black!
The venue for Maartin's send off - The Dragon Theatre, Barmouth
One of Maartin’s friends presided over the event with great warmth and humour, underscored with a collection of ‘telling asides’ about the particular relationship he and Maartin had shared.
This person was a cleric, part of a breed (together with nuns in holy orders) for whom Maartin had, apparently throughout his life, developed a healthy contempt. Nevertheless, they had managed to cobble together a very firm friendship and clearly a deep understanding in what originally, we were told, had been disadvantageous circumstance.
The fact that this gentleman – and he, indeed, was a gentleman – was dressed in a style more suitable (he claimed) to someone riding in the 2:30 at Uttoxeter, i.e. in a set of jockey’s silks of green and blue quarters. This had the crowded theatre* literally rolling in the aisles and, I would imagine, just in the way Maartin had intended! (*Yes, A Theatre! Namely The Dragon Theatre, Barmouth)
I didn’t know Maartin at all well and we met on but two occasions.
We performed together in Barcelona, where Maartin played Bass Guitar during a short set at a ‘Tullianos’ convention.
Maart and Dee take a bow with the team at the Barcelona Tullianos convention 2012
(photo by Remy Tena posted on jethrotull.proboards.com)
Later, he invited me and a singer friend to a Beth Nielsen Chapman gig in London, providing tickets, back stage passes and the warmest of welcomes. We chatted with them over a drink after the show and he offered to help my friend choose a guitar and even to get a discount.
Celebrating my birthday at the Barcelona Tullianos convention 2012
(photo by Remy Tena)
That’s what I do recall of Maartin. He was an extremely kind and very sensitive man – a rare quality to find in today’s world.
Wherever he now may be, it is most likely he’lll be handing out kindnesses and probably learning a new instrument (and a new language) whilst tuning up a new and exotic sauce to enhance a meal he’ll have prepared to share with his bosom friend, Mr Dave Swarbrick.
Bless ‘em both.