It was a hot summers day in the 90’s and John Martyn was back from touring in the US. He was staying at the Nelson in the Old Town. I believe he was sleeping on the pool table in the room above the pub. He was walking everywhere wearing slippers because his feet were too swollen for shoes. He was meant to rest, but I don’t think he did, much.
This particular day he was in a good mood and decided he fancied treating everyone in the pub to an impromptu concert on the beach.
His guitar was plugged into one of the winch huts, somebody went home to fetch their drums and Pat, the land lady, lit the BBQ.
This is the kind of magic one sometimes encounters in Hastings – especially in the Old Town. There is an irreverent anarchic sense of fun here, a generosity of spirit that no big business – like the Jerwood – can ever acquire however much money they throw at our corrupt politicians. Creativity is not a commodity that can be bought and sold. It has to be given freely, from a full heart, however much the men in suits try to harness it, re-package it and then sell it back to us. John Martyn walked his own way, and I for one am truly grateful to have met him.