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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Rick Obit: Teesside - Tinker Dick Aug 2014 (22) RE: Obit: Teesside - Tinker Dick 25 Aug 14


Memories of Tinker Dick. He was a jovial cheerful slightly shambolic character,,often clad in an old raincoat, looking a bit like a red or ginger haired version of Noddy Holder from Slade. One of those people who just turns up at places, so I can't really say when I first noticed him. Maybe at a folk club or a local pub-rock gig. His trade mark approach was a loud hearty salutation and a handshake,and slap on the back or embrace, as if he'd just found a long-lost relative -he was an emotional and emotive man and never hesitated to show it.   His finest hour to my mind, was as M.C.and floor singer for the Zetland rock nights at the Zetland Hotel Saltburn on Sunday nights, during the heyday of New-wave/punk rock music, when every landlord was signing up bands for the sake of a bigger take on the bar, or sometimes as they also enjoyed the music. In those days, (around 1977-1980-we were a bit behind London and the South), The Zetland had it's own railway platform and you could travel through from Teesside and back for the gigs. Dick sometimes brought his mates from South Bank, and I have one abiding image of him wandering around with two full pints in his hands, looking for a mate on which to bestow his gift of hospitality. I'd heard an apocryphal tale of him getting out his guitar and singing songs while he was meant to be working at I.C.I. and then remonstrating with the foreman for interrupting him.


The Zetland rock nights were incredibly good value as there were usually two bands and a raffle,maybe poetry, and possibly one of Dick's films on, all for 50 pence on the ball room door, an altogether luxuriant setting for those wonderfully proletarian and egalitarian celebrations of popular culture.I would cycle through usually, to meet old mates. I still have fond memories of Black Rose disappearing in an impenetrable fog when someone overcooked the dry ice machine, and one enthusiastic drummer bringing down bits of chandelier with his flying sticks routine. When I say Dick's films, I think we got something like a cine-8 in black and white aimed at an old sheet or a school-room projector screen, showing Dick's version of Tarka the Otter, (a bit of old fur tied to a string and towed through Saltburn Beck), and the life of Rudy Valentino, made with little plasticine people not unlike Morph from Vision On, doing naughty things inside a model tent on the beach. Dick had his own secret society called The Crabs, which the favoured few were allowed to join (I was a Crab reporter for a while, at least in name), and he regarded Crusty Back as a term of honour. I still have a local newspaper photo of him wearing a jester's hat at Skelton and Brotton carnival, which is how I think, he would like to be remembered.


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