Photo above: Purple Shoes, Selden Arms, Worthing, 26 March 2017
This month’s Time Machine offers a photo gallery interlude courtesy of one of Worthing’s most devoted gig-goers. Since his retirement in 2013, Rod Cohen and his camera have been a regular feature on the town’s small but devoted micro-gig circuit. He enjoys the music and camaraderie of local bands who ply their trade in the area, the ones always out there doing it. Rod worked in the Pier’s amusement arcade for 30 years, but is now likely to be found in its Southern Pavilion enjoying a blues night.
“Sometimes I love the blues but there’s only so much 12 bar you can take,” he laughs, “and I love folk music too but I can also only take so much of that.”
Swinging between these musical poles, Rod’s own gig-going has tended to take in the Southern Pavilion, The Egremont Pub, Shoreham’s Duke of Wellington pub and the Ropetackle Centre. From Mad Max to Rough Chowder to Catfish to his own favourite, Worthing act, Taylor Maid, he’s usually out there, nursing his camera and a pint of good ale. He has another history, as part of the Worthing Workshop crew in the 1960s, but we’ll leave that for another day. For now, Rod’s camera takes us on a four stop tour of his local scene.
Rod: “They have a lovely country rock sound, somewhere between Neil Young and the Beach Boys. Marie Dance and Michael Bickers are key figures round here. She’s a great songwriter and also does the open mic night at Cheers.”
The Time Machine says: This shot nails what it’s like to be a five-piece band in the corner of a small pub. It captures the squeeze; the trombonist pushed to the centre for a solo, the guitarist practically falling onto the drummer, the audience shirt sleeve almost invading the guitarist’s space, yet levity is given by daylight cast across singer Marie Dance.
Stevie Watts, Southern Pavilion, Worthing, 14 February 2016
Rod: “Stevie Watts comes originally from Worthing and he’s well-known for his organ-playing, the Hammond, the mod sound. He’s worked with many big names.”
The Time Machine says: Although he’s seated, there’s a sense of action, of purpose. There’s a modishness to Watts and the black’n’white lends itself to this, while the composition is a balance of busy – all the musical kit – with the flat, unglamorous backdrop curtain which says this is, indeed, a British seaside town rather than some flashy urban centre.
Hickory Signals, West Street Loft, Shoreham, 30 January 2016
Rod: “Hickory Signals are a band I really like, one of my favourites, and I’ve seen them many times. They’re a folk outfit and singer Laura Ward has a really big heart, which comes across in their performance.”
The Time Machine says: Again, this captures the sense of a small local venue elevated by frontwoman Laura Ward, a soulful and energized presence, singing but alert and ready with her flute while all is a-bustle about her.
Hickory Signals, The Duke of Wellington, Shoreham, 20 March 2016
Rod: “Why do you want this picture of Laura Ward’s feet? It’s a good picture, though, isn’t it.”
The Time Machine says: It is a good picture, Rod. The minutiae often says more than a more obvious shot; the dirty carpet, the brush drum stick, the multitude of cables, and in the middle, those feet, characterful, tattooed, stylishly attired, the feet of a born performer.”
By Thomas H Green