The Fan Club Weekend Reunion In Cheltenham - 26th and 27th February 2005
In the past, it’s been the custom for fans to gather around Brian’s grave on the anniversary of his birth in February and passing in July, and then to go on and spend a few hours afterwards chatting. However, time has always been very limited and it’s often been commented on, that for like minded Stones and Brian fans, it would be great to get to know each other better and spend more time together socialising, swapping stories, sharing thoughts, reminiscing and generally having a good time. And so it was, over the weekend of the 26th and 27th February 2005, although respectful to his memory, we all let our hair down and celebrated in full the life of Brian Jones.
Over what would have been the weekend before Brian’s sixty-third birthday, about 20 members of the Fan Club met up for what was to be a memorable few days remembering ‘conservative’ Cheltenham’s rebellious musician. The weekend gave us the time to visit the places that Brian knew, and socialise with some people who knew him. People like original Stone and founder of the Pretty Things, Dick Taylor, who along with his wife stayed for the whole weekend; brilliant jazz trumpeter John Keen who played alongside Brian in various early bands and of course Pat Andrews and Dick Hattrell were on hand to recall stories from the early years. Stones biographer, guitarist and vocalist Alan Clayson and excellent harmonica virtuoso and vocalist John O’Leary joined us and together with Dick Taylor and John Keen made the gig on the Saturday evening one to remember for a long time to come.
We all met up around mid-day on Saturday the 26th at the Carlton Hotel where the downstairs banqueting room had been allocated to us for the whole weekend. The banqueting room, conveniently adjacent to the hotels bar, appeared huge for such a small group but what we lacked in numbers, we more than made up with enthusiasm. The afternoon flew by, the brilliant impromptu gig in the evening went on past midnight - even though many never got to bed till 3 am, Sunday morning saw us all bright eyed and travelling around Cheltenham taking in various sites such as Dean Close, 38 Priory Street, Rosemead and the Blue Plaque and finally, the cemetery around noon, where flowers were placed on the grave and where the enjoyment of the weekend was temporarily replaced with sombreness and respect for the moment.
Leaving the cemetery we all met up in the Kings Arms pub in nearby Prestbury and had a pleasant lunch and a few drinks before some left for home in the late afternoon, others stayed on in Cheltenham over night so as to be in town for Brian’s actual birthday on Monday 28th while the remainder went on to London, to start a couple of days sightseeing taking in Stones landmarks, a visit to Cotchford Farm and a couple of us even ending up outside Redlands on a cold and chilly winters evening?? More about that some other time!
For more about the actual weekend, the events and happenings etc. a full review is being prepared for the upcoming issue of AfterMath. Photographs of the Fan Club weekend below show just what a great time was had by all and hopefully more of you will come along for the SECOND Fan Club Weekend Reunion in July – hope to see you all there.