Venue: Fishy Mansions
Event: Private Party
Location: 77 Shakespeare Rd Northampton England NN1 3QF
This is a video from one of the best nights of my life...the night I met my idol, Pat. It is likely my most prized possession and it cost me nothing. They say meeting your idols can be dangerous as they may not live up to your idea of them. More on that later...and sorry (not sorry) for the long post.
The Jazz Butcher has been the soundtrack of my life, from 1986 to present. Just like Thomas Peterson, Bloody Nonsense was my first album, though the Canadian version differed a bit from the U.S. I never stopped listening to Pat. I loved and love his music dearly. Like many of you have said, it got me through good times and bad and - I cry as I write this - I owe him a lot.
I'm glad I got to convey my gratitude to him over the years (many have used the word fandom in their posts) - Facebook Messenger is great that way for being able to reach out to people, even people you don't really know. And, as my wife Kathleen and I planned a UK trip for April 2019 (remember travel?), I reached out to Pat and said we'd be coming up to Northampton and I'd love to buy him a beer or five to show my appreciation for how much his music has meant to me.
Much to my elation, Pat was game. We arrived in Northampton - couldn't get there any quicker, really, as we landed in London and pretty much took a train there immediately. And, after an initial scare where I didn't quite have his right phone number, Pat and I connected on Messenger again and agreed to meet at The Lamplighter for 7 pm. As our cab approached, I saw this tall, harrowing figure walking into the pub and I knew it was him. This was happening - so many feelings were swirling about inside me.
We introduced ourselves, grabbed pints and sat. And then - acutely starstruck - I pretty much forgot how to speak for about 45 minutes. Luckily this rarely happens to my wife, so she held the fort during that time. I eventually came out of my shell and...it was just wonderful.
(BTW friends had asked me, before our trip, "what will you ask him?", and I purposely had no questions prepared. I didn't want this to be an interview and I didn't want it to be all about me. I just wanted to hang out with Pat and get to know him a little bit.)
He was so gracious and generous. Beer and conversation flowed freely. He was kind and interested in us. We were then joined by his good friend Rachel McGrath, who got me to express my fandom by asking me, at some point, what my top 5 JBC songs were. I rhymed them off easily, with the top one being, since forever, Big Saturday (as I'm crying again).
Imagine how over the moon I was when Pat invited us back to Fishy Mansions for a nightcap. How I held my cool, I've no idea - maybe the drink, or maybe by that time it was clear how genuine Pat was. And, around 1 am, Pat grabbed a guitar, and then my wife - I will forever be indebted to her - asked Pat to "play Jean's favourite song, Big Saturday". He obliged, and as I sob now, that's also me sobbing in the video at the beginning. I just lost it. I literally pinched myself, couldn't believe this was actually happening.
What a perfect evening getting to know a lovely human being, if only a bit. Meeting my idol exceeded my expectations and by far.
It is also incredible to have read your posts and know that this kind of interaction with Pat was commonplace. He made so many people so happy by being so generous.
Finally, as all of you, I am heartbroken today. My heart goes out especially to those who knew him much more so than I did, his friends and loved ones. I am so sorry for your loss. It seems Pat was every bit as good to his loved ones that he was to simple fans like me.
I treasure the memory of having met Pat and am so grateful to him, and for the fact that we still have his music. JBC forever, folks. Much love to all, Jean xoxo
Credit: Jean Lazure