Chad Stuart & Jeremy Clyde
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50 Years of Friendship

Jeremy Clyde Remembers How It All Began...

Good grief. Can it really be 50 years? There was an old movie on the other night, a splendidly cheap British sci-fi number. I was just about to switch off when I noticed in the opening credits the name of someone who was at Central at the same time as Chad & I were there. I seemed to remember that she had been rather fanciable. The trouble was that I couldn't remember what this person looked like after 50 years, so I had to stay up late and guess which of the female members of the cast it was.

That's what 50 years will do, folks. Except in the case of David Stuart Chadwick. It's like yesterday. September 1960. The beginning of my second year at Drama School. I'm in the top rehearsal room at Central finishing a pretty unconvincing attempt at some showtune. The "band" at this time is JC on classical guitar with about 5 folk chords and a fellow student, a Dutch guy called Jan Evert Steen, who is pretty skilled on the jazz clarinet. It's all a bit grim. I am hopelessly outclassed and we tend to settle for that old standby, "Summertime", from Porgy & Bess. Someone comes through the door with startling news. A new guy has arrived. Apparently he can Really Play. All the Shadows hits on guitar. And piano. Wow, a musical genius!

As it happens, when we meet minutes later, it gets better. Not only do we play in the same folkie guitar style but we sing together in what is clearly a remarkable blend. Then he sits down at the piano and rips into "Bad Penny Blues". Instantly, we are brothers. I don't think I ever called him David. It was "Chad" from the first. Cooler, jazzier. He is the teacher, no doubt about it. Soon I can play perhaps 12 chords and have begun to understand the relationship between keys. Minor sevenths. Added ninths. His knowledge of theory is formidable, beaten into him by sadistic choirmasters at Durham Cathedral Choir School. Never has there been a better argument for Institutional Cruelty. Trust me, it works.

And now, 50 years later, he is still the teacher. I still don't quite grasp the technicalities, although I now have all kinds of neat chords in my repertoire. Sometimes he tells me they are added ninths, and I am impressed. And there are moments on stage, when I can hear exactly what we heard all those years ago in the back stairs at Central, as we first sang those harmonies & the sound bounced off the concrete walls. Can it really be 50 years?

Jeremy Clyde,
September 2010.


An Electric Paintbox production.
Copyright 2010  Frank Jason Rhoden.

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