Internet Coincidences

Jazz and Other

10/08/2009 -

Fred Burnett - 

On 10th August I received an email from my friend asking me if I could help with a quiz question with a "ratty theme". The question was, "What started on 7th Feb 2008 and ended on 25th Jan 2009? ".  The answer, after a bit of digging, was The Chinese New Year - The Year of The Rat, and so I passed it on.

The email that followed it came from someone enquiring about a marching band for a funeral. The sender?  

It was from someone calling himself  - "pied piper"! 

07 August 2009 19:15 - from Tony Pringle - Do you have an email address for Pete Maguire (trombonist)?
07 August 2009 23:20 - from Tony Pringle -  

Hi Fred,  It's a small world thing. This is the Peter Maguire that I mean. I first met Peter at Yatesbury when I was doing my National Service if the RAF. We formed a band on the camp called the Stonehenge City Stompers. I think the pianist and the banjoist were from up north, but cannot recall their names - it was 50 years ago. We played on the camp as the interval band to Mick Mulligan, and also played quite a lot in Bath area jazz pubs during 1959. We had a driver with a VW bus - he was from Ireland and we knew him as Paddy!

The clarinet player sounded like Wally Fawkes and came from Glasgow. I saw him years later - he came backstage when the Black Eagles were playing in Dublin back in 1984. I was told that there was a John Flint wanted to see me - it meant nothing because I just knew him as Jock.

Peter and I also bought a 1934 Austin 7. I remember that it did 45 mpg, 
45 miles to the pint of oil and 45 mph flat out. We used to make smoke like a destroyer on manoeuvres. Consequently the Wiltshire police pulled us over and we discovered that we both were only learner rivers. Oops.

I'll contact Peter through his web site. Thanks,

11 August 2009 23:28 - From Peter Maguire - 


Hi Fred, Life really is at times most extraordinary.

Sometimes I have a feeling that telepathy is a tangible phenomena. Ian Maud who runs the excellent website had asked if I would contribute an article about playing with the support band on a Mick Mulligan Band gig at RAF Yatesbury in nineteen fifty nine.

I have been pretty busy over the past few months and thought that I really must get something down on paper. Gerry Salisbury came to mind. He was the bass player on the gig - a great multi-instrumentalist - I had met him again a couple of times in on the jazz scene in early sixties London.

And what do you know ? Within a day or so of thinking about Gerry Salisbury I get an email from Gerry Salisbuy. He now lives in France and we exchanged some very interesting emails. He had contacted me via to mention that he too had been a close friend of the trumpet player Chris Bateson who I had written about as being an influence on my own playing.

Then just to round off the meeting of minds via the Internet - and telepathy maybe - I get an email from my old friend Tony Pringle - the cornet player on the Mulligan gig at Yatesbury - informing me that he had a piece published on Fred Burnett's website reminiscing about The Stonehenge City Jazzmen.

And so: The Stonehenge City Jazz Band. Well amongst other things we won the annual talent contest - much I fear to the disapproval of the Lord Mayor - held in Calne the small town near to RAF Yatsbury. We really were quite an active outfit and had great times together it ameliorated to some extent the somewhat grim life atop the moor living in RAF Yatesbury's wooden hutted domain.

Apart from Tony Pringle the only two other musicians I saw at a later date were Pete Kedney, the pianist, who went on to study medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin and one of the banjo players who whose family name was Tong ( I cannot remember his first name) - he was around the Manchester scene for a while.

Paddy - the roadie, diver, and holder of The Cup (where did that end up I wonder) I am sure ended up in some showbiz related entrepreneurial pursuits after completing his RAF service.

As a footnote, Alan Dent - even then a very good musician - was also stationed at RAF Yatesbury. I also played the Ray River Jazmen in Swindon every Sunday evening and he would come along to sit in.

I went to have a look at RAF Yatesbury during the late seventies when my Son Adam was studying at Swindon College of Art. All that remained standing was the main gate and the memories.

Very Best Regards, - Peter Maguire.

Fred Burnett - 

Back in the 90's  I got a request via a chat network from someone called Burnett, who was just hoping to find anyone with common ancestry. I didn't respond, in fact I lost it, but some weeks later I accessed the same chat network and asked for a list of all people called Burnett who were members. I was surprised that there were so many that I wasn't even listed on the first page, so I requested a list of all Burnett's with a nickname beginning with G, as I was using my ham radio callsign - G3RSM, and sure enough I appeared.  There was just one other Burnett actually on line at the same time, a George Burnett, so I sent him an instant message to ask if he had received the same request. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be him who had sent it. That was an amazing coincidence, but more was to come

He told me that his grandparents came from Crewton Derby and that his grandfather was called Joseph William Burnett. I told him that my grandparents also came from the same district of Derby, but that name didn't mean anything to me and so after ascertaining that he lived in Wide Bay or Herbie Bay in Queensland, Australia, by the Burnett river would you believe, I said my goodbyes for the time being.

After I left the internet I called my Aunt, my father's sister, on the telephone and asked her if she had ever heard of a Joseph Burnett and she replied "Uncle Joe, yes he emigrated to Australia". What an amazing coincidence, and what were the odds against me meeting up with my second cousin just like that?

22/04/15 -

Reading with interest your comment in the jazz pages about how you have found yourself in contact with people you seldom if ever get to meet prompted me to scroll down to your observations on your visit to us at Jazz On A Sunday and the Swing Fever performance.

Although I did get a chance to have a few words I ought really to have introduced myself.  I was the one who commented on your insert regarding Peter Maguire and his Jazz Clubs Worldwide site.

In spite of our having bought Peter's then house (where we still live - or more correctly "reside" because Ripponden is a posh area) 41 years ago I was not aware that he was a jazz musician.  I do remember when he was showing us around we were in his study (aka boxroom) from where I am sending you this and I noticed that there was a trombone in the corner but (West Yorks being a brass band hot spot) I assumed that to be where be his interests lay.

From his "about me" feature I gather that he had played with a variety of bands and lived and worked in Belgium for six years or so as a professional musician but as I recall when I met him he was earning his corn as a proof reader for one of the major publishers (Hamlyn possibly).

Coincidentally his then (and still my) next door neighbour went to German classes at night school in Sowerby Bridge with Peter's late wife Delma along with a rugby playing associate of mine who became best man at my wedding.

It's true that if you stand still for long enough anywhere in the world somebody you know will walk by so don't despair!..

It was nice to put a face to the name.  You clearly enjoyed Swing Fever and I hope you enjoyed your visit to Castleton.  I'm a Scouser so I'm not forced to say that.

All the best.
Alan Lawless 

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