From "The Colwyn Bay Chronicle" 23rd August 2005


At last the mystery has been solved. Readers may recall that some two months ago a young man was discovered on the shore at Rhos-on-Sea in a confused and dishevelled state. He was wearing only a boater and a striped waistcoat, the labels having been removed. He was unwilling or unable to speak and carried no signs of identification. While he was being nursed at Bodelwyddan Sanatorium he was given a pencil and paper and produced an astonishingly realistic image of a banjo. A Clifford Essex Concert Grand model was procured for him (the donor wished to remain anonymous) and as he accepted this gift he showed for the first time the very slightest flicker of emotion.

Accounts of his performance on the banjo vary: some say that he could perform the entire repertoire of Vess Ossman before breakfast, while others suggest that by tea-time he could get barely one string in tune. Either way his accomplishments were seen as indicative of remarkable talent. Psychologists from the University of Betws-y-Coed had believed that he may have been of Inuit extraction, washed across the Atlantic from northern Canada on a raft fashioned from the remnants of a tea-chest bass. It was noticed that he responded favourably to heavy rhythms, particularly those of an irregular nature but with a tendency to accelerate.

The truth, however, is that he is an unemployed spoon player from Doonaplunkett in County Sligo, where he had suffered some kind of breakdown. His interest in the banjo is thought to have been a reaction against the preponderance of TENOR banjos in Irish Folk bands, the tenor instrument regarded by purists as a bastardised version of the banjo. He has now been re-united with his family in Ireland who, by way of celebration, have redeemed the family silver (mainly cutlery) from the local pawnbrokers.

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