Last weekend I took advantage of an open invitation to see a unique collection of original artwork and memorabilia relating to the 1960s rock band The Who and their cult classic rock-opera-come-films Tommy and Quadrophenia.
Also taking advantage of the Sunday sunshine, I rode my vintage Lambretta SX200 to Paul Brady’s house in Southampton.
I do believe in fate but I also believe we can make our own fate
The collection was inherited by Paul when his friend John Davies, tragically killed in a car accident, made him sole beneficiary in his will.
John, a talented artist, painted a series of dream–like psychedelic posters representing each song from the album.
John was exhibiting his paintings when a friend asked if he could bring along someone who might like to see them, and that person was lead singer Roger Daltrey, who in turn brought along the band’s visionary songwriter Pete Townsend.
This was around 1974 when The Who were about to produce the book entitled A Decade of The Who, and were so impressed with John’s work he was asked by the band to produce its artwork.
Since inheriting the collection, complete with full copyright, Paul has made some impressive acquisitions, including two replica scooters ridden by Phil Daniels and Sting in the 1979 film Quadrophenia.
Paul is hugely passionate about the collection and feels honoured to have inherited it, dedicating massive amounts of time exhibiting at shows where fans can have photographs taken with the paintings and scooters.
Ironically, Paul doesn’t have a full motorcycle licence so is unable to indulge in riding these iconic scooters. In fact, as a fire precaution and condition of insurance, all flammable fluids have been drained.
I was very impressed with the collection and pleasantly moved by the story of John Davies’ chance meeting with the band and subsequent artistic relationship.
I do believe in fate but I also believe we can make our own fate, telling my children ‘chance always favours the prepared mind.’
On my return journey, I felt something wasn’t quite right with my Lambretta scooter and felt the rear wheel wobbling.
Just managing to keep the scooter upright, I pulled into the side of the road where I found my rear wheel hub had disengaged and was working loose.
Realising I couldn’t fix this by the roadside, I called Green Flag whose two-car-length flatbed low-loader arrived very promptly, with a driver looking equally puzzled and amused.
Turns out he’d been told he was recovering a Lamborghini, so wasn’t expecting a Lambretta!
Focus on... Quadrophenia
The Who’s 1973 album Quadrophenia, a rock opera set in the 1960s, has become a cult classic, being also made into a 1979 hit film.
The original double album cover featured black and white photographs of a young Mod wearing his US Army parka on a Vespa GS 160 scooter.
The second album cover featured colour photographic stills from the film with its young stars Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash and Sting.
Last week I handled what is believed to be one of the few surviving prototype examples for the 1979 film soundtrack (pictured).
Sadly, this was an unused prototype design for the album cover, so it never ever came with a copy of the vinyl records that probably hadn’t been pressed at that point.
I’ve searched all available past auction records for this album design but found only two promotional posters, one of which sold for $600.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this rare piece of music memorabilia realised a four figure sum if sold at auction, and the buyer wouldn’t even get to play the music for their money either.