If selfless, diligent hard work for absolutely no financial gain whatsoever in the face of fierce adversity were a means to grade the measure of a man then Steve Perry would have at the very least by now been granted sainthood. His role as Bonn Folk Club schedule organizer put him at the mercy of many an ego, both great and small – where to play in the evening’s schedule? how many songs to play? or, indeed, are two songs each of a whopping 15-minute duration still actually a spot for only two songs?
Serious illness has prevented Steve from carrying out his onerous (odious?) task for the last couple of years, so his appearance at last Friday’s 124th Folk Club meeting was a very welcome one indeed in spite of the circumstances behind it. He has definitely stepped down from his job as organizer though, so I asked Steve to describe how he came to the post – and it appears the early Folk Club Committee were pretty persuasive, one might say Canadian Mountie-like, in getting their man. I’ll let Steve Perry take up the story…
“After one beer too many one evening John (Harrison) and Barry (Roshto) asked if I would consider doing the scheduling and setting playing orders for Folk Club. Both John and Barry both came up with paper-thin excuses why they could not do it, and Barry, who had done the scheduling til then, even offered a work-saving formula to ensure that no one got overlooked or played too often. I said I would give it a try if I didn’t have to use Barry’s algorithm. I had enough of that stuff at work!
I was not really into performing but enjoyed the music and liked the challenge of organizing.
It turned out, that scheduling was only a very small part of what I had to do, beginning with the fun of thinking up themes for every Friday, contacting floor spot performers and featured artists, arranging paying gigs for the featured artists on the Thursday or Saturday adjoining Folk Club, and emerging from behind the scenes to give announcements, which I usually screwed up so I ended up being a standup comic. I must admit I kind of enjoyed this part. Every now and then I would sing a song or maybe even reserve a floor spot for myself or some group I was singing with. But all in all, it was a lot of fun and a warm friendship developed among the organizers. In addition, Regine and I hosted many of the featured artists at home and got to know them better. This was a real reward.
All in all, I would not like to miss any part of my enriching connection to Folk Club over the years. I wish FCB many more years of relaxed fun and quality entertainment”.
Because of Steve’s health, this was announced as his final performance at Dotty’s. We all hope though that this will turn out to be the first of many final appearances of the genial Canadian Professor at the Club. With that hope in mind I will put in a request for my favourite Steve spot where he offers listeners the chance to order “A beautiful Bible, with full colour pictures of the Holy Land just as it was when Jesus walked the Earth, and, if you act now, you will also get an autographed picture of Jesus that glows in the dark!” Pure gold, pure Steve Perry!
Check it out at the six-minute mark on the video from 2014 below: