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SCOTT AT THE BBC
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SCOTT WALKER AT FAGINS, MANCHESTER 1973
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SCOTT AT THE BBC

Kindly contributed by Chris Pountain.

In 1968, I was fortunate enough to secure tickets to one of Scott's BBC TV shows. Memories do tend to fade or become enhanced with time, but I hope these recollections are reasonably accurate.

At the outset, the audience was given a talk about the giant prompt cards, which the crew would periodically display to give instructions at the appropriate times, to applaud or otherwise. These orders were superfluous, as the audience appreciated Scott's suave and professional performance throughout the show, and needed no prompting to show their enjoyment.

It was most memorable to me because what was happening could actually be heard, unlike the Walker
Brothers' concerts I had attended at Hammersmith Odeon and Finsbury Park Astoria, when the screaming was sometimes deafening; the BBC audience was hushed unless responding to the clapboards. There were overhead TV screens interspersed throughout the auditorium, which afforded us an excellent view of close-ups as the cameras zoomed in.

On screen it seemed that Scott descended some rather splendid looking stairs in the opening sequence to the tune of "Joanna" - but in reality the staircase was far less grand. It appeared to consist of wooden crates covered with white and blue crepe paper. As Scott bounded down the steps like a young gazelle, one of them gave way under him - but the trouper that he was, he was unfazed and did another "take" - his rather large feet, avoiding further mishap.

It is a well-known fact that Scott, guarded his privacy zealously, and as a result, acquired an ill-deserved reputation with the press for being enigmatic and aloof. It was even reported that he snubbed other celebrities. However, when I saw him on the BBC show he gave no indication that he considered himself to be a superstar. On the contrary, when his guest, Kiki Dee, was due on set he looked genuinely excited to be witnessing her performance. With almost boyish enthusiasm, he even pushed up his sleeves and started hauling the grand piano Johnnie Franz had just played, off centre stage, well before the stagehands arrived. During the show Scott performed a duet with Kiki Dee, the Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughan number "Passing Strangers".

Scott lingered on stage once the show was complete, talking to musicians or technicians and was deep in conversation when he suddenly looked up, shielded his eyes, and frowned as realisation dawned upon him that he was in the spotlight. He moved away into the shadows, still intent in conversation, the spotlight operator once more swung the light on Scott, who again stepped into the darkness. Once more the spotlight followed him and Scott laughed, seeing the joke the operator was playing on him. He started to fool around, much to the appreciation of the audience, running to dodge the spotlight for a few moments before chasing off to the wings. Scott then stuck out his arm from offstage and the spotlight illuminated his final gesture - a wave goodbye to the audience.

LOOKING BACK.....BY CHRIS POUNTAIN

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