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 Actually, I wanted the other one...

 

 

 

 

         
 

IN MEMORY OF STEPHEN PARSONS

 
 

 

Just recently, Stan Batcow (Howl In The Typewriter, Pumf) popped over for the evening. As good as it was to see my old friend again, he left me with a real feeling of sadness, having conveyed the news that  Stephen had lost his battle with cancer, on Christmas Eve of all days. Didn't even make the half century. God, that's no age to die. And it touches you all the more when that person is someone who you've met, flesh and blood, and someone who played a pivotal role in your life, because it was Stephen's passion that provided my initial inspiration to do all this underground networking stuff.

 

It was just a flyer that started it all. Back in 1991, my old Magic Moments At Twilight Time band got a second lease of life and were starting to become better known. We'd had a love letter of a review in The Organ, the underground bible of the day, and we were starting to get mail from all over. In one such piece of mail, I believe from Nik Nimbus's old band, Paradox, there was a flyer for BBP Records &

Tapes... and KFR Distribution. I made first contact with Stephen soon after and was immediately struck by his enthusiasm and passion for all things subterranean and anarchic! It was thanks to his infusing me with that enthusiasm and passion that I contacted the further flung wings of KFR, in the shapes of Lord Litter and Don Campau, which lead to the Music & Elsewhere label being born and the United World Underground project that followed. So he really did change my life, not a word of exaggeration.

 

Sam and I met him just the once, he invited us to visit him in Swindon, must have been late '91, I think, Don's photo (top right) is just how I remember him looking from the time, "the long haired wild man of rock and roll" as I put it in the January '92 issue of The Mmattrix. Though hardly wild, he was a pleasant and thoughtful host and we spent the afternoon swapping ideas on the global underground scene. Seem to recall we spend some time sympathising on his broken foot too. We left warmed by a nice cup of coffee and with a refreshing attitude to music distribution and a viable alternative plan to the awful business models that existed at the time. Suddenly, there were a growing number of people, all over the planet, working together, relationships based on what we had in common, rather than fretting about how we differed. People like Stephen helped kick-start that world, the world where a stranger in the mailbox was a friend, the second they arrived on your doorstep. I like that world. Thanks, Stephen, say hi to Kate Twilight for me.

 

Mick Magic

 


When I met Stephen, we were so young ... so very young ... death was so very far away .. Stephen so friendly .. so enthusiastic ... so alive .. Stephen changed my life .. we were dreaming a dream .. the dream of a different world .. more than 20 years ago .. we did change the world, even though this never will be documented in the books of the rulers of this world .. but then there is a basic truth .. I watched a wonderful movie inspired by a Jules Verne book .. when the movie was over, these words stood on the screen ..:"I take the dream with me, but it will be not lost to humanity. It will belong to you the day the world is educated enough to profit by it and wise enough not to abuse it." (from "Master of the world") ... and made me think of Stephen ...


Vive La Difference!
Lord Litter

 

I donít really recall how I first met Stephen. All I know is that we somehow starting trading tapes and underground music information. He may have been pointed my way by Steve Andrews whom I had a lot of contact back in the early 90s, maybe even late 80s.

Stephen ran the BBP tape label and had already been a champion of independent , underground and punk music long before I ever knew him. His tireless commitment to this firebrand style was always inspirational to me. Iím sure he sent me a lot of music that opened the door to new associates and friendships.

When Kevyn Dymond and I travelled to Britain and Europe in 1991, we visited many home tapers and underground music enthusiasts. Stephen was one of them.

We took a bus from London, as I recall, and headed toward Swindon, a rather quiet suburban town perhaps 50 miles to the west. I had heard Andy Partridge of XTC lived in Swindon and I even had XTC tapes playing in my Walkman as we approached.

Stephen lived with his parents then, wonderful, inviting people, who were gracious and generous. We spent most of the time up in Stephenís bedroom talking and laughing about the many characters we had encountered in the strange world of Cassette Culture. He showed us various tapes, magazines and pertinent BBP label information. He was excited and inspired by the music and his efforts were sincere and non stop.

We kept in touch when I returned and Stephen ran the British arm of KFR, Kentucky Fried Royalty, a sort of decentralized tape distributorship located in the UK, the USA, Germany and South America. Even though I was one of the ďarms,Ē I donít remember very much about it. It was never really wildly successful although it did bring a few people together as music contacts.

Every so often Stephen would send me some new music and a letter detailing his projects. The periods of time started to get much longer and I didnít know if he was slowing down in his efforts or had other concerns. Now, I find out that he was sick for a protracted period and probably felt like hell for much of the last part of his life. This saddens me because he seemed to be a peaceful and affable chap in every way I could discern.

Iíll miss you Stephen. You were part of my community and I am happy to have had you as a friend.

 

Don Campau
26 January 2013

 

Above: Stephen plays host to Don Campau and Kevyn Dymond (Guaranteed Cleveland Records) when their European tour of Autumn '91 hit Swindon, after spending six hours on The Magic Roundabout.

Left: Lord Litter being entertained by a gurning Mr. Dymond when the tour got as far as Berlin. He's lucky the wind didn't change.

 
 

Stephen David Parsons - 22nd March 1966 to 24th December 2012. If there is an afterlife, music distribution just got better there...