Arthur Marshall

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THE TITANIC DISASTER BAND

I started it all off again (there was work coming out of our ears, we were so good) with a new line-up, featuring Clare Mundy on fiddle, Jon Mayhew on guitar and things that go twang, Martin still on bass and Andy playing whistle and surprising trombone. Well, it surprised us.

Martin left fairly soon and was replaced by John Duffy on the bass. We rescued him from heavy rock bands which, as he was about twenty three stone at the time, were considerably lighter after he left. Then Clare started having babies like there was no tomorrow and got replaced by Mandy Todd on the fiddle.

It was at this point we realised that the reunion gig was going to have to be in Manchester. Not a hall in Manchester, but all of it.  Luckily, as when most people left they weren't talking to me, the chances of a reunion gig were pretty slim anyway.

By now the band was called the Titanic Disaster Band, partly because of the way it went down well, partly out of a love of bad taste, and partly due to a suggestion by Martin Tetlow which derived from the way the previous band had imploded. He originally wanted to call it the Scandal Band, but we negated that, negatively. Positively negated it, in fact.

Where were we. Mandy, yes. She's now a fiddle playing rock star somewhere in America.  They come, they go... actually, she's back in the UK now, being a megastar in Bath.  The city, that is, not the white thing with the water in it.

After Mandy, Mike played fiddle for us for a while before leaving to sell pianos and play with a folk rock band called Caught on the Hop from St Helens. Only the first bit of that is the name of the band, they actually came from St Helens. Someone has to. It's those who stay there I don't understand.  If you ever read this, sorry Ali.

Anyway, by this time Pete Booth was back in the band, and then Rebecca learnt to play the fiddle (she was a piano player, really) and joined us for a bit, though who else was there at the time I forget. Perhaps the photos will remind me.  I think Jon was still on guitar, and Duffy still thudding away at the bass.  Pete Rimmer, from Southport, played guitar for a while, and sold me a unicycle which I still can't ride.  And, in fact, have left in a friend's garage somewhere on the Wirral.  Perhaps they can ride it.

When Rebecca went off to be a Thespian, and couldn't play with us any more because we couldn't afford the expenses to fly her back from Thespia every weekend, Richard Wilde starting fiddling with us.  We got him out of the Musician's Union book, which must say something about something, though I'm not sure what. He was classically trained, but we bent him a lot. Jon Mayhew left round about this stage owing to a sudden influx (I think there may be one consonant too many in that word) of children and Douglas Mudd veered back on a small and somewhat peculiar green guitar.

(NOTE - at this point I gave up taking photos of the band, because as soon as I did, someone left.)

And then John Duffy left, and Jane Leffman took over the bass and then Richard left and Jon Oxley, who was there at the start, came back in to play the fiddle. Which he made. And very good it is too, and I should know because I've got three of his - the Dancing Master's Kit miniature fiddle, the superb electric model that he makes, and the acoustic real one. Mandy's got one of his electrics, as have many other people.   

Sadly, he's now retired from instrument making, which is a shame because he was brilliant at it.

And then Douglas left and was replaced by Chris Kelly, at which point...

... everyone got fed up with it all at once and after twenty years, the Titanic sank. I killed it off when I decided to leave. Did I mention that I started calling the dances when Quentin left to drive buses and started doing shifts? Anyway, I did, and have now been calling for about thirty years. No-one has answered yet.

So we dumped the band, partly sadly and partly with relief, and everyone went off to do their own thing. Richard had already started his own band, called Two Left Feet, with Jon Mayhew on guitar, another Jon on bass and Chris on piano, and was looking for a Caller, so I went off and joined his band for a while till everyone got fed up with me again....

And me, I'm still playing fiddles, guitars and anything else I can lay my hand on. I sing a bit, too.