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Phil Free - the busker

alanabit 15 Jan 12 - 02:24 PM
Stewart 15 Jan 12 - 03:15 PM
alanabit 15 Jan 12 - 03:57 PM
GUEST,roderick warner 15 Jan 12 - 07:12 PM
Joybell 15 Jan 12 - 07:21 PM
Joybell 15 Jan 12 - 07:53 PM
YorkshireYankee 16 Jan 12 - 07:48 PM
alanabit 17 Jan 12 - 04:55 PM
GUEST,roderick warner 17 Jan 12 - 06:58 PM
alanabit 18 Jan 12 - 04:02 AM
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Subject: Phil Free - the busker
From: alanabit
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 02:24 PM

This will only interest very few people here, because Phil is unknown outside the busking world - which is probably pretty well how he likes it. I heard the news last night that he has terminal cancer and has been released by Charing Cross Hospital to spend his remaining days among friends. He was one of Don Partridge's closest friends, so some of you who knew Don will know Phil. Don did not go out of his way to flatter people, but he told me: "On the quiet Alan, Phil's a little genius."
I only had the good fortune to meet Phil twice, but meeting him is an experience which no one will forget. Apart from being the most gifted natural clown I have ever met - or likely will meet - he is also polite, gentle, kind and cheerful. His influence on other performers is incalculable. All over the world there are street comedians, jugglers, musicians and other performers, who use Phil's material and ideas - even though they have never heard of him. He essentially invented the modern street comedy show back in the sixties at a time when the busking tradition was being reborn and seen as an alternative way of life.
Phil won't remember me, because I was just one kid of many who spent a few days with him and then moved on. Those of you who know him better may wish to get in contact with him now and tell him how much we love him. I wish I had better news. The man is absolutely irreplaceable.


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Subject: RE: Phil Free - the busker
From: Stewart
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 03:15 PM

I have a soft place in my heart for buskers

This says it all

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Phil Free - the busker
From: alanabit
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 03:57 PM

A lovely song by a nice guy. Colum actually lived here (Köln) for a little while in the late seventies. Klaus der Fiddler - now better known by his German name as "Klaus der Geiger" - has been a good friend for many years. He is, as the song says, an ex-orchestra musician and as both a street performer and a folk music, he is a force of nature. Along with Phil, he is one of the most extraordinary people I have met since I started out on this strange way of life. His current accompanying guitarist, Salossi - who has played wtih him for the past fifteen odd years - is also a good friend who plays with me as a duo partner and played lead guitar and fiddle in my band.
To people who have never experienced the like of Klaus or Phil on the street, it is very difficult to convey the sheer delight and excitement which they generate. Phil was able to go anywhere in the world with a banjo and a few props, pull crowds and keep them messmerised for hours - without actually finishing a song. There never was - or will be - anyone quite like him.


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Subject: RE: Phil Free - the busker
From: GUEST,roderick warner
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 07:12 PM

alanabit - is this recent news? Phil has had illness problems on and off for the last couple of years. I met up with him at Don's funeral in 2011 and he looked pretty good considering. I'll see if I can find out current situation via Al Young...


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Subject: RE: Phil Free - the busker
From: Joybell
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 07:21 PM

My True-love, Hildebrand, talks about Phil. He met up with him in the 60s. He was just passing through too. Thank you so much alanabit. I'll pass your message on when Hildebrand wakes up.
Joy


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Subject: RE: Phil Free - the busker
From: Joybell
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 07:53 PM

Hildebrand here. i met Phil thru my friend Jack Broadhead when we were all living in Sweden around 1970. he was said to be from Manchester. i only saw Phil when we both happened to be in Uppsala, and he was unforgettable. there was a kind of sweetness to him that made me regret not getting to know him better. he was a clawhammer banjo player, and i remember him doing the Johnson Boys very effectively, altho he disparaged his abilities. Jack said that Phil had organized his neighbors in Stockholm into some sort of street show. Jack also said that Phil had started a coathanger collection. Phil was also a painter, and did delightful bright miniature acrylics with whimsical titles.
all these years i've wondered what happened to Phil, and its very sad to know that he's terminally ill. best to all, hildebrand


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Subject: RE: Phil Free - the busker
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 07:48 PM

Haven't (unfortunately) seen or heard of Phil, alanabit, but I appreciate you posting about him. Sounds like a truly exceptional fellow.


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Subject: RE: Phil Free - the busker
From: alanabit
Date: 17 Jan 12 - 04:55 PM

Roderick: I am afraid this news is recent. I was in touch with Fred Flensborough over the weekend. Laurence Glaister is with Phil already and Moti is on his way tomorrow. I heard about Phil's heart surgery from Colin Wilkie about eighteen months ago. He came out of that OK, but this time the news is not so good. I hope his remaining time is as painless can be and I know he will be glad to have his busking mates around him.


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Subject: RE: Phil Free - the busker
From: GUEST,roderick warner
Date: 17 Jan 12 - 06:58 PM

Alanabit - thanks for news - been trying to get hold of Al Young who is one of Phil's old mates from way back but no reply so far. I knew he had the earlier illness that he recovered from, that would have been the heart surgery you mentioned - despite the sad circumstances at Don Partridge's funeral, Phil was looking pretty good. This obviously is new and sad stuff. I never really knew Phil as my busking routes took me to different places, met him a couple of times in recent years, but Don was one of his closest friends and always spoke fondly of him.
My thoughts go out to him...


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Subject: RE: Phil Free - the busker
From: alanabit
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 04:02 AM

I wonder if we ever met up Roderick? If you either join up here and send me a PM, or e-mail me at: alanabit@web.de, I would be interested to hear from you. I am sure we have several friends in common. I met Alan Young up in Strockholm in the early eighties, but I can't really claim to know him.
I busked mainly around Köln, but also many other towns in Germany, Holland, Austria and Switzerland as well as shorter trips elsewhere. I know Don thought the world of Phil and that they often travelled together.


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