Seems as if it’s only yesterday when as a sixteen year old I would spend my Christmas holidays at Kaka Point beach on the east coast of the New Zealand South Island.
At lot of water had gone under the bridge of my life but I still dream of my happy time when life was less complicated.
Back then, I lived in Balclutha which is a beautiful town nestled on the flood banks of the mighty Clutha River. Well it was mighty before it was tamed about thirty years ago.
Fifty years ago I belonged to a band called Crystal Reflection with besties Dallas playing lead/rhythm guitar and Wilbert on bass guitar. As for me, I beat the living hell out of a set of Premier drums.
I recall that as it was my final year at school I had plenty of time to spare. But as Dallas and Wilbert were apprentice motor mechanics, they only had the holidays.
They had cars and I had a brand new bicycle so recall waiting for them to pick me up to drive the 30 km from Charlotte Street Balcutha to Kaka Point camping ground.
We stayed there until Dallas and Wilbert returned to work and then I managed to hide overnight in the Kaka Point Surf Life saving club. I had been a member there until I was encouraged to leave for my foolhardy attempts to paddle my friends sister out on the leaky hollow plywood surf ski owned by the club. One time I almost drowned with Lois when the ski sprang a leak and I lost the paddle. And if it wasn’t for my brother having all cars lights on we would never have know in which direction to swim.
However that’s another story as this one is about the trio of us, Dallas, Wilbert and Bevan.
Eventually one of the arrived in a car. I can’t remember which one. It was either Dallas in his 1958 Morris or Wilbert in his 1962 Austin with Lead Zeppelin symbols painted on it.
No snakes or poisonous spiders to worry about in New Zealand so we usually dressed in nothing else but bell bottomed jeans and a singlet of kaleidoscope of colours.
Dallas and Wilbert had shoulder length hair but as I still had to obey the South Otago High School rules and regulations school I made do with an Elvis look.
A tent and bunks came out of the cars first and then came the nector of the Gods -a crate of South Otago’s finest, i.e. Speight’s Three Star beer.
Tent erected and a few sips of the precious nectar we sped down to the hall to unload and set up our gear. I set up my drums in the centre with Wilbert and Dallas either side of me with their 200 watt Jansen Amplifiers.
Following a sound check we retired to out tents to consume the nectar of the Gods in the company of the local girls.
Come night we were front and centre at the tiny Kaka Point hall and warm up with an aperitif of the Beatles hits followed by a main course of The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Credence Clearwater Revival, Joe Cocker, Lead Zeppelin.
The pièce de résistance or as Dallas and Wilbert nicely put it; Bevan’s jerking off time being a medley of old time dancing or ‘crutch dancing’ songs, crutch meaning holding one another close.
When we had finished this gig we had another one in Owaka which happened to be the town where I was born. This tiny town of two hundred people sits sedately as a gateway to the Catlins coastal area.
And so at the stroke of midnight we farewelled our fans, packed the cars and wound our way along the 10 km of gravel road.
Once at the Town Hall we set up our gear and to please the oldies we played ‘crutch dancing’ music until about 3 am.
Tired and emotional it was back to Kaka Point where we sat on the beach and marvelled at the birth of the first sun that year.....and it was a slice of heaven.