| A short obit from Greig Coetzee about Syd Kitchen
I first came across Syd Kitchen when I stumbled across his terminally cool shop, Syd Kitchen’s Guitar Saloon, when I was a school kid in the early eighties. I was looking for sponsorship for a charity thing we were doing and I wanted Syd to take an ad out in the programme. I was told Syd would be back soon, he was just in the back, “thinking”. When he did come back, having no doubt taken the last drag of his hand-rolled thought-torpedo, he was in a very good mood and he took a quarter-page ad. A few years later I saw him play live for the first time at the Winston Hotel. He and Kenny Henson were playing in the Churchill Bar and after one set I was hooked. I immediately bought his album Waiting for the Heave. Alongside James Phillips and the Cherryfaced Lurchers I think this album was the most important and era-defining album to come out of eighties South Africa. When images of the fucked-up eighties flash through my mind, the soundtrack is by The Lurchers and Syd. So I’ve been a fan for a long time ...
Fast forward to 2006 and I’ve written this crazy play, Johnny Boskak is Feeling Funny, all in rhyme (for some god-forsaken reason), and I know something is missing. It needs music and Syd and I start talking. He comes to see the show and one week later there it is – he’s written the music. And it’s all perfect. Syd won’t be playing with me anymore, but his music will. It was an honour to share a stage with the man in theatres from Durban to Edinburgh (even if getting through customs was sometimes a worry in case he was carrying thought muti). The last thing Syd said to me was a line from the play: "I'm following a star and looking for Jesus, following a star ’til the engine seizes."
Goodbye, Captain Skyd, you old skebenga ... it was a jol.
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