Musings on Song and Dance

This week I attended the funeral of a friend I’d known primarily as a DJ for over forty years. His name was Dave Hucker. I first attended his sessions at London’s Sol y Sombra on London’s Charlotte Street and then was a regular at his Villa Stefano club nights, followed by sets Upstairs at Ronnie Scotts. He was extremely knowledgable and eclectic and drew from Salsa, Zouk, Soukous, Reggae, Haitian genres amongst others. I can’t even attempt to imagine how many hours I’ve spent dancing to his music over the decades!

Dave’s love of music and vinyl records was ingeniously connoted on the visuals of his coffin:

Dave Hucker’s Coffin

It was a great honour for the London Lucumi Choir to be invited to sing at the funeral ceremony. Choir director Daniela de Armas was also a long term friend of Dave’s since the 80s. A group of singers including myself and 3 bata drummers accompanied the coffin, dressed in white, at the beginning of the ceremony. It was a beautiful and spiritual experience.

Director of the London Lucumi Choir Daniela de Armas; portrait of Dave Hucker in background

Dave had been seriously ill for some time but had carried on doing what he loved, which included doing a regular show on OSSR radio and playing at the Latin Rave System at the Notting Hill Carnival. Here he is greeting me at the 2022 carnival:

Dave Hucker at the Latin Rave Sound System, Notting Hill Carnival, 2022

There are many interweaving threads that connect me to Dave … I think they might need a complex Venn diagram! For instance one of the threads is that Dave was the DJ at the wedding party to my first husband Josh back in 1985. Josh attended the funeral with his wife Justine, formerly known as Aisha, who used to work with Dave over the years and with whom I was also good friends. That was just one example of seeing my personal history flashing before me. It’s been intense, moving and nostalgic.

The week before the funeral I was privileged to experience a wonderful evening courtesy of Dave’s wife Kim Evans. Kim had seen a Facebook post where I’d shared an article regarding Paul McCartney’s then impending photographic exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. She then very thoughtfully and generously invited me to join her at the the opening of Eyes of the Storm:

Kim Evans at the National Portrait Gallery

I was incredibly chuffed and was even more delighted to see Paul McCartney there in person. Here’s a candid shot of him at the exhibition, juxtaposed with his younger self:

Sir Paul McCartney at his exhibition opening

Paul McCartney was one of my childhood loves. Below is the contents page of my 1967 book The Lover’s Dictionary. Paul is up there in my list of pubescent crushes in the company of Manchester United’s George Best, and DJs John Peel and a misspelled Kenny Everett!

Indeed, I still have most of my old vinyl Beatles singles and EPs which as a precocious music-lover I started buying at the age of 6:

A selection of my old Beatles singles and EPs

On the way to the exhibition I had been killing some time in Leicester Square and I was struck by the questioning words on the tattoo on someone’s forearm. I later posted the image on Instagram and in another musical connection it was my friend Daniela (see above) who commented on the photo saying that it was a quote from the lyrics of one of her favourite songs, Abba’s Thank You For The Music.

So Dave, thank you for the music – for, indeed, without a song or a dance what are we?

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