First of all, before I even start to write this piece, I want to make it clear that this is not so much a "spoof" piece as a personal and very heartfelt condemnation of a household name. Everything in this piece is written as a tribute of a sort to a fine musician who battled alcoholism and later throat cancer and who died only last Friday at the age of 71.
Bass player Jet Harris was a founder member of Sir (?) Cliff Richard's original backing group "The Drifters" way back in the 1960's, and it was his suggestion that was adopted when the band changed their name to "Cliff Richard and the Shadows". I was just a schoolboy in those far-off days with dreams of my own of having a similar band. In fact a group of us in school formed a band very like Cliff and the Shadows and we even did a couple of gigs in Bristol youth clubs as well as playing at school dances. I covered much of Hank Marvin's lead guitar work myself but never took it far enough to be a professional musician partly due to mental health and emotional issues which have adversely affected the whole course of my life.
Towards the end of his life, Jet Harris suffered from throat cancer, which is well known to be an alcohol-related condition, but when a close friend of his wrote to Sir (?) Cliff asking if he could do anything to help with the specialist treatment Jet required all she got back was a highly impersonal reply saying Sir (?) Cliff was "sorry to hear about Jet" and suggesting that she should "contact the Macmillan Cancer people". It wasn't even signed by the man himself but by someone in his office. Well excuse me, but whatever happened to the "born-again Christian and humanitarian?" Where was the compassion when it was so sorely needed?
When Jet died, Sir Cliff issued a statement praising his former bandmate. It said: "Jet was exactly what the Shadows and I needed - a backbone holding our sound together. Jet, the bass player, will always be an integral part of British rock 'n' roll history. Losing him is sad - but the great memories will stay with me. Rock on, Jet." WTF..... "ROCK ON, JET?!" Just how trite and shallow is that after a former band-mate finally loses his long battle with cancer? And why couldn't you have done the decent thing and dipped into your own very nicely lined pocket to help the poor guy in his hour of need? How do you live with yourself, Cliff? Would it have been so hard to break away from your vanity mirror, from your lifelong love affair with yourself, just long enough to respond as a true Christian - just this once? Or would that have been a bridge too far for a man of your overweening IMPORTANCE and AMBITION?
Well at least I, for one, know exactly how to respond to this callous indifference from a household name who is no doubt a multi-millionaire. So here's to you, Sir (?) Cliff, in your luxury mansion in Barbados, you narcissistic, hypocritical, heartless, self-regarding, egotistical sonofabitch. I'm going to take my 45rpm singles of "Move It" and "Living Doll" and I'm going to attack them with a Stanley knife before I burn them. And may you rot in splendid isolation if you ever get a terminal illness yourself, although no doubt you will easily be able to afford the very best treatment money can buy while you end your days in private care, attended hand-and-foot by people who will never know that they are caring for a louse in human disguise.