Back in the 80’s a young lad watched a One Man Band busking on a northern English street. Spellbound by what he was hearing and seeing, that young lad bought the One Man Band's cassette tape for 5 quid, stuck it in his Walkman and went home with The Blues rattling around his head. Fast forward to 2016 and that music is still rattling around his head and that tape is still proudly in his music collection.
That young lad was David Thorpe, New Zealand’s (Christchurch) very own multi tasking One Man Band Li’l Chuck The One Man Skiffle Machine. His inspiration was One Man Band Rob Gray- The Little Big Band, Manchester's legendary busker and performer who has played support to everybody from Dr. Feelgood to Donovan, John Martyn to John Cooper Clarke, Wilko to Nico. He was also the only act to busk the hacienda nightclub queue, picking up the obscure Factory Records 207 number on the way (Google it!).
In the years following that fateful day, David bought a guitar and a harmonica, figured out how to sing and became a professional ‘one man band’ who performs at all manor of events, festivals and gigs around the country.
In about 2012, David decided to do a quick Google search to see if he could find The Little Big Band and it didn’t take long before he got a possible email address. In short he wrote... "were you the one man band guy that used to busk in Manchester? - If so, I am a one man band in New Zealand doing the same kind of stuff and was inspired by you way back in the 80’s”. Encouragingly, he got a reply and bingo it was Rob!
Over the past couple of years, Rob and David have been in regular contact. The two officially met for the first time in 2014 when David was on a trip to the UK. At that meeting they discussed the possibility of doing a gig together one day.
Last week, that gig happened at The Bakers Vaults in the town of Stockport near Manchester, England. “It’s only taken over a quarter of a century to pull this gig off” says David. “We managed to sort most of it out online, I flew over and we played a double bill for the first time. It feels like the circle has been completed.”