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GONZO WEEKLY #93: Jon meets Jaki Windmill

I first met Jaki Windmill in the spring of last year.  My nephew Dave Braund-Phillips and I went up to Brighton to see, interview, and film the legendary Mick Farren in what turned out to be one of his final shows.  As we all know, sadly, he passed away a few months later.  Because of his rapidly failing health Mick didn’t turn up at the venue until very shortly before he was up on stage, and so David’s and my well thought out plans of interviewing him before the concert came to naught.

But as a happy result we had more time to spend getting to know the other members of the band.  As these included two of the original members of The Pink Fairies, we spent a long time happily interviewing them, but it was Jaki, sitting quietly in the corner nursing a pint of lager with whom I became most friendly.  It turns out that we have many interests in common within the Fortean world and both that evening, and on several occasions since, both in person and on the telephone, Jaki and I have happily chatted about all sorts of esoteric subjects.

Since our first meeting, and as a direct result of the untimely death of dear Mick Farren (and it may seem strange to you that I am describing the one time enfant terrible of the underground as a ‘dear’ but the notorious anarchist was one of the dearest and sweetest men I have ever met) the latest stage of the Jaki Windmill story has taken place.

The Deviants could never have continued without Mick Farren, so the remaining members did exactly what they had done after kicking Mick out of the band first time around back in 1970, and reformed as The Pink Fairies.  Except that on this occasion they have a female member – Jaki Windmill.

I was just about to write that this was the first time that this band had ever had a female member but then, proving (as if any proof were needed) that the universe is far more complicated and peculiar than we believe, I ran across this piece of interesting information from Wikipedia:

“Farren had, however, previously discussed the idea of a solo album for the second LP of three on the Transatlantic contract (after The Deviants 3), with the third LP to be an album by the other band members, potentially also featuring drummer Russell Hunter's girlfriend Jenny Ashworth as frontwoman - an idea with which the three sidemen had been toying around the time of the contract signing.”

I include this snippet only because it’s one of those little pieces of musical minutiae that keeps an old rock and roll archaeologist like me happy. It also turns out, for those of you interested in such things, that Jenny Ashworth appeared on the 1968 Deviants album ‘Disposable’.  And that at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 at which The Pink Fairies appeared, “Friend's arrive & start amazing festival bulletin which eventually led Miss Jennifer Ashworth, friend of percussionist B.R. Hunter, to the police tent to recover 'Sunshine', her pet poopsy-woopsy apple-dumpling & red-setter puppy.”

But I am deviating wildly from the main path of what I am supposed to be writing about.  So let’s get back to the matter in hand, which is a pre-amble to my interview with Jaki Windmill rather than a complicated diatribe about everyone without a y chromosome that ever played with the Deviants/Pink Fairies family.

Jaki is also an author, with a children’s book called Fairy and Foul of St. Ives.

It is always a pleasure to talk to Jaki and so it was with great pleasure that I rang her up at lunchtime on Friday just as she was preparing to record this week’s episode of ‘Sub Reality Sandwich’ for Gonzo Web Radio.





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