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THERAPEUTIC-COMMUNITIES  August 2008

THERAPEUTIC-COMMUNITIES August 2008

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Subject:

Mini-celebration 4

From:

Craig Fees <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Therapeutic Communities <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 22 Aug 2008 22:09:14 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (85 lines)

[The Planned Environment Therapy Trust Archive and Study Centre is the 
only archive/museum/research library devoted to therapeutic community. 
In 2009 it will celebrate its 20th birthday. This is the fourth in a 
series of mini-celebrations from the Archive blog, leading up to the 
anniversary]

Mini-celebration 4. Objects and the transformation of meaning through 
the Internet


Many years ago, pre-Internet, I closed down a therapeutic community for 
children - I went in after it closed down to pick up its archives - and 
among the things left behind to be thrown away was a well-used bass 
drum, with a taped-up hole in one drum-head, and the name of a band I'd 
never heard of on the other. There's a certain magic to objects which 
have words on them, which I find attractive; and as I could see my own 
children's noise-making years coming up over the horizon, and as it 
looked sound enough to stand up to the wild abandon of childhood but old 
and cast-off enough not to matter if it didn't, I took it home.

Last weekend I came across it while clearing out a shed. It had been put 
away, and had weathered the anticipated rough-house of multiple 
childhoods entirely unscathed, through careful storage and parental 
forgetting; and though a neighbouring blanket and a box of rag tag 
children's books had both been partially recycled by mice, the drum 
itself was whole, untouched, and clean. Nevertheless, it was only saved 
from a black bin bag by the fascination of words, and the power of the 
Internet.

As search terms, "Charlie Galbraith" and "Barry Howton" together don't 
throw up any hits on the Internet. "Charlie Galbraith" throws up a 
well-known British trombonist and band-leader, who formed his first band 
in 1950. According to the third edition of the Rough Guide to Jazz, his 
"All Stars" ran from 1960-1962. "Barry Howton" throws up the drummer on 
Alexis Korner's 1964 "Red Hot in Alex" album - "Whether by design or by 
default, frequent changes to personnel were always a major element of 
the Blues Incorporated modus operandi which was certainly in overdrive 
during the months leading up to the "Red Hot From Alex" sessions. 
Shortly before they took place, Alexis completely changed his rhythm 
section  the "engine room" of any band  by enlisting the services of 
Danny Thompson on string bass and Barry Howton on drums to replace 
Vernon Bown and Ronnie Dunn..."

Alexis Korner was "the 'father' of British blues", in the words of David 
Kennard's 2001 article, "Alexis Korner's Therapeutic Community and the 
Birth of British Blues" in the journal Therapeutic Communities 22:1, pp. 
19-27. Korner himself had lived for two years in Finchden Manor, the 
pioneering therapeutic community for boys created by George Lyward, and 
Kennard says that in the early 1960s "Korner created around himself 
something which I want to suggest was a kind of therapeutic community 
for musicians, comprising his band with its frequent changes of 
personnel...and the family flat in Bayswater..."

So, assuming it is authentic, my throw-away drum is no longer just a 
drum. Currently safe in the Archive and Study Centre, it has been 
transformed by the power of the Internet from a simple object used by 
disturbed children at play in a therapeutic community which is now gone, 
into a unique archival record of an otherwise unattested association of 
Barry Howton with Charlie Galbraith and his band: - A missing piece of 
British musical history, at the very least. But more than that, it is a 
suggestive bridge. What is the connection of this unassuming, battered 
drum to the torn down school? How did the bass drum of someone who later 
became a member for a time of the therapeutic community of young 
musicians which surrounded Alexis Korner - how did that drum wind up in 
another therapeutic community, for children? And how was that connection 
forgotten?

[blog entry with photo of the drum: http://news.pettarchiv.org.uk/blog ]

Craig

-- 
Dr. Craig Fees, RMSA
Archivist
Planned Environment Therapy Trust Archive and Study Centre
Hon. Director, Institute for the History and Work of Therapeutic Environments (a research and study centre of the University of Birmingham)
Church Lane
Toddington near Cheltenham
Glos. GL54 5DQ
United Kingdom

01242 620125
http://www.pettarchiv.org.uk

Keep up to date with Archive News, Events and Recent Accessions: The Archive and study Centre blog at http://news.pettarchiv.org.uk/

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