Queen of the Funkin Drums
– episode 1 –
Alice Wickham and Joanne Ruocco – New London Writers

We are glad to publish a comedy series about JJ Rock, a female drummer in the town of Twackham in London, fruit of the imagination of two friends of Planet Drum, Alice Wickham and Joanne Ruocco, who wanted to share this new adventure with the readers of Planet Drum. Don’t miss the next and last episode of this short story.

 photo by Adrian Mills

At 70 years of age, Murky Rivers was still a magnet for women. He loved his female players, and they loved him. JJ, was Murky’s favourite drummer. JJ knew her music chops. Her mother had been a professor of music at the Juilliard School in New York and she was appalled when JJ chose to become a rock drummer instead of a classical musician.

Each week, at the club, while Murky stroked those hoochy-coochy rhythms on strings, JJ hit the skins. It was electrifying the way she and Murky stoked up the Saturday night atmosphere. 

Sadly, in the summer of 2010, Murky ‘perched in his clogs’. Slap bang in the middle of, ‘don’t choke me mama’, old Murky fell from his stool, dying on stage, just as he had always predicted. For thirty years, Murky had been a feature at the Oily Pie club, not having him around anymore was unthinkable.

Murky had always been a generous musician, willing to share his knowledge with all and sundry. He even taught his infamous ‘curved lick’ to blonde-haired Bonnie, the club baby. Blonde Bonnie was an aspiring blues guitarist, but no one took her seriously, except Murky.

The Oily Pie Club felt the need to pay tribute to the man they considered a legend. On the day of his funeral, the committee decided to hold a meeting in his honour. The committee members marched from Shacklehead cemetery back to the club, where they gathered in the meeting room. With pints of beer on the table, they racked their brains to decide how to pay tribute to the great man. It was a tough one. The chairman, Reginald Fitzwilliam entered the room. As ever, he came late to the proceedings, but this time, he had a surprise announcement to make.

‘Good news, this year’s bluesfest promoter is giving us a performance slot at the Royal Alfred Hall to wish our good friend goodbye.’
A cheer went up followed by loud applause. Murky was deserving of a grand exit. As the noise died down, a voice rang out. ‘So, who will be play on the night then?’
The toxic-sounding query hung in the air. Reggie shot a glance at his questioner. Young Alfie, aka ‘Owl’ the bass player. He might have known. Alfie’s bright blue-eyed stare gave Reggie the creeps. No wonder they nicknamed him ‘Owl’. Owl was six feet tall; an imposing figure.
Reggie took his time in answering. He flicked his long hair behind his ears saying, ‘well, Owl, given my role in organising the tribute…
‘You should lead the performance,’ interjected Louise, the recently elected club Treasurer, and Reggie’s new girlfriend.
‘Which I’m willing to do, of course,’ finished Reggie.
The committee murmured in agreement, but Owl was not satisfied. ‘I say we put it to the vote. More democratic, I say.’
Reggie lifted his pint. ‘I’d love to Owl, but unfortunately, there’s no time. The booking is in two weeks.’ 

Owl dropped his gaze and frowned.
Don’t worry guys; I’ll soon let you know what the line-up will be.’ Reggie said, taking a sip of beer and casting a benevolent smile around the room.
Reggie grinned inwardly. He knew that everyone wanted the chance to perform at the RAH, for Murky’s sake, of course, not theirs.

— Don’t miss the next and last episode of this short story that will be online on monday 26th —