Wild Hare Club Blog

Alastair Shaw - Big Al slips away

Alastair Shaw - Big Al slips away

A week ago Big Al was felled by a heart attack. I, like many others, will miss his warm-hearted company and he has loomed large in my thoughts this past seven days.

While not a regular attendee at Wild Hare Club events, Alastair helped quite a bit over the years, not least by always being happy to take a bundle of flyers and posters and distribute them around Hay and beyond. Whenever he did roll up, I knew immediately that the night would be all the better for both his company and an ever-helping hand. One birthday he presented me with a rope bag filled with heavy duty builders’ clips – incredibly helpful for putting up drapes and banners – and now an essential piece of kit. A life of putting on events, meant that he spotted things that needed doing and addressed them without a fuss.

I am trying to remember when and where I first met Alastair and can’t pin it down exactly, strange for someone so striking but it was a long time ago - close on 40 years I reckon. Alastair was a friend of my sister, Gilly and her other half, Dave, and a regular

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Campfire Convention - sparks ignite!

Campfire Convention - sparks ignite!

To me a summer doesn’t seem quite right without having spent at least one long weekend under canvas at a festival with one night when you stay up until dawn, talking to someone you’ve only just met round the campfire.  However, the big festivals have lost their charm for me and it’s always the small and new events that the magic happens. I am particularly thinking back to the first Elephant Fayres held in Port Elliot where everybody contributed to the merriment in some way or another.  At the most memorable of my Elephant Fayres, we had a small food stall from which we sold a number of delicious foodstuffs including orange and cardamom ice cream.  Unfortunately, the generators went down and all the ice cream began to melt. Rather than have it go to waste, I was giving cones away, one of which h I handed to the poet Heathcote Williams.  In exchange he gave me a copy of his Elephant Newspaper which was later adapted for his book ‘Sacred Elephant’.  But I digress, for you, it’s probably somewhere else.

It was good news then, when, not so long ago, I heard murmurings of the Campfire Convention that

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