Friday 5 March 2010

The Fergus Hall Tarot

Right after we met it was clear that Steve and I had a lot in common. At this time in my life I still believed in coincidences! We were in a cab, driving through Central Park on one of those impossibly crisp, cold and clear days that make winter worthwhile, when Steve started to talk enthusiastically about his ideas for his first solo album. He talked a mile a minute about all these musical ideas and the concept album he wanted to make. He was interested in all things spiritual but his passion seemed to be the tarot. I listened and was fascinated to find out that it certainly was no coincidence why I identified so much with the band. At one point he showed me this tarot pack. I reached in my bag and showed him the same cards. Wow! There they were - the famous tarot pack that had been used in the Bond movie “To Live and Let Die”. They were painted by the artist Fergus Hall and were incredibly whimsical. I had received mine a couple of weeks before at an event for Fairport Convention.

I was staying with my cousin Danny during this week that Genesis were in town.  Steve had called me the next day to invite me for another performance they were doing. He had yet to encounter the mighty Jo Durden-Smith …! He was, after all, my mentor. Jo was definitely a bit protective. He was this great tall bear of a man, with an equally large and commanding voice. Steve called and Jo answered. Both Englishmen abroad. Steve asked to talk to me. Very mischievously Jo decided to interrogate this shy and tentative man. This is Steve, Steve of Genesis … after a longish pause Jo replied “Sooo I am Jo of the Apocalypse!” Said with a loud and booming voice. A longish pause again - and a roar of laughter. “I’ll go and get her.” By the time I came to the phone Steve was almost speechless. Unfortunately Jo died a few years ago and is much missed by all who knew him.

After those dreamy and slightly unreal days in New York the next time we would meet was in my family’s home in Petropolis, Brasil, for the Xmas holidays.