Well, 2016 has certainly begun as a year of enormous change, life altering changes both professionally & personally. I have officially launched my new company, Artistic Music Products LLC / DBA Amp Global, my new website will be online by the end of March 2017, it is a work in progress for sure.
Personally, I have experienced three significant losses literally within days of each other, first, I lost my dad. Within days of that, I lost my oldest school chum Archie Paton. At age 13 we set off together to Campbeltown Scotland to visit his family but also we were on a mission to track down Paul McCartney’s farm “High Park Farm“. The journey was the stuff of legend for a pair of young teenagers, car-train-bus-ferry & close to 24hrs to achieve it, when your cherished school chums start to check out of planet Earth it is a sobering reminder of your own mortality.
The 3rd loss is my main reason for writing today, this guy was a friend & fellow guitar dealer, he was a very talented musician, he was a husband & a dad to two beautiful kids, he was a son & a brother and he was an incredible friend to me, his name is Andrew Wordsworth, many simply called him “Norm” I only ever knew him as “Andy”.
This is my tribute to him & remembrance of him, I could not get to the UK for the funeral due to travel constraints, I very much regret not being there to visit his family & to say a fond farewell.
Back in 1999 I was busy getting ready to emigrate from the UK to the USA, I had many remnants from my UK business that I needed to sell quickly, out of nowhere Andy popped up, he had just opened a retail store front & needed stock, ingeniously he had chosen to name his business “Aire guitars” a superb play on words relating to the local river & of course, folks playing “air” guitars, long story short, he cleaned me out, bought everything. I had lots of Ernie Ball & D’Addario strings, he took every single set and I booked my flights, said a few farewells and set out.
This was the beginning of a wonderful friendship, Andy would call for guidance on various products, some distributors wouldn’t supply him so I supplied him direct from the USA, then came the time when he wanted to come to the USA to build his contacts & explore the business of vintage & used guitars, Andy visited me in Miami & we made the drive north with a van full of products to Spartanburg SC for the local guitar show.
The drive was a 10 hour event, we never stopped talking the entire way, having left Miami late in the day & I-95 being a parking lot we called it a day as we hit Georgia, the next morning we set out, after 2hrs driving I heard Andy laughing, he had realized that he had tucked his daughters pink & blue Disney Princess purse between the mattress & the bottom of the bed, he was using the purse to contain his entire supply of funds for the show, being able to laugh at a time like this is something that I will never forget, we placed a call to the Motel 6 back in GA ,spoke with guest services & secured the purse & then set out on what would be a 4-hour round trip, we made it & we made the show & did great business, we both learned a lot on that trip.
As we made the return drive it became apparent to me that Andy had the best sense of humor ever & he was wickedly astute into the bargain, we only stopped for gas & Starbucks & to this day I am in awe of his capacity to consume a 6-shot Latte & demonstrate zero side-effects.
We spent the rest of his visit touring Miami & Fort Lauderdale guitar dealers & Andy continued building his international contacts,We stayed in regular contact via ‘phone & he made additional visits to the US to attend other East Coast guitar shows.
Unfortunately, Andy was suffering from addiction, he had been suffering for years and of course his family were suffering along with him, I never knew this and I never saw any behavior in him that would go beyond having a social drink, he was clear & alert & always ready to go on a morning,
Ultimately, Andy lost his life to his addiction,it literally killed him,I remember seeing a post on Facebook that simply said “RIP Uncle Andy”, my heart missed a beat & I thought that this posting couldn’t possibly be true,after all, I had spoken to him just 5-days earlier.
Andy did own some very interesting guitars & they are currently on their way here, Andy also seemed to be on a mission to own every guitar strap in the world!, we will have a superb selection of Levy’s/Gibson guitar straps, we have a wide selection of varied Gibson guitar spares all new & packaged, same goes for Epiphone & Schaller guitar parts, there’s an original Kramer Baretta along with two Kramer Elliot Easton Pro & an original Dan Armstrong guitar.
The goods are currently onboard the CPO Baltimore & she has just berthed in New York https://www.vesselfinder.com/?imo=9440796, watch this space.
RIP Andy, I am going to miss you very much.