Stephanie Thorburn, who has provided us with many more reports in the past, had been invited to the Bunbury’s Birthday Party by David English and also promised GSI to write a full report about this special event. Thanks Stephanie, for your wonderful contribution and thanks Keith Curtis for the lovely photos.
Marion / GSI
Story credits: Stephanie Thorburn
Photo credits: Keith Curtis
(material used on the GSI web site with permission)
Thursday 10th May had been an unknown quantity in my diary for many weeks prior to the day itself. David English’s seemingly boundless contacts book would generally result in only a certain proportion of those called up to serve the greater cause of ‘Captain Bunbury’ actually able to attend. However, on arriving at the Grosvenor Hotel for the Bunbury’s 21st the guests gathering in reception included many conspicuously familiar faces from the worlds of popular music, comedy and cricket. This was destined to be an unprecedented evening of entertainment!
With my VIP golden ticket I entered the champagne reception area where, without exception, a full turnout of David English’s friends and companions were starting to congregate to celebrate the Bunbury’s legacy. This beginning proved to be very fruitful for me as I noticed Bill Wyman standing behind David, with his sparring partner from the distinguished Rhythm Kings band, Terry Taylor not far away.
The M.C. for the night was Rory Bremner, who was complemented by the intellectual wit of Stephen Fry, both of whom greatly enriched the occasion with their perceptive rhetoric and satire. A central focus for the guests proved to be the Bunbury’s charity auction, which included some unique lots. A guitar used by Robin Gibb and signed by both Robin and Barry raised some £10,000, with ‘A Studio Day With Robin Gibb’ receiving a great deal of attention too. The highest bidder gave £30,000 for the opportunity of a day in the studio with Robin Gibb to experience the art of music writing and producing. Another unique contribution was the auction of a ‘slowhand’ original guitar, a black Stratocaster used by Eric Clapton that sold for £35,000.
There were a variety of speeches and testimonials on the theme of David English’s extraordinary Bunburys, including one very special message sent by Barry from Miami, which provided both a warm and emotional contribution. David English’s own speech was highly fruitful, containing some considered reflections on his career and the history of RSO from the early 70’s. He recounted that the music of the likes of Eric Clapton, The Bee Gees and Stones had in effect offered us a ‘soundtrack for our own lives’, and he declared it an ‘honour’ to have been a part of the Gibb family over the years. Particular tribute was paid to the absent Bee Gees, both Andy and Maurice who are no longer with us today. This touching speech formed a fitting pre-cursor to Robin Gibb’s concert. It was by now almost the witching hour as a very special ‘Bee Gees’ band took to the stage.
Robin performing at the party
Robin and David English enjoying themselves
Fireball Management and all who contributed so generously to this marvellous occasion!