Keith Moon, the drummer? Yes, I met him once.
He topped the bill at Rag Week in our town,
and played those drums with infinite panache,
a crazy angel with his sticks on fire,
but that was at rehearsals, early on,
and only slightly drunk, his beat precise.
I interviewed him in his dressing room
for next day’s local paper, with his mate,
Viv Stanshall of the Bonzo Doo Dah Band.
They made a double act of it, half lies,
half fantasies, and all of it made up.
I said I’d come back later. When I’d gone,
they must have settled down to drink all day.
That night when I returned to see the show,
I watched him from the wings. He dropped his sticks,
fell off his stool, and finally lurched out
to catcalls from the students out in front.
And yet that morning he had made the drums
fill all the theatre with a blaze of sound
beyond imagination. Now they’re gone,
both he and Viv, the pair of them are dead.
Not long ago, in Brighton, on a wall,
I saw in letters painted two feet high,
some words which brought that whole night back to me.
Graffitied in his memory, those words
said, ‘Moon the Loon is King’. And so he was.
He had his faults, like anybody else.
Who hasn’t? But I’m glad I met him once.