There are many curious characters who make up the fabric of the night life in Courtenay Place. You're likely to come across them at least every weekend and usually in the wee small hours. Some are more sociable that others, but all have their quirks. There's the infamous Blanket Man who is quick to abuse anyone who crosses his path, the guy who gets off a bus outside the Star Mart and asks for $2, the 'superstitious' guitarist, who plays Stevie Wonder's Superstition almost continuously outside the National Bank ... and then there was Kenny.
'Kenny', little known by his real name, John Adams, died of a brain tumour on 6 June. He was street performer with many strings to his entertaining bow, least of which was his musical ability, yet that is what he will most likely be remembered for. That, and his ongoing petitions to the Wellington City Council, appealing to Noise Control to have his impounded amp back. Yes, apparently the residents of Courtenay Place were not all Kenny fans.
|Kenny petitions the WCC|
to get his impounded amp back
Word has it that in the early days, when asked to play The Gambler, he claimed to not know it, yet is what he is most commonly associated with. Whether he ever actually learned to play the song is questionable, but it quickly became part of a very limited repertoire for Kenny.
As a young musician, I think I was most offended by the terrible sound quality emanating from his microphone, which was gaffer taped inside his leather jacket and hooked up to a crummy 40W amp. His guitar wasn't much better. The fact that he barely knew how to play it was simply par for the course. And, yet, he had crowd-pulling power.
There was no sendoff for Kenny, although locals have called for a tribute. Kenny finally 'broke even' and is hopefully now entertaining the crowds in sky - if he ever managed to get his old amp back, that is. ;-)
One last time for 'Kenny':
Image source: http://static2.stuff.co.nz/1308564060/947/5168947.jpg
Used without permission