Port Eliot: a Spoonful of Steve Parker

Last Thursday I got up super early (about 8:30…) and took a trip through Penryn with Dick Dastardly aka Patrick Clahane to interview DJ Spoonful aka Stephen Parker aka Parker – this could get very confusing – in aid of the Port Eliot festival.

Quashing first impressions.

I’d heard he had a gold tooth and a record player in his kitchen and was expecting a grubby, vinyl hoarding middle aged man who winks at young girls and would greet me with the words ‘alright love’. Well, he did have a record player in his kitchen which was, for want of a better expression, sooo coool and he did have a gold tooth; but the gold tooth was becoming, he wasn’t grubby and he was quite the gentleman.

A family man at heart, hes’ the house wife to three daughters and within the first ten minutes of our meeting described to us the moment he met his wife, saying she was ‘completely gorgeous’. Call me a sucker, but that pretty much won me over straight away. When I envision my future (if I ever get married) husband describing  our first meeting it goes something along the lines of ‘she had a mental cackle and was so ginger it made the sockets of my eyes ache.’

Massive tangent.

DJ Spoonful turned out to be full of surprises. He’s the kind of guy you’d love to have as an uncle or grandad (though perhaps I’m biased); he has vinyl in pretty much every orifice of his house, drinks out of a Mr Men mug and most importantly owns 3 sheds – the coolest of which is his own personal music getwaway and where we filmed the interview.

He has stories to tell about that shed. We only heard a couple but they painted a clear enough picture; the shed is legendary.His outdoor nirvana is fully rigged: CD sound system, record player, vinyl on the walls, fairy lights, bottles of alcohol along a shelf and a can of snake soup as the centre piece..

He’s supposedly had 30 people in there.

So now I have a kitted out music shed to add to my library with open fire and tennis court sized kitchen to my dream home. Parker gave us a mini musical education on jazz and an insight into what the music business used to be like. It couldn’t get much cooler – could it?

Well, turns out he’s a bit of a photographer and went on tour with the Happy Mondays and took pictures for music magazines NME, Melody Maker, Sounds and Record Mirror.

He also has this incredible photo of a sidewalk in America featuring the largest lampost I’ve ever seen on his floor in the dining room. It reminded me of Lee Friedlander’s work (this is where I show off my Photography A-Level prowess). If I was rich and ballsy I would offer him a lot of money for that picture… wonder if he’s got the negative somewhere.

Although these days Spoonful works from home taking pictures for photo catalogues and professes to be too shy to become a photography lecturer – he still has an insatiable love for music and for the past few years has DJed at the Port Eliot festival – which is where Dick Dastardly and I shall be milling around filming and voxing later on this summer. Caught by the River is where you can find him, and interestingly when asked how he decides what music to play each year he said he normally bases it on the weather.

As someone who colour codes their outfits depending on how bleak or bright it is; I was strangely able to relate to this.

Spoonful also produces a radio show FreeRange Music for The Source, Falmouth’s community radio station, which he does in his kitchen with besty Mike.

Parker gave us a real taste for the Port Eliot festival and spoke of it with such enthusiasm and sentimentality I can’t help but feel excited. It was so nice to hang out with someone who’s genuinely passionate about music. The only single bad thing about our meeting was having to endure being bossed around by camera man Patrick Clahane.

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