In the music industry, the busier we became the less we saw of other players and tended to become insulated within our own little circles. So when Peter Power turned up for the Oriana gig with Renee Geyer, although I knew the name, I was surprised and delighted by his energetic and competent guitar playing.
Coming up in music through R and R exposed young musicians to some nasty drugs, so if a pot habit was the limit of its legacy, you were lucky. It is a fallacy that marijuana helps musicians play better and there is no way Warren Daly would tolerate a drug taker. So Peter never let on he liked a smoke and I was not aware of it until Fiji.
Craig Kerchner, our piano player and I were wandering around Suva when we heard a kerfuffle and saw Peter, red faced and angry clutching a brown paper bag, yelling and pointing up the street. His Cockney accented spluttering was almost intelligible but we got the essentials.
He had been asking among the local likely lads where he could buy some pot. Of course where there is a need there is a merchant, so a young Indian told him to wait, disappeared and reappeared within minutes to exchange a bulging brown paper bag for Peter’s ten dollars. Then, not waiting for Peter to examine the merchandise, he headed off at a brisk walk.
Peter’s cry of anger coincided with the appearance of a navy blue beskirted constable, who took in the tableau and sprinted after the alleged thief yelling for the lad to stop. We arrived in time to be treated to a Road Runner replay as pursued and pursuer disappeared into the distance.
Peter was still carrying on so we looked into the bag. Our amusement did not assuage his anger and neither did our insistence that he come with us, taking an arm each and hurrying him away.
Ten dollars might be too much to pay for a few old banana skins, but we judged it an appropriate penalty for attempting to procure a prohibited drug.