"Bernard" is our roadie; an invisible and moving force without whom nothing would take place within the organisation of Crazy Rhythm. We would not arrive anywhere, and we would not leave anywhere. Equipment would not be set in place, nor would it be dismantled for further travels.
"Bernard" however, is not all that he seems, for he is not human. This is not to suggest that he is some sort of mechanoid or artificial intelligence that has been constructed by NASA or the European Space Agency. For although "Bernard" is entirely made of flesh and blood, it has become apparent that he is not of this planet at all. "Bernard" is not the E.T. of the movies, for when he takes bodily form he is as undetectable as the average school- teacher.
Our suspicions were first aroused by his constant need to phone home. (In fact for most of his waking hours his mind is elsewhere, no doubt dwelling on, and longing for his native soil). It was during a visit to Taunton in Somerset that these un-nerving suspicions were transformed into the frightening reality that "Bernard" is completely devoid of human emotion. The incident in question is burned indelibly in our memories, because a few moments before we had just undergone that rare musical experience of being solvent enough as to actually be able to deposit money into our respective "holes in the wall". Having completed this arduous and debilitating task and re-emerged into the sunshine, we felt compelled to stop and rest for a moment, just in time to observe an extremely elegant young lady step out on to the crossing and walk towards us. Our quiet attention to detail was somewhat disturbed when "Bernard" announced, "I've never seen one of those for a long time."
"What?" we replied (in perfect harmony). "A Riley Elf with a thirteen hundred engine!" exclaimed "Bernard". We looked, and she was gone.
Another worrying trait that we noticed quite early on in our working relationship with "Bernard" was his almost paranoid avoidance of motorways. I am not normally a superstitious person, nor do I dwell on the stuff of legend in any serious manner, but because of his firm belief that motorways were only safe to drive at night, I had to consider the idea that motorways were to "Bernard" the equivalent of garlic to the vampire, and no matter how ridiculous the notion, "Bernard" might be an alien version of the "undead". This notion was compounded by the fact whenever we stopped for refreshment, or indeed to pursue cultural activities, he spent the whole of the day asleep in the back of the van without ever eating or venturing out into the sunlight. During the course of the following weeks the members of Crazy Rhythm took every opportunity to deliberate over this puzzling state of affairs. Mostly, (for reasons of personal safety), we retreated to historic ale houses, because we had noticed another area of strangeness in what we thought at the time was a personification of deathly evil. Of course we were completely wrong, and once the matter had been discussed at length it was decided (quite sensibly I think), that in fact the reason "Bernard" took us on so many obscure routes was because he was engaged in a secret geological survey of the Earth. We had missed the obvious fact that it is easier to map out "B" roads during the day and to survey motorways at night when, in Bernard's opinion, they are quieter and generally free of the scum and vermin that usually inhabit them at other times.
At the time of writing, Her Majesty's Government, and indeed its Loyal Opposition have ignored all our warnings and pleas to form a select committee to look into the "B" files. So it is left to us (Crazy Rhythm), to advise anyone brave or foolish enough to take up the quest to find the truth to be extremely cautious. I (the compiler of these notes), have been visited by "Men in Black". Fortunately they were employed by the TV Licensing Authorities and are easily fooled. (Lawyers for Crazy Rhythm would like to state that those members of the group who own a television are in possession of a current license and any vilifying comments to the contrary will be dealt with under the law of, "see you in court, pal").
You will learn more of "Bernard" in due course, but for the moment I must leave off, for now he rises…
(Check this page regularly for more "Travels With Bernard")