Award winning Wimborne town crier Chris Brown is a familiar sight around the Dorset market town but now he’s something of a fixture on the pop festival circuit too.For Chris, 47, Dorset champion crier and ranked 13th in Europe, has been adopted by self-styled Texan psychedelic visionaries The Polyphonic Spree and so far this summer has appeared on stage in full regalia at Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading Chris, who is also Wimborne’s town “serjant” was signed up after being introduced to the colourfully be-robed Americans while doing volunteer work on the festival circuitThe Polyphonics and their charismatic leader Tim DeLaughter loved the idea of having their own real English town crier. Chris was introduced, they hit it off and the next thing he knew the lavishly bearded crier was strutting his stuff on stage at Glastonbury and hanging out in VIP enclosures with bands like Supergrass and Elbow. Reading and Leeds followed. For Chris it’s something of a dream come true.
“It’s absolutely brilliant,” he told me. “They’re lovely people. I used to be a bit of a hippy and this is right up my street”. He admits that back in the 1970s he also had a hankering to be a serious biker. His North Dominator 650 SS was the envy of the local motorcycle gangs. “They loved looking at my bike but I used to wear crushed velvet jackets and I don’t think they could really deal with that. Anyway I could never have been a Hells Angel or whatever. I hate aggression and I’m vegetarian so biting the head off a live chicken would be quite out of the question.”
Chris, who has done voluntary security work at Glastonbury for a number of years has the dubious distinction of once trying to ban Bob Dylan from his own dressing room. “I was told that no one but Dylan was allowed in so when this strange looking bloke turned up and knocked on the door I told him to go away. He fixed me with this really weird stare and just said ‘You don’t know who I am do you?’ “I said:’ I haven’t got a clue mate, but no one but Bob Dylan comes in here.’ Then he just stared at me again and I noticed that he had this, like eight-foot security man with him. I thought: ‘Oh yeah, I know who you are?'”
Chris, who was recently made redundant from his job as a complaints officer with The Chilren’s Society, has also recorded an introduction for a new CD with the band Timespanners and next month will appear at a gig in Sixpenny Handley with long-time Dorset music scene favourites Pronghorn.
Although he says his foray on the festival circuit has earned him virtually nothing he hopes that his future career may now lie in the music business.
Jeremy Miles – Daily Echo (Friday July 23rd 2004)