God, just when you thought Margate's fortunes couldn't get any worse, it bloody well does. Chas & Dave have split up. Never mind all that nonsense about founding member Keisha Buchanan leaving the Sugababes, or Noel Gallagher walking out of Oasis after a spat with Liam. Oh no, the biggest musical tragedy in my eyes is that Chas & Dave will no longer be performing as a duo after Dave has sadly decided to quit performing music altogether.
The BBC News have reported today that after Dave Peacock's wife's death from lung cancer recently, he has decided to give up gigging for good, and the poor old bloke is quite evidently heartbroken. “Understandably Dave has taken his loss very badly,” said Chas Hodges, on the Daily Telegraph website. “He hasn't the heart to continue gigging and with regret he has decided to retire from the music business.”
This obviously comes after Chas recently performed solo at the Winter Gardens for a gig originally earmarked for the duo. In this show, Chas respected the unfortunate loss of his friend's wife, as well as honouring the fans who had already bought tickets for the event by simply carrying on regardless. Now, in an age where some musicians would've just cancelled without any regard for their fans, this in itself is admirable.
Obviously, my heart goes out to Dave. It must be hard to be married to someone you love for so long and then have to cope with the grief of their absence, so I totally understand his reasons for quitting. But I'm also remarkably saddened by the news of Chas & Dave's split on another level. There is nobody else in the history of post-war popular culture who has put Margate on the map as much as Chas & Dave have, so this news should be regarded as an enormous loss to our little town.
I mean, come on, we lost Dreamland, we lost our blue flag, our high street's gone down the tubes, but at least Chas & Dave still made a space in their diary to play at the Margate Winter Gardens on a regular basis; performing all their hits, regaling us with their amusing anecdotes and professing their nostalgic appreciation for Margate's glory days.
Now, some will say I'm overreacting: Chas, after all, will still continue performing in some capacity, but it just won't be the same without Dave. Despite everything Margate's been through, I always felt that the odd performance by Chas & Dave somehow made things better; a solemn reminder to everyone that not all of the remnants of Margate's past had withered on the vine and died off, but now, it seems, the final nail in Margate's coffin has truly been hammered in. The last grape has dropped off, and now all that's left is a bunch of rotten twigs. Let's just hope we can make them blossom again, eh?
And yes, I'm aware that Chas & Dave's shelf-life as chart-toppers expired long ago, but that's besides the point really: my main point is that Margate has arguably lost our greatest ambassadors, and that deeply saddens me, that's all. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the YouTube video I've posted above, and feel free to share any memories of Chas & Dave you may or may not have.