Cur­tain call for Cow­boy

Auckland City Harbour News - - SITUATIONS VACANT - HUGH COLLINS

Af­ter 46 years the ‘‘Sing­ing Cow­boy’’ plans to hang up his gui­tar.

Sixty-eight-year-old Jock Hume has been per­form­ing coun­try and western songs with his acous­tic gui­tar on the streets of Auck­land since busk­ing was first per­mit­ted in the 1980s.

Since 1997 he has com­monly been seen per­form­ing at the Mt Roskill shops. But now he plans to re­tire.

The Mt Roskill res­i­dent says the last few years have been much slower for busk­ing and feels he’s best to quit while he’s still in good health.

‘‘I’ve found things have changed so much in this coun­try, there’s not the em­pha­sis now on western things there used to be.

‘‘In the 70s and early 80s the west was on TV, there were sec­ond-hand western shops around … my type of thing was in such big de­mand then.’’

Western mu­sic first grabbed Hume as a child when he would lis­ten to the chil­dren’s re­quest ses­sion on One ZB, a pop­u­lar sta­tion at the time.

The orig­i­nal sign­ing cow­boys Gene Autry and Roy Rogers would in­spire him, he says.

‘‘When I was 8 or 9 I learned my first cow­boy song, it was ac­tu­ally the first cow­boy song ever writ­ten [on pa­per], The Streets of Laredo. I played it at the school con­cert, Taka­puna Gram­mar 1961.’’

Nine years later he be­came the Sing­ing Cow­boy, mak­ing a liv­ing by per­form­ing at var­i­ous func­tions and events.

‘‘In 1970 there was no such thing as busk­ing ... you’d just about be ar­rested.’’

But in the 1980s laws changed, some­thing he de­scribes as a ’’god­send’’.

‘‘I wouldn’t have sur­vived oth­er­wise.’’

A laugh­able mem­ory of his ca­reer is the time an in­tox­i­cated per­son told him to get a proper job. A more en­cour­ag­ing one on the other hand was when a child came and hugged him.

‘‘This nice lit­tle fel­low, he and his mum were lis­ten­ing to me over at Mil­ford shops on the North Shore, he came up and gave me a hug … it just blew me away.’’

Hume says he now plans to use his time pur­su­ing other in­ter­ests. ’’I prob­a­bly will miss it for a while but with all those other in­ter­ests I won’t be bored. If peo­ple re­ally want me for some­thing next, they can chase me, not the other way round.’’

Hume of­fi­cially plans to fin­ish per­form­ing in Fe­bru­ary next year.

HUGH COLLINS / FAIRFAX NZ

Jock Hume is hang­ing up his gui­tar af­ter 46 years as the Sing­ing Cow­boy.

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