BURY ST EDMUNDS, SUFFOLK – Last weekend saw the 35th annual ‘Suffolk Guitar Hero’ competition, bringing together hundreds of the finest and shittest guitarists in the county.
By Ian Bred, Norfolk Correspondent
Coachloads of unkempt Suffolk-born guitar virtuosos gathered at the Apex venue on Charter Square St to compare axes, drone on about Led Zeppelin, and determine once and for all who is the greatest guitarist in the region.
This year’s final showdown saw the iconic music of Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton collide as Jan Weetabix, a devoted Hendrix fan, faced off against Derek Clacton, a worshipper of the legendary guitar ‘God’. The stakes were high as they embarked on a play-off that would test their heavy-mettle like never before.
Top of the Pops
The play-off took a progressive twist, challenging the guitarists to finger the most difficult and finger-twisting chords imaginable. The crowd yelped and whistled as the two unemployed dreamers tackled audacious creations like the elusive B7b13, the enigmatic F#maj7#5, and the bewildering G#7#5. These were the kind of chords that could make even a seasoned guitarist break a wrist, let alone a sweat – but the two wannabe rockin’ riffers could not be separated.
In a three-hour rock-off that saw fingers bleed and strings bend beyond the blues, it became apparent that both contenders possessed incredible guitaring skills – fingering their fretboards more speedily than Jimmy Saville on a visit to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the 1970s. Weetabix and Clacton left the audience mesmerized, each striving to outdo the other in an epic duel of dexterity, distortion, and wailing feedback.
Tears in heaven
Ultimately though, it was not their fingers but a raging fiery inferno that decided the winner. As the competition neared its blazing finale, Jimi Weetabix, in a moment of mishap, accidentally set fire to opponent Clacton’s beloved Fender Stratocaster as he attempted to emulate his hero’s famous torching of his Strat at the Astoria Theatre in London in 1967.
The crowd watched in disbelief as the flames erupting forth from a tin of lighter fuel engulfed the iconic guitar. Judges immediately declared Weetabix disqualified and Derek Clacton the winner, with the remaining half of his beloved guitar still smoldering in his hands. Asked how he felt about his victory, he replied simply, “I’m in Heaven” as he wiped a tear from his sooty eye.
And so, the 35th annual ‘Suffolk Guitar Hero’ competition came to a fiery, if not entirely melodious, conclusion. Derek Clacton’s flaming victory crowned him undisputed guitar hero of Suffolk, demonstrating that in the world of rock, it’s not about the chords you play but the sparks you create when you rock the stage hard.