Sophia Deboick heads to Canvey Island to embark on the annual walk in memory of the band’s late frontman and take in the new exhibition of Dr Feelgood paraphernalia
Canvey has gained a certain prestige in the wake of Oil City Confidential, Julien Temple’s paean to native pub rockers, Dr Feelgood. The film was as much about this below-sea level outpost in the Thames Estuary as the band itself, sparking a wave of class tourism to this place with some of the most deprived areas in the country. But those who gathered at the weather-boarded, 17th-century Lobster Smack pub on the morning of Friday 10 May were no such casual visitors. This was the annual Lee Brilleaux Memorial Walk, held on the birthday of the Dr Feelgood frontman who died of cancer in 1994, aged 41.
This year the two-hour walk along the seafront to Canvey Heights, where Brilleaux’s ashes were scattered, was followed by a visit to a newly-launched exhibition on the band, sited on Canvey itself. Behind both events is Chris Fenwick, the band’s manager, Brilleaux’s childhood friend and our tour guide. Over 80 fans of a certain vintage – all jeans, leather and patch-covered cut-off denim jackets – trooped up the grassy bank to the sea wall, to view the backdrop to the cover shot of the Feelgoods’ 1975 debut, Down By The Jetty, and to begin our journey…
Photo: Chalkie Davies