Thank you to Steve (@EducatedLeftFt) who has a mutual interest in everything F&M for bringing this up when he visited Leyton Orient the other day.

While he was there he took a pic of this gold disc in the Orient club house. The label beneath says:

“Presented to ORIENT FC for their part in the success of ‘Variations'”

Steve told me that it was a gold disc from the noted cellist Julian Lloyd Webber for a album he recorded with his brother, Andrew.

This still doesn’t answer the question as to why this disc was given to Leyton Orient football club.

Julian – a well known Orient supporter, and Andrew, who also became a supporter because of his brother were very close, but their different careers (a rock musical composer and a classical cellist) meant that a collaboration was never going to probably happen.

But then Julian, sitting with his brother watching the 1976/77 season unfolding, made a bet with Andrew about the last game. At the end of that season Leyton Orient needed to draw with Hull City to avoid relegation. Andrew didn’t think that it would happen. Julian said that if they at least get a draw Andrew would have to write a piece for him to play. The bet was made and… the Orient survived.

The result of this wager first appeared at a summer arts festival staged by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The piece performed was Variations – a theme based on Paganini’s 24th caprice with added 23 variations for cello and rock band. The rock band assembled for this live rendition included Gary Moore on guitar, Rod Argent on keyboards and of course Julian Lloyd Webber.

It was subsequently rearranged and recorded in the following year (1978) and the album version had additional musicians such as Herbie Flowers on bass and Phil Collins on drums. Nice to have an address book with these names in it.

If you watched The South Bank Show on a Sunday night back in the day you’ll recognise the music from about 1 min 15 seconds.

In 1998 in the event for Andrew Lloyd Webber (The Royal Albert Hall Celebration) – Julian got another run out: