Colin Golding

Bass guitar



The first casualty of age is, apparently, the inability to remember dates. At some point in the sixties I left the Presidents, and Tony Busson took over as the bass player.

Apart from the Presidents, I had been filling-in as a stand-in bass player with the Rolling Stones (No, honest!). The Stones, at that time, comprised Mick, Keith, Brian Jones, a drummer called Tony Chapman, pianist Ian Stewart and, from time to time, me. We were lucky if the audiences got into double figures. I also played with some of Glyn Johns' scratch bands that he cobbled together to do posh Kingswood parties which also included Ian Stewart and Jimmy Page, wearing his father's dinner suit. Well, they were posh parties! Check this link for a list of gigs I played with The Stones.

All this mixing with sixties rock icons made me realise that I wasn't really good enough and that I had better get a proper job, especially as marriage to Di was approaching fast. The last of the great London fogs made the decision for me, when my beloved Fender Jazz Bass and Vox amplifier were nicked from the back of Ian Stewart's VW, outside Mick and Keith's infamous Edith Grove flat.

Thanks to Phil Cunliffe, I got a job as a design assistant at Intra Design, designing motel interiors for the Rank Organisation, which, effectively, kick-started the rest of my life.

Intra Design collapsed in 1966, or thereabouts, and I freelanced for a time until I joined GCB, a firm of architects in Belgravia. I stayed there for five years, became a partner and worked on retail and leisure projects in Cyprus, Italy and France, as well as half the shops in the then swinging Kings Road.

I left GCB to set up my own practice, working from home, which, in retrospect, shows how trusting my wife was. Di and I were married in 1963, our daughter, Karen, was born in 1969, and I was going freelance again! For some years, I worked with David Hicks, on a variety of country houses including Gatcombe Park, for the then newlywed Princess Anne, and for the late Earl Mountbatten of Burma - an amazing insight into another world!

Our son James was born in 1974, so we needed my studio for a bedroom and Di kicked me out. I found a seedy office in Covent Garden (it wasn't trendy, then and you could still park), and got the job of designing Trocadero, in Piccadilly, doing research in the U.S. and Canada, all which started my fascination for shopping malls and I have specialised in them ever since.

In 1984, I merged my little company with IDG, a Design Group from Toronto, and we designed many of the new shopping malls in Britain, including Metro Centre Gateshead, which was the largest until Bluewater came along

I'm still doing it, although I left IDG in 1990. I have a small studio at home and a practice in Holland, with my partner, Hans van Dongen, and four staff. I still travel a lot, with projects in Holland, Spain, Colombia and Barbados. Di and I are still happily married which is an achievement in itself in these times. Karen married Mark in 1999, and they live quite close. They presented us with Will, our first grandchild, on Mayday 2000, and he's gorgeous. James took a degree in engineering at Kingston, and is now a process improvement manager at Land Rover in Solihull, very happy, doing really well and selling me cars at every opportunity. No sign of him settling down, yet, though... too many wild oats about. We still live in Cheam, in the same house for thirty years, but have had a love affair with Greece most of that time. We found our little piece of heaven on the island of Paxos, bought a hovel there and for years worked toward making it habitable for our retirement. (We're both learning Greek, and I even tried to master the bouzouki!) For the first time in my life I wasn't building something for somebody else to enjoy, and I'm looking forward to it.

Then... there I was, cruising along toward my free bus pass when things went tits up! In April 2002, I managed to turn sharp left out of the outside lane of the M25 at 85mph, roll my Land Rover three times, and get the second helicopter ride of my life, all without remembering any of it. I broke lots of things, spent the next eight weeks in various hospitals and the following six months recovering. I ended up with a right hand that didn’t work too well, but in all honesty, I shouldn’t really be here at all. Never knock the NHS- they did me proud, and God bless the Kent Air Ambulance!

In October 2005, I had an operation on my right hand, to transfer tendons and muscles, which will allow me to use the hand again, I hope. I’m left handed, so it hasn’t caused too many problems, except for playing guitar, and tying shoelaces. Di and I finally finished our little house in Paxos in 2005, and we really love it there. We’re in a little village, full of eccentric Greeks, none of whom speak English. None of them appear to have grown up, either, which suits us!

Since the accident, I just work for one developer client, on projects in Spain, which is perfect - it allows us to spend a lot of time in Greece, and the regular trips to Spain at someone else’s expense aren’t bad, either!

Di's dad died in 1980, after a long battle with Alzheimer's, and my mother passed away peacefully in 2001, so she missed my accident, thankfully. She wasn’t really ill, but at 93, I think she’d just had enough. Karen added to the hooligan count with Tom, in 2003, but James is still single, much to his mum’s disgust. Di’s mum is still going strong, at 95, despite several little scares, and is still fiercely independent, living alone, but close to both her daughters.

C.G. 2005