A brief outline of what
I've been up to these last 35 years:
When the Presidents "folded" in summer 1965, it dawned on me that
my other career at County Hall, Kingston, was going nowhere. I
applied for, and got, the job as an assistant in the Weights & Measures
Office at Epsom, starting there in Dec 65.
At the same time I was doing a few gigs with 'The End', backing
Billie Davis. They asked me to go to Spain but I turned it down
- a decision I always will regret.
In December 1966, I was a passenger in my mate's Mini Cooper S,
which he managed to roll over into a ditch. I ended up with a broken
collarbone and 13 rib fractures.
I qualified as an Inspector of Weights & Measures
(they call us Trading Standards Officers these days) in 1968,
went to work for Croydon Borough for a while and came back to
Surrey in 1970, where I've been ever since. I'll have done 40
years in local government in September this year, so could retire
at any time.
For the past 10 - 12 years I've been in the Food Team, and act
as the contact for all Surrey-based food companies on all matters
relating to the composition and labelling of food. (Birds Eye Walls,
Dairy Crest, Del Monte, McVitie's, Kerry Foods, Allied Bakeries
etc., plus numerous smaller importers/ manufacturers). At the moment
there's no-one with sufficient knowledge and experience to take
over from me, so if I do retire, it's possible they may ask me
back part-time, which would suit me down to the ground.
In 1974 I got married to Wendy who already had a daughter by her
first marriage. Zoe is now 27, married to Darren, a builder, and
expecting their first child early June. They live in Ottershaw,
a couple of miles away. My son, Steven, was born in '75.(He always
was, and still is, a big lad) He's now Ramp Supervisor for Air
France, at Heathrow.
After several years gradually drifting
apart, Wendy and I separated in '97, and the divorce was made
absolute in May '99. I have to say I am quite content. The divorce
settlement didn't exactly leave me wealthy but I am "comfortable". I had to go into hospital last
July for cellulitis - an infection under the skin - one leg swelled
up like a balloon. The doctor said a few days on intravenous antibiotics
should soon sort it but it was the best part of 3 weeks before
I was allowed out, by which time I was almost weaned off fags.
I've been "smoke-free" since, though I still get
the urge from time to time. I've put on a little weight since then,
but I'm still nowhere near obese - about 12 st. 7lb. (you can't
convert old dogs like me to metric, even though it's part of my
I lost my father through stomach cancer
in 1989. My mother's now 94, somewhat fragile but still "hanging on by her fingertips".
I can't say that I'm much of a fan of today's
music scene, though the odd record does occasionally sound OK.
Tom Jones's "Mama Told
Me Not to Come" is alright but it's a straight rip-off from 3 Dog
Night. I still like the early days of Motown and Funk, as well
as Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Billy Ocean,and in particular, Huey
Lewis. But I also enjoy 1950s modern jazz (Chico Hamilton, Gerry
Mulligan, Chet Baker, Charlie Parker etc.) as well as Chris Barber
(whether in his Trad style or blues band).
I drive a Vauxhall Calibra these days - it's quite fast enough
for me. I'm still an impatient and intolerant driver and my bad
language has not improved over the years.
Robin asked us to update our biographies and
it doesn’t seem possible that I wrote all my first over 8
years ago. The granddaughter I was then expecting will be 9 in
June 09, and her sister will be 5 in May. Charlotte (Lola) and
Madison (Maddie) are the loves of my life!! Two little angels who
swim like fishes (pic attached of them 2 years ago).
When you read the “family tree” in
the Band Biography you don’t get the full picture of the
relationships between the various band members. I met Martin
at school and we started up a band in the late 50s, and we’ve
stayed mates all these years. Even earlier than that, I lived
two doors away from Keith Sutton (who went on to become the bass
player for Del Grant & The Roamers - a band that Martin played
with for a while). It was through Keith that I met Colin Golding.
Colin and I also had a mutual interest in cycling and he was
influential in widening my musical interests.
Obviously, you then get to know quite well the
players in each other’s bands.
In 1960-62, I was playing with The Classics but
took over from Phil as drummer for the Presidents after he broke
his wrist. Those with long memories might also remember me filling
in on rhythm guitar at Bermondsey on one occasion!
I sort-of retired in April 2001 but did a further
4 years working part-time - which was a lovely way to let go
gradually rather than come to a complete stop. Over the years
I’ve mastered most DIY skills to a reasonable degree, including
plumbing and electrics. I’m often called upon to repair
the grandkids’ toys or make them hedgehog houses, which
I’m happy to do, as I have a good selection of power tools
including a table saw. I’ve also helped son-in-law Darren
from time to time, on some of his building projects.
After many years of complaining that she shouldn’t
be here, my mother eventually got her wish and died in July 2001,
at the ripe old age of 95. My son, Steven, married in 2003 but
there’s no sign yet of any further grandchildren.
Healthwise I’ve been fairly lucky although
the 12 stone 7 lb which I mentioned previously is a distant memory
- I‘ve put on more than a few pounds since then! But at
least I’m still not smoking. In late
2004 I was diagnosed with testicular cancer but the removal of
one has completely sorted the problem. No after-effects and no
chemotherapy was required, thank goodness.
The comments I made previously about my bad language
still hold good, unfortunately, although I am slightly less impatient
and intolerant when driving. After the Calibra came a BMW 3 series
but for the past 4 years I’ve been driving a Jeep Cherokee
(2.8 litre diesel automatic) and I wouldn’t swap it for
anything. There’s many a time I feel like the “Grumpy
Old Men” in that TV programme - one of the things that
really bugs me are people who cannot clap in time or, if they
do, they clap on the on-beat. (Perhaps that’s a common
problem for ex-drummers)
Some of the band members may remember my mate,
Robin (Bill) Bean, who worked with me at County Hall and used
to accompany me to some of our gigs. Bill and I were more like
brothers than just mates. He emigrated to New Zealand in 1966
and we’ve kept in touch ever since. I also regularly visited
his Mum in Tolworth, Surrey. He’s been back over a couple
of times and we’re still like two daft kids when we’re
together. In early 2006 I went to visit him in NZ and stayed
about a month. What a fabulous country!
||My visit to Billy
Bean and his wife in New Zealand in 2006.
Left: With my granddaughters Lola and Maddie.
Right: With my "little boy" Steve. Oct.06
I also took the opportunity to fly over to see
a cousin in Australia who, coincidentally, lives in Patterson
Lakes outside Melbourne. Sadly Bill’s Mum died in late
2006 and he had to fly back for the funeral. I’m hoping
to go out to NZ again soon.
April 2006 was the occasion of Rob’s 40th
wedding anniversary and it was so nice to meet up again with
some old faces (and I do mean old). I’d not seen Colin
for many years but his wife Diane didn’t seem to have aged
at all, ditto Rob’s wife, Mardy.
Whenever Martin comes over from Australia we
meet up and visit Rob & Mardy. Sometimes Arch and
Buss also attend, to complete the reunion, the last being
in September 08, when we had the opportunity and pleasure of
hearing Buss playing with Simply Shadows.
Rob has been beavering away and somehow managed
to get Candy man played on Radio 2’s “Sounds of the
60s” on 08/11/08, when Brian Matthew related the sorry
tale about Decca handing the song to Brian Poole. His comment, “...No
doubt the Presidents must feel aggrieved about what might have
happened to them…..had they not been shabbily treated
by someone unspecified at Decca”, sums up what most of
us have thought over the years. But what a treat to hear it actually
played on the radio - an amazing experience!!
|Another happy reunion on Ed's 70th birthday bash in the Cricketers Public House in Rowtown, Addlestone, giving the other Presidents a chance to meet the family and reminisce .
I’m still single, still living in Addlestone,
and still enjoy listening to my favourite music - usually at
volume! If anyone wants to get in touch, send
me an email.
E.P. Apr 2012