Martin Cowtan



A very brief summary of my life after The Presidents:

We stopped playing in about 1965 (or was it 1967?). I'm not too certain now exactly why we stopped. I do know that we stopped rehearsing and learning new songs which left us endlessly repeating the same old stuff. It was also to the same old audiences and I don't know how they put up with it. I guess we lost motivation and ran out of steam.

Anyway, that was the end of show business for me and I carried on with the day job as a quantity surveyor (what do you mean, "what's that?").

In 1972, I decided to get out of the rut and went to Sydney, Australia. Had a great time there, working for a while then having a few months off and hitting the road. I managed to work my way all round Australia over about 2½ years and ended up back in Sydney. New Zealand is not far away, so I thought I'd better check it out whilst I was in that part of the world.

It turned out to be not a bad place either. In fact, I ended up staying there for about 8 years. It was always my intention to return to Australia but I never got round to it for quite a while.

During this time I made several trips back to UK, mainly to see my parents. I spent most of the time [in New Zealand] in Wellington, a very attractive small city with a great social scene. Unfortunately, it's got the most awful climate and is reckoned to be the world's most windy city (a distinction also claimed by Chicago, I believe). Anyway, we (I'd "settled down" somewhat by this time) were sitting at home one night listening to the horizontal rain beating against the windows and decided to move to a warmer place. Sue and I had both lived in Australia and we wrote away to several different places for jobs.

We ended up arriving in Perth in 1984. I had lived here for 6 months in 1975 and had often thought it would be a good place to return to. So here we are and pretty settled. It's a bit off the edge but communications have largely fixed that.

I was still pretending to be a quantity surveyor when we arrived here (successfully hiding my real role as a guitar hero) but now call myself a Contracts Engineer. Instead of buildings I'm now involved in engineering projects like mines, process plants, off-shore oil and gas. I'm currently with the West Australian Water Corporation, which provides water supply and waste water disposal services to an area about half the size of Europe (but with only 1.5 million people!).

My partner, Sue, and I eventually got married here in Perth. We don't have any kids but Sue has a daughter from a previous life who now has a son of her own. That makes me a step grandparent. She lives in Sydney so we don't see them too often although they did all come over at Christmas last year.

I didn’t carry on playing after the band break-up, until many years later. On one of my trips back to UK, my old guitar was found in my brother’s loft. It was severely battered and appeared to have been used as an offensive weapon by my nephews. I took it back to Australia, replaced a few bits and pieces to get it working and got back into playing.

I had always kept in touch with Eddie Patterson over the years and then Robin Mayhew made contact when he was creating this website.

We have met several times since then and we now have an ongoing collaboration over the internet where we add tracks to a theme (usually initiated by Robin) to build up to a finished song. A very rewarding hobby and now that I’ve retired, I intend to spend more time on it.

My address is:
86B Millcrest Street
WA 6019

M.C. 2008