The title photograph (above) shows my two young grandsons sitting on a bench at Caernarfon Castle.
Buxton Opera House, June, 2008.
Both my sons were born in Buxton and, since my elder son had never performed there, I took a few days off to join him and my younger son who had flown in from Bulgaria to mark the occasion.
This is a link to details of Lloyd's latest record.
Claim to Fame.
I wrote this blog on another forum a little over two years ago. I had been prompted to write it after reading a thread called, 'What's your claim to fame' as it appeared to me there was some confusion about what it actually meant. So far as I could see, many of the contributors seemed to imagine that having 'seen or met' a celebrity entitled them to a 'claim to fame'.
Now, I would question how on earth the act of recognising a well-known person makes the observer famous as well and I suggest that a more appropriate qualification would be to have done something worthwhile (no matter how trivial it might seem). So, for example, winning a prize for correctly doing the crossword in a local newspaper is more worthy of recognition than having been in the same place, at the same time, as a 'personality'. Perhaps, starting another thread called, 'Famous people I very nearly met or very nearly saw from a distance.' might have been a sensible alternative.
Speaking for myself, from an early age, I've been fortunate enough to have met more than my fair share of well-known people. Now, that reflects absolutely no credit on me - and certainly not enough to warrant a 'claim to fame'. Having raised the subject, however, the fact is that, if the mood hits me, I can 'name-drop' with the very best of them.
It all started shortly after WW2 when my father was manager of The Littlewood's Girls' Choir and I would go with him to recordings of BBC radio programmes - such as Variety Bandbox and Workers' Playtime. I was only seven or eight, at the time, and was made a fuss of my many of the artists (some of whom may mean nothing to today's generation - but, in those days, were household names) and I can remember Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Harry Seacombe, Michael Bentine, Morecambe & Wise, Tommy Handley, Ted Ray, Arthur Askey, Richard Murdoch, Kenneth Horne, Tommy Trinder, Eric Sykes, Ken Dodd, Sam Costa, Mike & Bernie Winters, Jack Warner, Elsie & Doris Waters, Peter Brough & Archie Andrews, Max Bygraves, Beryl Reid, Joyce Grenfell, Winifred Attwell, Rawitz & Landauer, Charlie Kunz, Anne Ziegler & Webster Booth, Petula Clarke, Julie Andrews, Billy Cotton, Mantovani, Ted Heath, Henry Hall, Joe Loss and Edmundo Ross. Although that might seem to be quite a few, I'm pretty sure there may have been more - but my memory isn't what it used to be.
Later, as a taxi driver in the late 1960s and early 70s, I had a contract with a Cheshire discotheque and met and drove several DJs from the newly formed BBC Radio 1. They included Tony Blackburn, Noel Edmonds, Dave Lee Travis, Kenny Everett, Dave Jensen, Tommy Vance, Simon Dee, Ed Stewart, Johnny Walker, David Hamilton, Paul Burnett & Emperor Rosko (who stayed at my home a couple of times). Through a similar connection with a local cabaret club, I also remember meeting or driving Donald Peers, Billy Fury, Tony Christie, Les Dawson, Bernard Manning, Frank Carson, Jim Bowen, Charlie Williams, Bill Grundy, The Hollies, and Little & Large. A little later still, I became friendly with Dave Buckle who was Alvin Stardust's drummer and I drove the group to record the 1973 Christmas edition of Top of the Pops in Abbey Road and the BBC Televison Centre. Whilst there, of those I can remember backstage, are Mud, Queen, 10CC, Wizzard, Garry Glitter, Suzie Quatro, Lynsey de Paul and the guy who sang 'Kung Fu Dancer'.
After leaving the taxi business, I became involved in golf club administration and met or played golf with Henry Cotton, Dai Rees, Harry Wheetman, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gene Sarazen, Dean Beaman, Peter Aliss, Dave Thomas, John Jacobs, Alex Hay, Henry Longhurst, Henry Carpenter, Keith Mackenzie, Michael Bonallack, Peter Dawson, Peter McEvoy, Jack Newton, Tony Jacklin, Bill Rogers, Ian Baker-Finch, Howard Clark, Bernard Gallagher, Greg Norman, Ken Brown, Bob & Sam Torrance, Sandy Lyle, Ian Woosnam, Des Smyth, Mark James, Colin Montgomery, Belle Robertson, Dennis Thatcher, Henry Cooper, Ian St. John, Billy McNeil, Jim Watts, Andy Irvine, Dougie Donnelly, Des O'Connor, Bruce Forsythe and Jimmy Tarbuck.
More recently, through my elder son's career as a pop-musician (he had a group called Lloyd Cole and The Commotions who were on 'Top of the Pops' quite often in the late 1980s) I've met the likes of Terry Wogan, Jonathon Ross, Peter Powell, Jools Holland, Paula Yates, Jenny Powell, Chris Evans and the quietly-spoken guy who used to be on 'The Old Grey Whistle Test'.
In Nov 2000, I drove Lloyd to a recording of Never Mind the Buzzcocks which featured Mark Lamarr, Phill Jupitus and Sean Hughes. By a remarkable coincidence, Alvin Stardust was on the opposing team . Probably the last opportunity I had of rubbing shoulders with the great and the good of showbiz was when The Commotions had a reunion at Hammersmith in 2004. The only name which stands out from that occasion was Jimmy Carr - not least because he and Lloyd are very similar in appearance.
Now, one might imagine that's enough name-dropping to last a lifetime and, to repeat myself, none of the aforementioned encounters contributed anything towards a 'claim to fame' so far as I'm concerned. However, there was one little experience which might be construed as a step in that direction - and that was when my father had moved on from managing the girl's choir and, still acting on Littlewood's behalf, he bought some disused cotton mills. I happened to be around at the time he was searching for a name the new company. Those who recall the days of mail-order catalogues might remember it. It was called Brian Mills.
Washington D.C., 2006.
How times have changed.
I had risen to the exalted rank of Lance-Corporal when I drove DUKWs in the South Pacific in the 1950s; but, in Washington D.C.,m the driver of this DUKW on the city tour has more blinking bars on his epaulettes than an international airline pilot. He was a nice man, though, as Larry Grayson might have said.