My amazing website designer (and new BFF) Lisa Hayden-Miller said, “Wow! You should be 180 years old with all the things you’ve done!”
I think I kinda scared her as my biog was 8 pages long and growing fast…
One thing for it. I asked my one-time collaborator and old mate, the very clever, witty and talented (yada yada yada) Mark Blanchard, for urgent help. So he says, “Use interesting titbits as little sign posts; we don’t need to know all the ins and outs. This isn’t an autobiography, it’s an introduction. Make it sound like a wonderfully fortuitous series of happenings.”
Well, that’s exactly what I decided to do.
Thank you all for the fabulous ride, but it’s not over yet!
Click on Photo Album to view some photos which relate to some of the stories below.
1967 14½. New York. That summer Patty at Bing- Po-Ne-Mah camp. Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Coney Island of the Mind. BIG influences. Mum died. 1968. Sent to English boarding school: St. George’s, Ascot. Cold bedrooms. Good friends. Hunger. Put on Broadway shows. A day at John Lennon’s Tittenhurst Park with Hare Krishna. Piano lessons: Guildhall School of Music. 1970 LTCL Trinity College of Music. London. Nick Glennie-Smith was a contemporary. Left after 2 terms.
1971 HMV Records. Classical Dept. Volunteer at Contact. Visited a monastery in Wareside. Stunning grounds. Perfect for staging a ‘rock’ concert. How? I needed help. Uncle Ed (NYC) Conversaphone Records knew Nat Joseph (London) Transatlantic Records. I called Nat from Oxford Circus tube (phones inside stations!) Gave me Derek Taylor’s number at WEA New Oxford St. Called Derek. “Come right over!” Met the magical Mr. Taylor in his massive office. Also there, Alice Cooper and Brian Wilson. Strange, but true! So Derek says “I don’t organise concerts, but I know a couple of guys who do”. He called Mike Alfandary and Harvey Goldsmith. I went to their tiny office in NW3. We organised a concert. Humble Pie. No funding. No concert. Derek then got me my first job and my first boss! John Velasco at EH Morris, plugging Dorothy Squires (!) records at Radio 1. This is where I met the lovely Billy Livsey, a future co-writer. Derek Taylor always had time to give me advice or just have a chat. A unique and amazing man. Great times at Tiddy Dols. The Hard Rock. ‘The Speak,’ with Deep Purple and Medicine Head.
1973 Radio 1 DJ Alan Black produced my first demos. WEA Promotions. An entire floor upstairs covered in free T shirts, LPs. Tongue and Lips Stones’ necklaces! PR for Caravan at TKA.
1974 Music journo pal Paul Weir got me a gig playing piano & singing b/vox with A&M band, Esperanto. Glenn Shorrock, lead vocals. UK tour. Magma as support. 26 guys. And me. Oh, and Magma ate rice and onions at the back of the bus. CBS Records A & R Admin. Salon Films. Wrote some music for Commedia dell’arte director Maria Santovani.
1976 Music Editor Music Sales. Omnibus Press. Lovely Pearce Marchbank and ‘Miles’. Very groovy. Pianist at men’s club, The Burlington. 1977-1980 ‘Vertical Hold’: Jacksons Lane (with David Norrell) Recorded tracks for the amazing singer/ songwriter Casey Synge (Gringo,Thunderthighs) More office jobs. CBS (again) A&R Dept. There when The Sex Pistols went from company to company getting signed/unsigned. Crazy. Met my wonderful hubby, Jeremy Ensor, A & R man there. More jobs: Bronze Records. Anakarta. William Morris. Wizard. Michael White. Atlantic Records. Media buyer for Henry Thacker. Henry’s friend was looking for someone to write a song for Cocoribe radio campaign. I got it. Thank you! That was my LAST office job. Hooray! Towerbell later released I Should Coco (Nuts To You), based on the ad.
More TV/Radio ads. Lovely Sue Oakley (Masius) Great money. Great fun. Then did my singer songwriter thing. Producers: Steve Levine. Jon Eden. Bugatti and Musker. Brill and Langridge. Publishers. Lucien Grainge. Andrew Lauder. Stuart Slater, Stewart Newton.
1981 CTS Recording with writer/producer Ted Carfrae. I walked in on a hero, Henry Mancini. Lovely chat at the piano. Light blue cashmere sweater (sigh).
1982 Top Of The Pops Towerbell comrades Chas & Dave had a hit single with Spurs. I was the cockerel. (Thanks, guys) But Paul & Linda McCartney were there. I made Paul sign my Tottenham rosette. NOT a happy bunny.
Staff writer. Warner Chappell. Billy Livsey. Jimbeau Hinson. Richard Niles. Mark Damron. Graham Lyle. Jon and Sally Tiven. Mark Griffiths. Sean Byrne. Scott English. Jan Ince. Peter Oxendale..more. Time to mention the fabulous Tessa Niles – superb singer and special friend, who sang gorgeous vocals for me on my songs.films.ads.TV shows. Thank you!
1987 Quit smoking. But failed to persuade my neighbour Simon Gray (the playwright). Then…THE BEST THING EVER. Two wondrous children, Josie and Charlie.
More Volunteering: Prison Visitor for 3 years Holloway Prison. And Babies In Prison. Childline. Harrowing. Heartbreaking. Life changing.
1996 Animation Films The brilliant Penelope Middelboe and Martin Lamb (Right Angle) and Chris Grace (S4C). Christmas Films. Varga Films. Dave Edwards. THE best animators on the planet. Blessed.
Musicals. Plays. More Theatre Music for Richard Bean’s first play ‘Of Rats and Men.’ Joined MMD. My first musical, The Demon Headmaster toured the UK. Huge thanks to my superb lawyer John Cohen (Clintons). Mark Warman, my amazing Musical Director. The extraordinary Janie Dee, Sarah Travis, clever orchestrator and special friend. George Stiles. Neil Marcus. Thank you. Eric Angus, composer colleague, terrific listener and dear friend. And, Sir Alan Ayckbourn, who has written me lovely cards of support from the start.
2007: Was commisioned to compose the ID music for the launch of the Guardian Weekly podcast.
2013 and 2014 Sir Alan will be directing our musical adaptation of his play ‘The Boy Who Fell into A Book’. With Eric Angus and Paul James. Can’t wait.
I’ve worked with the best. I have been very lucky.