Following my trip to Paris to promote my debut album, I headed home knowing that I having the task of looking over back catalogues of my music correspondence relating to Phil Collins being my next blog following 'the Downing Street years'.
Keeping records of music life is not as easy as you think, even though I have tried to keep mine pretty much catalogued. I knew where more Phil Collins correspondence was and whilst looking in one of my cupboards in my music room I noticed at the back what seemed like a hardback envelope. Managing to retrieve it after moving all the reel to reels to my utter amazement what I thought had been lost over 25 years ago when I was invited to Kingsley Hill (accompanied by the singer of my second band - Hayleys Comet) was a collection of what I consider to be extremely unique photographs of the interior and exterior of Kingsley Hill.
But much more important is the photographic group portrait I brought at auction and donated to Kingsley Hill and to its owners over 25 years ago. Let me briefly explain: during my music career I was invited in the early 90's along with H to Kingsley Hill by the owners through mutual friends and I/we found ourselves 'back in time', if you like, to a place where time seemed to have stood still. As I wandered around the house I was blown away by the atmosphere of the place so much so that I asked if I could make a second visit, which was granted. On my return I took my old camera and acoustic guitar a couple of bottles of wine and a Beatles chord book (of course!). With a view of seeing what would happen that wonderful afternoon. Half a dozen shots were taken of myself and H in the roof area were it is reported that the Beatles painted the roof room area in psychedelic colours. They certainly partied in that part of the house and photos taken of me playing the acoustic guitar and playing and singing Beatles tunes, which I believe has never been done since the Beatles sang and played themselves in the same spot!
I can not tell you how spiritually and musically amazing that felt as a musician (I even wore my stage jacket when I went there) and the smile of childhood innocence shows clearly on my face of pure joy. Further photos were taken downstairs in the kitchen, lounge area and dinning room (by the fireplace) as well as the outside.
After leaving Kingsley Hill something bothered me, knowing that so much history happened in that house there was no mention of Brian Epstein on view, this made me feel sad- I felt a bit deflated weeks after that second visit; Brian Epstein, the Beatles, the parties in the country retreat of the man who made the Beatles, nothing seemed to denote his presence (nowadays probably a blue plaque - now there’s a thought!?). Anyway, a month or more passed until I saw visiting London was the trocadero auction of Beatles memorabilia I telephoned for a catalogue, which was duly sent to me, and after carefully deliberating what to buy when the sale came I successfully bid over the telephone and aquired the portrait.
I returned to Kingsley Hill and presented this group portrait to the owners as a momento and donation to Brian Epsteins legacy, so it could be hung where ever they choose it to be. I had a couple of photos taken with it, the first being in the lounge area - where behind me it is plain to see the original sound booth, which Brian had especially built in a similar style, which was originally in his NEMS record shop/store in Liverpool. I believe this booth features in the book of 'Linda McCartneys photos'.
One can only imagine the parties held at Kingsley Hill. The second photo shown above is in the dining area.
The portrait shown now hangs in pride of place in Kingsley Hill. Shown below is the letter thanking me for the portrait.
All-in-all, did the Beatles paint the loft room? - why not, they partied enough there and you will see a photograph of a handmade solitary Beetle (in metal) attached to a beam in the loft room - did a Beatle make that? It will and always will be a magically mystery tour house.
I could not finish without mentioning that I often spoke with Fred Lennon (John Lennon's father). He would often talk fondly of his son John to me. At the tender age of eleven I remember him briefly chatting about his life at sea and I told him of my dad being a POW. Fred was always very friendly to me and he lived in a little village just outside Brighton which is were I still live today.
Ringo Star was married to Maureen - the honeymoon was in Hove and I was the only kid on the block to have a half hour with Ringo at their honeymoon house in the gardens. Ringo spoke a lot about his new dog Tiger and during our chat I clearly remember saying to him 'what’s it like to be a Beatle?' his reply was: "You don’t get any peace", my reply was "but, you've got fame and fortune haven't you" and he really laughed and I could extend my long conversation, but I don’t think Ringo and I would ever forget that moment in time and I know that if Ringo was asked even today he would remember that chat in the garden.
Pease note all photographs and images are the solo copyright of BW and not to be reproduced without the owners consent