A Childhood In Royal Leamington Spa
I never intended or thought I would be an entrepreneur coming from such humble and working class beginnings!
I grew up in a a prosperous town in England called Royal Leamington Spa in Warwickshire to working class parents! My dad Gerry and mum June in the mid 60’s. Leamington is a Spa town surrounded by beautiful countryside and connected via the river Avon to the historic towns of Warwick and Shakespeare’s birthplace Stratford Upon Avon. Kind of landed on my feet being born here! Although it was pretty much full of posh gits, at least it wasn’t Coventry! now that would have been tough.
I was the 3rd of 4 children, Â Brothers David & Robert and younger sister Julie, plus the dog, Buster and the cat, Inky. I went to a normal working class school in a normal working class neighbourhood and was surrounded by a network of kids just like me. Yep, pretty normal existence for a kid in a Warwickshire town in the 1960’s.
Not wanting to sound like a Monty Python sketch but we were happy in them days, most people were! People got on with their neighbours, never had to lock the door and the kids could play outside til sunset without the worry of a catholic priest hiding behind a hedge. We played in the dirt, on building sites and had fights with the kids from the middle-class estate of Whitnash!
We always won off course! I remember the Crab-Apple Wars very well! A crab-apple is a very small, non-edible variety of apple but they made superb ammunition for flinging off the end of a sharpened fishing pole. Yeah, I had a pretty good childhood! There were the odd trips to the hospital for stitches because of some mishap or another and there was the odd neighbour banging on the door because we’d been scrumping from his back garden but apart from that, it was pretty much a fabulous time.
Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savoured. EARL NIGHTINGALE
My dad Gerry was the hardest working man that I have ever know! Up to his death a few years ago, at the ripe old age of 81, he was still working when he had a sudden heart attack and died on the spot.
He kept it simple did my dad, straight down the line, worked hard and enjoyed life! Never one for getting the blues or the black dog. I think that was his Royal Marines tours of duty during his time in the Korean war that enshrined these virtues into his constitution.
What made him especially inspiring for me is that my mum and dad got divorced when I was just 7 years old with my mum leaving 4 kids behind for my dad to look after. Divorce was still taboo in the 70’s and this was difficult for us, specially at school where even the teachers treated my older brother and me like shite.
Tough as it was in them days, there was unity in the community that bound all us young tearaways together! There was no internet, smart phones, or Playstation’s. In fact we only had 3 channels on the TV and that was all in black and white! A pain in the arse when watching the snooker. We did have a remote control though albeit, it was a long stick.
I didn’t like school at all! It seemed like a waste of time and I have no regrets about leaving at 16! I started drumming at the age of 12 and by the time I was 14 was playing in working mens clubs and having to take days off to go into the local recording studio, Woodbine Street Recording Studio in Leamington Spa! This would play a big part in my early drumming career!
Woodbine Street Recording Studio was where The Specials recorded their number 1 single Ghost Town and the studio The varukers, who I was to join at 16 just having left school would rehearse every Saturday.
I auditioned for the Varukers at Bath Place, Gary Malone was the previous drummer and a friend from the same part of town and school! He joined the legendary band Discharge leaving the position of drummer for the Varukers open! I wasn’t a punk at the time! I had lank hair and a leather jacket with Black Sabbath on the back but getting the gig changed all that for me!
Within 2 weeks of joining, I had my first gig in Stoke On Trent at the Hanley Vine. I had spiked hair, a leather jacket with metal conical studs all over it and a pair of 18 hole Doc Martens! Pretty much the uniform of an early 80’s hardcore punk.
A Social Entrepreneur
OK, I know punk rockers are not supposed to harbour capitalist principles! However, there are different types of capitalists in the world and with the tech revolution, there is there are internet entrepreneurs who tend to steer toward making money via SaaS (software as a service) websites, app development and so forth. I have met many entrepreneurs who are from punk rock and musician backgrounds and we are what you would call social entrepreneurs! Usually with green and socialist credentials, who believe in enabling people and strive for a better world. Not saying I don’t like to make money but I do want to make the world a better place because of it.