The Railway Arms, West Drayton

Ordinary little pub near the station. This was the place where all the local "hippies" went. No, hippy is the wrong word; perhaps "weekend hippy"? No even that doesn't really describe us. I guess we all shared a love of progressive music and tended to wear our hair long (and anyone who suggests that we also shared a fondness for mind altering "substances" should keep their thoughts to themselves). We used to congregate in one bar and the older locals in the other. Generally we all got along.

Looking back I find it very disconcerting that:

  1. I drank such odd drinks, Guinness and cider or maybe cider and keg(bitter); and
  2. I drank so much; and
  3. I would drive afterwards
The local Hell's Angels would also drink there occasionally. The landlord was Alec, a very tolerant and patient guy; I guess he had to be. Not that we were ever any trouble. There was a function room out the back and occasionally there would be jam sessions arranged. We did have one famous "rock" star from West Drayton - Kim Gardner of Ashton, Gardner & Dyke (and don't say "Who?")

    Paul Grantham
    I guess Paul was my best friend from my late teens to early 20's. He was introduced to me by Steve. Paul had married at 16,was already a dad, and was a bloody good guitarist. I still remember our first meeting in a pub. We immediately hit it off and rabbitted on all evening about our favourite guitarists. After that I seemed to spend more and more time with Paul and less time with Steve. It was Paul who introduced me to the Railway Arms. Paul and I jammed a lot, either at his place or in the hall at the back of the pub. We formed a band with Neil on bass and (Oh no another name I can't remember) on drums. The drum kit was often left set-up in Paul's house so when it was just Paul and me I'd often take the opportunity to play the drums (or bass). Never got that good but I was good enough. We never actually played any gigs, I think we were happy to do it just for fun. Paul also wrote songs and unlike Viv's (see here to remind yourself) Paul's were original.

    I would also contend that the "Wally" chants st festivals in the early seventies were all Paul's fault. He had this friend whose real name I cannot remember but everyone called him Wally. The story goes that when Wally and Paul were at Weeley (I was also there but not with them) they got separated and when Paul tried to find him he wandered around shouting "WALLY" which was taken up by the crowd. Weeley was in 1971 so unless there is any documented evidence of it any earlier, my mate Paul is to blame!

    Although Paul and I didn't see each other at Weeley we did bunmp into each other at the previous year's Isle of Wight festival. You know the one, there were 600,000 of us there. I mean, what are the odds against bumping into someone you know? Must be a million to one (and yes folks, that's a sort of joke. I actually did study statistics). I had gone there at the beginning of the week and I had a ticket. Paul and a couple of others only came down for the weekend and were up on desolation hill. On the morning of the final day (was that a Sunday or a Bank Holiday Monday? Sorry, I don't know and I am typing this in a cottage on the west coast of Scotland, without access to the internet, so cannot look it up. I'll leyt you do that. It'll give you something useful to do) I was just leaving the toilets (a large hole in the ground with planks over it. The planks having bum-size holes cut into them) when I almost literally bumped into Paul. I collected my things (probably a sleeping bag) and joined him up on the hill. Had a bowl of rice and slept through Jimi Hendrix's set. Having heard it recently I didn't miss much!

    As to where Paul is now? I have no idea, but would love to see him again.

    Tony ?
    I first saw Tony on the platform at West Drayton railway station. Like me he was going to Farx in Southall - a function room behind a pub that had some great bands playing there. Perhaps one day I'll get around to posting something about Farx.
    Back to Tony, we eventually became friends and hung around a lot. I recall that we went to the first Reading festival and wandered around dragging a piece of string saying things like "Come on Rover". If anyone pointed out that there was no dog we'd go "Oh no! We've lost him." Well we found it funny. His father was involved with the spiritualist church and we would have these "meetings" with famous mediums. Interesting but it did nothing for me.
    Cannot remember his real name but can almost picture him. Loved Jethro Tull so learnt the flute. Beyond that, nowt. Despite him being one of the crowd.
    Jane Sparkes
    Only a very hazy memory but Jane was one of the very few female regulars. I do recall that she was one of the croud that went to see A Clockwork Orange in the West End.
    Cheryl Keen
    The other female regular. She lived in the road behind me and we could wave to each other from our bedroom windows.
    A local Hell's Angel who was a regular. Actually a really nice guy, we often played darts and poker. I usually lost.
    Andy Clayton
    Not quite sure how Andy fitted in as he was in the Army. Paul wrote a song for him, the first line being:

    "So you want to be a soldier boy"

    I have a feeling that Andy played bass.

    Gary Spoard
    Was in the army with, and a friend of, Andy. In later years Sarah and I worked with his sister at Xerox.

Other pages you can visit, assuming you can stand the excitement:

  • Me - back to the "all about me" page.

  • Macaulay Primary School - stuff about Macaulay, obviously! And to encourage you, there are more photos of places and names of people. Bet you can't wait!!!

  • Archbishop Tenison's - can you guess what this is? Correct! Well done. But did you know that it also contains a link where I talk about something I did for the first time? Definitely worth a click.

  • Greenway School - I didn't go there but my friends did and it's where I played my first gig

  • Work - the curse of the drinking classes Oscar Wilde. A brief wiz through one or two of my early jobs. Well, why not? I had to endure them so why shouldn't you???

  • Photos - Currently a few of me from the early 70s

  • Home - Back up to the main home page.