At age 45, my schooldays seem a lifetime away now but the other morning a surprise meeting with an old school friend was to remind me of a lot of things to do with that period of my life and of the Hastings of the 1970’s and early 1980’s.
To fill you in a little, I finished my school days at The Grove School in Hollington (now a Collage and soon to close forever) and took my exams there in 1981 and 82. I was never much good at school really, not because I was stupid but because I was a kid and thus was more interested in being a kid than learning in those days. Considering the way my life has panned out (all my own fault!) I wish I could have changed my attitude back then, studied hard and got some decent qualifications but I didn’t. None of us realize how important that really is though at age 14 or so, do we?
Anyway, as it was I ended up leaving school with just a solitary O’ level (English) and 7 C.S.E’s (if you can still remember what they were!) and went out into the world to find myself a job. Mad about music, I was a regular visitor to Stylus Records in Castle Street and The Disc Jockey in Queens Road in particular and any money I did have went on buying records. This eventually led to me gaining my first proper job by impressing the owner of Stylus, Nelson De Souza, with my musical knowledge. Working in a record shop was my idea of heaven and Nelson and I got along very well. In fact, he must have loved the set up as most weeks I owed him the bulk of my wages for records I’d put aside for myself!
Around the same time as all of this was happening, a school friend of mine, Martin Curcher, was just beginning to make some headway towards a musical career. Unlike me, Martin was a ‘proper musician’ and played the bass guitar. He was pretty good too and had been playing with a few bands whilst at The Grove encouraged by one of the teachers, Mr. Lyons, who played in a band called ‘Hooker’. I recall seeing Martin and his then band ‘Red Velvet’ support ‘Hooker’ at a special ‘gig’ in the school assembly hall once and he seemed a natural on stage. ‘Hooker’ was great too I remember and played a stunning version of ‘Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City’ by Whitesnake (I never did get Mr. Lyons to give me a cassette of some of their stuff!).
Martin’s playing ability soon came to the attention of the now legendary (but then relatively unknown) local folk group ‘The Telham Tinkers’ who were at that time on the look–out for a new bass guitarist. Martin joined the group and helped them to finish the recording of their now highly collectable ‘Hot In Alice Springs’ album in the bargain! Not only did he get to play on a few tracks, a photo with him in the band was chosen to appear on the back of the sleeve. Already playing with another local Hastings group by the name of ‘The Architects’, Martin was out performing a good few nights a week at this point and it made him somewhat of a celebrity at school!
After school, Martin and I went our separate ways pretty much but news of his life did filter back to me off and on. Around 1983, I heard he had joined ‘alternative’ band Flowers Of The Past and that they were going to release a single entitled ‘The Fuhrer’. The single was recorded at ICC studios in Eastbourne apparently and I still remember the feeling of excitement I got the day I went into the The Disc Jockey and asked for the record by name. Seeing a 7” single featuring someone I actually knew for once slide into one of ‘Big Al’s’ record bags was a really surreal moment for me and boy did I hope one day Martin would be buying my single…
Sadly, ‘The Fuhrer’ was not a hit and ‘Flowers Of The Past’ turned out to be short-lived but being in the group did give Martin his first experience of going on tour. Having performed well at some local venues, the group was offered the chance to support ‘Vice Squad’ (who had some brief chart success) on their U.K tour. Martin remembers those days with a smile now and told me that “for a while I was living my dream, if you know what I mean”. Considering that the female lead singer of Vice Squad was called, Beki Bondage, I think it safe for us all to read into that statement what we all thought it meant in the first place if you know what I mean!
After the demise of FOTP, life for Martin seemed to settle down rather and a succession of ‘normal jobs’, a marriage and a child came along. Understandably, at this point Martin and I lost touch altogether and for some years I heard nothing of him or his life.
Then, around 2001, someone from my old school organized a school reunion and Martin and I met up again. We soon found that life had been very different for both of us since the last time we’d been together! Martin had moved about a terrific amount and done a plethora of different jobs while ‘steady eddy me’ had remained in Hastings, at home and in the same job (if I’d had one!) talk about chalk and cheese!
All went quiet again then until, around 2004, I started to tentatively embrace the idea of buying a computer and to learn about the Internet and social networking sites like Myspace, Friends Reunited and Facebook. After gaining confidence using the Internet at work and in Internet café’s (I’m never good with ‘new things’) I eventually took the plunge and bought myself a laptop. This really opened my life up and it was one of the social networking websites that I came across Martin once again.
True to form, Martin had since emigrated to Australia and was living near Brisbane! Well, nice as it was to know he was doing o.k and was happy, I thought that, bar the occasional e-mail, that would be that so to speak. You can imagine my delight then after not hearing from Martin again for some time when last week I got a surprise e mail from him to ask if we could meet up while he was over here for a couple of weeks!
What was really funny about our meeting, it turned out that both of us, in our mid-forties, have recently become active recording artists again! Martin greeted me by giving me a copy of his new ‘Equilibrium’ album (under the group name ‘Tinman’ – (also available on itunes) and I gave him my ‘In Words, In Music…Of Life, Of Death’ poetry/music cd and a copy of ‘Timeless’, my latest album of all original songs! Maybe Martin and I have a bit more in common after all!
Martin Curcher (Brother)… I just want to correct a couple of things regarding the article, Mr Lyons was our Religious Education & English teacher. He was the one who took time out a couple of lunch times a week to teach a group of people including myself how to play guitar. I learned to play right handed even though I am a lefty and was able to adapt. The correction is regarding Mr Lyons playing for Hooker, which would have been nice but as a RE teacher and the type of name the band suggests would not have been fitting. I think you are thinking of Tim White!
Regarding the vocalist Becky Bondage of Vice Squad, Her name is/was a play on her real name Rebecca Bond, there is nothing more to it than that.
As for my Brothers words: its is true and I have learned this important passage from the “You were Born Rich” Videos available on youtube by Bob Proctor which uses the principles by Napoleon Hill’s famous book, “Think and grow Rich”.
Are you in a comfort zone?
Most of us are pretty comfortable in our lives, we may have a reasonably
good income, the mortgage is paid, there’s food in the Fridge, we’ve got
a nice warm bed to sleep in and everything seems to be floating along
just fine and a person in this position would easily think – why would I
want to do anything to change this?
Well it is considered that if your life is not going in one direction, it must
be, by law moving in another direction. We are coasting along just
taking the line of least resistance, just getting by. This is a very common
and understandable attitude. We have worked hard to get here and it
may seem a great place to be.
The problem with this is: Once we stop reaching, stretching and
risking… we actually stop Growing. The comfort zone frame of mind
is settling for what we are today and that might be fine for today, but
without continued growth,
“We are now, all we are ever going to be”.
If you’re in a comfort zone beware the danger of a comfort zone is
that, it does not hurt and it might even feel good and many take that as a
good place to be, but it is not…
A comfort zone is something that is holding you back from real growth;
real accomplishment and you’re potentially exciting and rewarding
As mentioned that if we are not going one direction, we must be going in
another direction – your either CREATING or your DISINTEGRATING,
whenever you hear a person say I like it just the way it is, we know that
person is advertising their ignorance of a very basic law of life because
absolutely nothing stays the way it is, does it?