A dyslectic young man emerged from the London school system, a little bruised and bullied, with few qualifications. He had been good with his hands but his family were not blue-collar workers! So off to an office he went – hating it.
The outstanding influence’s that saved him were playing and singing around the folk clubs of London. Exposed to the giants of the Folk scene, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn a big influence on Paul Simon, he developed the style he plays today. His lead singer was the first female vocalist with Fairport Convention, Judy Diable.
His Mum had been on the London stage before WW2. His earliest fond memories were of going to the Repertory theatres of North London. With occasional visit’s to the West End. D’Oyly Carte, Gilbert and Sullivan still ring in his ears.
The second influence was a thirst for adventure. From the age of thirteen he planned to sail around the world in a yacht.
By nineteen he had a half share in a diving tender and was salvaging wrecks.
Introduced to the theories of Positive Mental attitude early on, he planned and dreamed. Bloody Mary’s words still guide him. “You gotta have a dream to have a dream come true.”
Married at twenty-two to a New Zealander, plans were laid to sail to her home country. And in 1971 an old 40ft wooden boat was purchased. After a year of preparation the two twenty five year olds left stuffy, class conscious old England for a two year trip to NZ.
His wife had to fly home from Tahiti, as she was 7 months pregnant. After bravely sailing from Florida with child. Then he met her dad for the first time. The veteran sailor brought the boat home with him.
10 wonderful years in the land of milk and honey had brought them a second son. He had built a 19 meter wooden yacht. It was 1984 they set sail for a full circumnavigation of the world. They wanted their children to see the world first hand. Returning 5 years later complete with a new daughter adopted in South America.
Back to work, divorce, and a second partnership. Strange feelings often stifled began to become reality. The fetus that was to become Joanna Jayne was ready to burst her womb and become the focus of his life.
As Joanna I was fortunate enough to meet a group of Gurls who are now my beloved sisters. Around a small table at Kath’s home we would shed the male yoke and become princesses. In those early years Joanna was nurtured at Dorothy’s Sister, Pete and Rodney’s fabulous bar in Ponsonby was my kindergarten. Where all were welcome regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation and could play safely, being themselves.
After a second partner separation. Joanna Jayne St John who had written 5 works of fiction began the biggest project of her life, the writing of a full length musical. Based on The Roslyn sisterhood and Dots bar. My rusty songwriting, and musical skills resurfaced (wearing a dress this time). With huge input from many talented people. “PEOPLE LIKE US” is being readied for a Premier at The Pumphouse Theatre on 16th February 2016.
Mum, you said you’d haunt me, and haunt me you have. I feel the influence of your theatrical skills. And if I have dark hair I am your image. Your daughter thanks you, wondering if you could be proud of her today.
He, has married her; at last some peace is in our life as she proceeds into this great new theatrical adventure.
A biography of his life, “Oh What A Life” is available on Kindle and at the Amazon Book store. Hers – “Joanna is Ten,” is on the launching pad.
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