Emma’s Memories

Emma’s memories of Mark Drower and the Everyones:

I was lucky enough to be running the lights for the backstage crew. Scampering up and down the lighting gantry and fixing lights and gobos during project week (I think?) and I felt I’d won the lottery. Sitting at the back of the main hall in front of a dual-bank 24-channel mixing desk supplied by Stage Electrics was just amazing, and I think it helped fuel my desire to want to produce live music.

The opening of the show was Led Zep’s No Quarter and a line of cowled monk-like people holding large lit candles slowly processed from the stage to the back of the hall. It was mesmerising and a great way to start proceedings. Goosebumps. Songs, so many great songs – oh god yes! The other one that stood out was the Stones’ 2000 Light Years From Home. The full-on psychedelia of it with dancers and lights still gives me goosebumps today.

To the right of the stage, Mark Drower and Simon Miller sat atop a smaller stage performing beautiful original songs – Mark on acoustic and Simon on amazing lead guitar. Simon was always a bit of a hero of mine as he was the first person I heard who could really play a guitar well. He had a sort of Hendrix hippy vibe about him, a bit otherworldly and just cool. Mark meanwhile was the antithesis of what you’d expect from a teacher at a stuffy grammar school. Shaggy-haired, laid back and softly spoken: zen. His guitar style was and still is, unique. Champion of the altered tuning and easy fingerpicking style it was so fresh and melodic. His singing too was more sonorous than you’d expect from a slight fellow and the lyrics so catchy, so adroit.

As part of the rehearsal programme, I recall we booked some studio space at Exeter College and felt ‘all grown up’ with the other students. I think that was where I really fell in love with ELP’s Lucky Man which we used during the show – excepting the outro solo which to my ears was a bit ugly. Don’t remember much else but I do remember listening to that song a lot while we set up the rehearsal space.

Memories of the recording session in Torquay are very hazy indeed. It was a relatively small, shabby, semi-subterranean studio (to my recollection) in the centre of Torquay quite close to a cemetery. The recording session was fun and really picked up later after a lot of cider was consumed. I guess the teachers (Mr Drower and Lyn Schofield) would be sacked these days, but we were all more than capable of not being stupid and they treated us with respect so I don’t think anyone would’ve betrayed that trust. Anyway, someone suggested a blues jam song (don’t know who – Simon? George? Mark?), with it agreed that people would write a verse each and we’d string them all together. Cabbage Blues was the outcome and the hist is restory.

So, my verse to the song was about a shunned cabbage and, to my horror (nay disgust) the last line got cut off by Mark and Simon coming back in for the chorus. I mean, I’ve never been so… ooh!

Okay, I was milking it for all it’s worth, but still! ;-)

“Kinda curious to know what your missing line was in this!”

Over the past 35+ years I’ve often been asked about that last line by those that were there, and I’ll say the same thing as always. I *do* remember the last line, but I think the wondering what it was is likely far more interesting than me actually telling you. ;) That said it’s…

“‘Til the local cabbage burn”.

Been thinking about it. Memory bad but I think a “burn” here was meant to be like a line dance/burn up the dance floor type reference – a weird village that had people attending a party to celebrate cabbages. But also a weird thing sounding like everyone burns cabbages once a year. As I said, the wondering was far more interesting than me actually telling you. ;)

Who else was there – I know George and Simon listed many. Andrew Lazenby, Andy Roper, Mark Luxton, Rachael Pettet? Marc Colson I think are additional names for the list.

We got so wasted. I remember Ian “Uncle Baz” Barratt in particular had a few. Well, we all did. :)

The production we took to Exeter Cathedral was a pale shadow of the summer show. I think the cast had changed somewhat, the venue meant we had to rejig the set a lot, the audiences were polite but a bit bemused I think, and well it’s never the same is it. The summer production was just magical – hard to recapture that. I have the odd snippets of memories from there, of the Bishop of Exeter watching the performance and us holding our breath at one point as I think it was vaguely blasphemous and we were in his “home”.

The school had hired a minibus to get the gear to/from the cathedral and on loading out, the big screens that flanked the stage were put on the roof. They weren’t tied down though and it was a dark, windy November night when we drove all the gear back and well, part of the scenery flew off the roof of the minibus on the way back from Exeter. I have dim memories of us standing in the playground at King’s and scratching our heads as we counted the screens and people went “uh-oh” when it dawned on us. LOL!

I remember being stuck on the train as it whizzed past Lyn Schofield’s house in Feniton on its way to Honiton. We’d been at the Cathedral and I volunteered to take the train as we had limited space in the minibus. I sat on the platform at Central Station for what seemed an age and then somehow got on the first class carriage – and couldn’t get back to the pleb cars. So I stood by the door in case the guard said I didn’t have a valid ticket. As the train flew through Feniton – to my horror – I swear I could see everyone in Lyn’s front room having fun. Thankfully the train did stop at Honiton where I disembarked and contemplated the long walk home. And lo! I ended up walking back from Honiton station along the A30 being trailed by a stray dog that joined me on the way. I couldn’t shake it and it thought my running away was a game. I don’t think it went right to Feniton (don’t remember). Anyway, I arrived hours after everyone else did. Seems funny now, but at the time…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We hope you enjoyed reading Emma’s memories of Mark Drower and the Everyones.

If you would like to listen to her most recent musical project, Strange New Things, please click here:

To follow Emma @emlovesherlife on Twitter, click here: