The Living Years

The Living Years by Mike Rutherford Read Free Book Online

Book: The Living Years by Mike Rutherford Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mike Rutherford
with Ant, who’d also sussed out how best to spend his time.
    Charterhouse was a different school if you were good at sport. I knew that golf was never going to be on a par with rugby or football – if you were good at those, you were in a different league popularity-wise – but I thought I could build on my golfing success at The Leas. Then Chare banned me. He thought golf was dangerously individualistic and anti-Establishment, particularly for a rebel like me.
    ‘Rutherford, you are banned. You must play more team sports.’
    What could you do? After that, sport at Charterhouse for me was cricket – which, in Division C, Fourth Team, was a real team effort. You’d arrive at a far-off part of a far-off field, away from the masters, sit on the grass in the sun and work out together what the score should be. The funny thing was, by the end of the day you’d be so into it that you’d believe you really
had
scored those fifty runs. You’d go back to the house feeling quite heroic.
    I could live without golf – after all, you had to wear some weird nerd kit in those days – but I couldn’t live without music.
    And so Chare banned me from playing my guitar.
    At the time I was in the upper house, a kind of recreation room, playing my guitar to
Sgt. Pepper
, which had just come out and was the most exciting thing I’d ever heard. I think Chare must have had a bad housemasters’ meeting because he stormed in, raving, and grabbed me by the collar. ‘Rutherford,’ he hissed through his teeth. ‘you are banned. You are not playing the guitar anymore, Rutherford.’ He then bent me over and caned me. It was eight o’clock at night and I was in my dressing gown. After that, obviously, there was no way I was going to stop. Not least because the biggest concert of my Charterhouse career was only a few weeks away.
    The band that I’d joined were the Anon. Ant was the driving force behind them but it was their singer, Richard Macphail, who’d come up with the name. He’d originally wanted it to be ‘Anon’, like an unknown poet, but nobody could cope with not having an article.
    Rich was great. He could sing, he looked the part and he had the moves: we called him Mick Phail because he could do a bit of a Jagger act. He was also terribly up, just a very positive guy. Once he left school he grew his ginger hair down to his elbows and I would often see him at gigs with no shoes on.
    The rest of the line-up was Rob Tyrell on drums – God, he was good – and Rivers Job, who had been to prep school with Ant, on bass. Rivers Job – have you ever known a cooler name? He was very short and his bass guitar looked too big for his body but it seemed to work on him somehow. (Rivers left Charterhouse after O levels and I saw him next at a pub in Guildford playing with the Savoy Blues Band, who were quite a successful thing in those days. I remember looking up at him on stage and thinking: he’s actually doing it . . . !)
    It was after Rivers had left the school that I picked up the bass. Ant was better than me at guitar so it was an obvious move and not at all a demotion. However, something must have annoyed me because, not long after, I threw a huff and left the band. I think the problem might have been that Ant was being selfish about something or other – his way or no way. Ant probably thought it was because I couldn’t take the discipline, which was also possible. Anyway, I do remember flouncing off slightly. The result was my new band, the Climax, who lasted two terms and whose name was the best thing about us. Ant would come into the hall where we were practising, laugh and walk straight out again.
    It was during one of those two terms that the Charterhouse school magazine ran an article called ‘Why not pop?’ The Climax were described as making ‘a reasonable sound’ although we were ‘more of a shadow than a reality’ (probably a fair assessment). The Anon (minus me) got double the column inches:
    Their music is

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