From an Escort to a
Bluejean to the Circus
By Mike Gregory
I was born on the 7th of November in1946 in Liverpool Maternity Hospital and was the longest baby born there up until that time - 26inches!
I attended Windsor Street Primary School in Toxteth and later went to the Morrison School for Boys in Rose Lane, Allerton – where I met Terry Sylvester and John Kinrade.
We weren’t in the same class but I was in the same house as Terry and we used to play basketball together, also we were both in the school football team. I was the goalkeeper and I think he played inside right. John had six left feet and to him coordination was just a word with a lot of syllables.
We didn’t spend a lot of time together in the early days as I was a newcomer to the area and had to make new friends, whereas most of the other pupils knew each other from their previous schools. I excelled at basketball and played for Liverpool City Team – The North of England Team – The North of England and Midlands Combined Team and made The All England under 14 Team.
I got interested in the guitar through my uncle Pete who lived with us. He showed me some one fingered chords to ‘Freight Train’ and ‘Tom Dooley’ on an old Spanish guitar which was given to him by a friend of my Gran.
Anyway that was about how it stayed for ages until a teacher at our school started a guitar class after school hours. Mr. James was his name and as it happens, he was my favourite teacher as he taught technical drawing which was my favourite subject along with English. He’d also taken me and two other boys on a canoeing holiday along the Llangollen canal in canoes we’d made ourselves in woodwork. John and Terry came along to these classes but not for long because they already knew quite a few chords and it really was for novices, but I learned quite a bit and played lead on the class’s rendition of ‘Apache’ on parents day.
We all used to go and sit in the shed in Greenbank Park along with Joey Molland ( Badfinger and The Fruit Eating Bears) and a guy called Pete Edge a friend of John’s who was also an aspiring guitarist. Joey had a home made guitar made by his brother and we all used to gawp at him because he could play Guitar Boogie Shuffle to a fairly high standard although John Kinrade was also very good.
I can’t really remember how we came to get the idea of forming a group – that came after we left school but only just, we were all about 15 years old. I’d left early in order to do an apprenticeship in Radio and TV engineering. I should have stayed on to do my O levels and A levels but I would have been too old to do the apprenticeship as it was over a five year City and Guilds Course at Riversdale Technical College. My Mum had to pay £10 to take me out of school which sounds strange but it’s true.
John worked for the Liverpool Echo and Terry worked with Pete Harrison, (George’s brother) in J. Davies as a trainee panel beater. I worked for J & F Stone in Lord Street and used to go to the Cavern in my dinner hour to watch the bands and just dream of doing that myself. My favourites were the Beatles – Gerry – Remo Four – Mersey Beats – the Big Three.