Band History

James spent his spare time in his early teens somewhat more constructively than he did in his formative years. Having decided to form his own 'car washing company', James set about gaining as much business as he could. Door knocking and local advertising didn't prove enough for James and he was often seen on the corner of his street holding a sign pronouncing 'I Can Wash Your For 50p Please Stop'. Indeed James had really taken to this new challenge and was spending more time than ever in the evenings and at weekends washing cars. This, along with his early morning paper round, dog-walking and bottle returning services made James the talking point for his neighbours for a number of years at this time. 'He was always up to something' recalls Vic Borrows his neighbour for 20 years, 'if he weren't trying to make perfume out of rose petals to sell on, he was 'avin his very own boot fairs at the end of his drive', Vic adds' most of the kids 'round ere would call him names like "Batty Freak Boy" and "Sad Act", but at the end of the day, we new James would have the last laugh with all this money he had been saving up. My wife Betty 'reckoned on him buying his very own motorbike or even car by the time he was seventeen!'.
Others new this clearly wouldn't be the case judging on James' peculiar personality.
Roy Lampkin the local milkman remembers James waiting every morning for nearly 6 months at the top of his road, for Roy to arrive ' He was jus' a bloody nuisance at first' says Roy, 'but after a couple o' weeks, I starting feeling a bit worried for the boy. It 'aint right for a lad to keep gettin' up every morning just to watch me deliver milk like. I'm not saying he's a bit of a wrong 'un, but he aint right neither'.
Roy was unaware at the time, but James wasn't purely staring at and worrying the local milkman, he was watching his future - a man in a uniform driving an engine, albeit a milk float and not a train. James now felt that his life was mapped out.
When he reached sixteen, he wasted no time in spending his hard earned money. All those questions that his neighbours had would be answered. A motorbike? A deposit on a car? A holiday in the Spanish dance mecca Ibiza?
Not likely.
Three years earlier James had seen the advertisement in Train Modellers Monthly inviting 16's and over to join 'The East Kent Locomotive Travelling Band' with 'all abilities welcome'. James came back from the music shop in town wih his very first instrument - the oboe.
He practised day and night for over a year and had no time for anyone, or anything, else.
Sadly, James rarely got to play the instrument in the band as the other musicians felt uncomfortable in his presence, but even so they were happy for him to travel with them up and down the country and whats more the mini-bus was in constant need of washing.

Click on James to see one of the few photos in existence with him playing live with 'The East Kent Locomotive Travelling Band'

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