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HfC resident photographer reveals his childhood connection

HfC resident photographer reveals his childhood connection

News Details

By Hugh Hastings

Funny how some memories stick around a whole lifetime: I can still recall the day in 1968 when I was an eleven year old schoolboy at Colet Court in Hammersmith, London and the headmaster brought the morning assembly to an abrupt halt to introduce the school to two young men who would be writing an end-of-term musical for us to perform.

From beneath the balcony where I was sat with my classmates ambled two young men towards the headmaster who introduced them as Tim and Andrew and we were told to do whatever they required in the creation of their second ever work, ‘Joseph & The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat”. It all seemed rather surreal and biblical.

Given what Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber have gone on to achieve, it’s worth noting the first humble steps of their careers included working with off-key monsters like us kids as an inspiration for any aspiring young creatives. We duly rehearsed the work again and again, giggling quite a lot at the wrong moments of course, and then found ourselves in the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, trying not to mess up the first ever live performance - and live recording too, if I recall. 2,500 people attended, mostly proud parents.

Somewhere along the way I managed to get my first-ever autograph book for Tim and Andrew to sign for me, accompanied as they were in my book by other well-known visitors to the school, mostly from the world of sport including Jim Laker, Cliff Morgan and Jimmy Hill. 

There’s also a page of scribbles in that book of me practicing my signature - all pretty horrible - and a poem from my Mum, which reads: “Big fleas have small fleas upon their backs to bite ‘em, and little fleas have smaller fleas, and so on, ad infinitum.” A super lovely Mum, but whatever did she mean?

The school soon moved out of Hammersmith to Barnes, and with it came Tim Rice, who became very successful and a Barnes resident and I remember standing behind him with my parents in the queue for meat at Seal’s the butchers.

Oddly, many years later when Tim bought a lovely house in a secluded Cornish coastal village, the couple who lived at the end of his drive were Noel and Barbara, my first wife’s parents.

In May this year I look forward to being on duty as the Photographer in Residence at the Hall for Cornwall when Tim takes to the stage, at this more advanced time, to entertain Cornwall with memories and songs from his incredible musical career.

He won’t recall a young schoolboy from his early days - for why should he - but I can still see young Tim today from another time and place and I’ll reflect on how interesting life can be, how small the world is, how big the opportunities within.

At least in my era, and I hope so still, for today’s eleven year olds.

You can see Hugh in action when Sir Tim Rice visits us on WED 08 MAY.

Cover Image: Jesus Christ Superstar.



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