The Temperance Seven


What became of Joe

Joey (front) with the band in 1959 The line up is Colin Bowles, Philip Harris, Cephas Howard, Alan Swainston Cooper, Brian Innes, Joey Clark, John R T Davies and Martin Fry. The band first recorded on ARGO Records in March 1956 with Joey Clark playing his inimitable style of 'gas-pipe' clarinet and quavering vocals.

Joey lived and travelled to gigs in an old Trojan van, which he sometimes parked overnight in Exhibition Road between the V&A and science museums. One morning, blue smoke was seen to be emanating from the back of the van and the fire brigade were quickly called. Some of the most valuable treasures of the nation were threatened if a serious fire should break out. Several engines arrived and a burly, fully clad fire officer broke open the back doors of the van to find Joey, sitting in a cloud of burnt bacon smoke, cooking his breakfast on a small primus. Unperturbed, Joey turned to the fireman and declared, "Ah, just in time for a cup of tea, my boy!"

On another occasion, during a break in a Temps performance at the Guard's Club in Pall Mall, Joey went out onto the balcony for a smoke. Joey was a small, diminutive figure and always dishevelled in his clothing. Living in a van wasn't very kind to his band gear - his pale trousers were stained, and his cut-away clack coat had mould on it. Roll-up in hand, he sidled up to an immaculately-dressed Guards officer (whom was in full regimental attire and enjoying a large cigar). Barely reaching his shoulder, Joey nudged the officer and commented, "This is the life, my boy!"

Everyone was 'my boy' to Joey, a lovable character, a member of The Alberts and founder member of the Temperance Seven. Sadly, Joey died in September 1959, shortly after the above photograph was taken. Surely one of life's genuine eccentrics and sadly missed. In memory of Joey, the band thereafter included 'I Wonder What's Become of Joe' in the regular repertoire.

Memories from the past

Someone sent me a video of the Temperance Seven from 1988, and it brought back memories of former band mates whom are no longer with us (google The Temperance Seven Red Nose Day 1988).

Dean Robert Mickleborough, the trombonist, had great success with his own bands in the sixties before his involvement with The Temps. I’ll forever remember Bobby strolling into the Band's apartment on a wet Oslo night. The talk was about eccentrics, and as Bobby swept through, he muttered “Eccentricity - not my scene.” He was wearing a tight plastic bag over his head (as tall as a chef’s hat) and carrying a big lump of lead under his arm. I later found out that Bob, being a very shrewd fellow, used to paint sea-scapes on the lead and display them in his antique shops in Bath. "The Americans can’t get enough of them," he said.

I am pleased to announce that the alto player in the clip is Count Geoffrey Simpkins who, after sixteen years, has taken over the chair in the band vacated by the previous tenant. Next to him on Baritone is Malcolm Willoughby Everson, known affectionally as Mogs. These two were great together, bouncing their wit off each other and generally keeping the standard of music very high.

I remember sitting in an hotel bar in North Walsey after the gig heavily in our cups. Geoff asked Mogs what he was doing that weekend. Mogs replied that he had to fit a cat flap. Quick as a flash, Geoff said, “Everson Fitacatflap” - as you can imagine, much mirth ensued!

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