DAVID ENGLISH – A Story You Won’t Read Anywhere Else

David English with England T20 cricket captain Jos Buttler

Yesterday’s celebrations following England’s win in the T20 World Cup in Melbourne were no doubt tempered by the news of the death of David English, who, uniquely, forged illustrious careers in the worlds of both music and cricket. I knew David when he was an employee, and later senior executive, of RSO Records, the label run by Robert Stigwood, the manager of Eric Clapton and The Bee Gees. 

        Later, however, he made a name for himself in cricketing circles, founding the Bunbury Cricket Club that raised vast sums for charity. He created the Bunbury Festival which offered opportunities for young cricketers. He worked at Lords for a spell. International players from all the test playing nations knew and respected David for the work he did.

        The England and Wales Cricket Board noted David’s death on their website, as follows: “In 1987, he created the annual U15s Bunbury Festival. Its impact in bringing together each year the country’s best young players has been colossal. Its graduates include Michael Vaughan, Andrew Flintoff, and Joe Root. By 2021, 1,044 Bunbury Festival players had gone on to play first-class cricket and 118 had earned international honours with England. Everyone at the ECB is saddened at the news of David’s passing.” 

        The David I used to know was a boisterous character. He acted in a few films, wrote children’s books in which cricketers became cartoon characters – Ian Buntham and Goldenhare Gower were my favourites – and he sent me one in which The Bee Gees were portrayed as furry animals. 

        He was always the life and soul of the party, forever cracking jokes, and I hope he’ll forgive me for relating this tale. 

        Each January there takes place in Cannes on the French Riviera the annual Midem Festival at which music industry business, mostly to do with song publishing and foreign licensing, is transacted, and in 1971, aged 23, I attended the event to report on it for Melody Maker. I had been told that high-class hookers from Paris come down to Cannes for the Midem week and that some were to be found in the expensive Hotel Martinez at the eastern end of La Croisette, the wide, tree-lined boulevard that separates the town from the beach and the Mediterranean beyond. So, on the second night of my week’s stay in Cannes I went to the Martinez for a late night drink to check out the action for myself. 

The Martinez bar was crowded and amongst the throng were several music industry types that I knew. One of them informed me that contributions were being sought for a kitty which would be used to engage the services of two or more girls to put on a sex show in someone’s hotel suite. Was I interested in contributing? I certainly was, so I handed over my money and waited until I was summoned.

About ten minutes later, negotiations having been satisfactorily concluded, I found myself in a spacious hotel room, waiting for the show to commence. Sufficient money had evidently been collected to secure the services of three girls, all of whom were young, slim and beautiful, two brunettes and one blonde. We sat in silence while they clambered onto a double bed, removed each other’s dresses and frolicked around in their underwear. Next, they took everything off and simulated sex, both oral and manual, but the performance was sterile, mechanical, lacking even a hint of eroticism, and some members of the audience conveyed their dissatisfaction by whistling and suggesting the girls put more effort into their work.

Eventually the guy who had arranged the show approached the girls to discuss matters. The outcome of this was that one member of the audience would be permitted to join them on the bed and they would pleasure him while we watched. It certainly wasn’t going to be me but one intrepid fellow I knew quite well, who worked for an independent record label, offered his services, stripped down to his briefs and climbed onto the bed with the girls. They soon had his underwear off but try as they might the girls were unable to stimulate him sufficiently, a situation that caused no little amusement amongst the audience which no doubt exacerbated his inability to perform. It was all slightly embarrassing. After less than ten minutes they gave up and announced that the show was over, the agreed time limit of 30 minutes having expired. As one they grabbed their clothes and headed off to the bathroom to get dressed again and we all trooped out, back down to the bar, all of us convinced the whole business had been a waste of time and money.

The name of the man who joined them on the bed? David English, of course. 

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