Richard Grassby-Lewis (Lewis)
Chepstow, Monmouthshire, See
Dear all at the grand class of '73 reunion
Hi. I'm really, eally sorry I can't be with you all for this extraordinary weekend. Unfortunately a dear friend's wedding and some other things make it impossible.
A brief update on the last 25 ears; after leaving Bedales under a cloud of sweet smelling smoke (as nick so aptly putt it, I did my A-levels at a grammar school near Swansea. I could hardly imagine a greater contrast in eductaional styles! It certainly made me appreciate more the efforts of our teachers, even if it did fall on somewhat fallow ground. I also took with me memories of a period the intensity of which has bee rarely atchieved in the rest of my life. Memories of 'walking over' for the first time and not having a clue what it meant; falling intensely in love, and painfully out of it (about five times); endlessly listening to Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, King Crimson, Arthur Brown et al; being arrested for shooting up somebody's outbuilding with an air rifle after being identified by the bright orange shirt I wore; struggling about in a huge afghan coat and blue red and yellow platform shoes, trying not to get caught in teh rain; envying people with velvet trousers; my first cigarette. my first spliff, my first sex, all in the first year.
I remember being called in and berated by several members of staff for 'wasting my abilities', but as far as I was concerned, I was discovering abilities I never knew I had. Writing music for instance - from which I now make my living. I recall a report from William Agnew which said "could be a good musician if only he'd stop this continuous awful strumming". To this day, I've never worked out how to actually strum on a piano. Other memories of note: after staff decided to fine rumbled smokes 50p, I ran an insurance scam to cover it with a premium of 10p a week, I made a good profit; Arsenal winning the double; the annual bike race; sheltering under the groundsheet of a tent in the middle of the night during a thunderstorm, after getting completely lost on Dartmoor having let the person carrying the rest of my tent go off with another group after a dispute over the direction (Nick Paul, wasn't it you?).
After doing fairly miserably in my A-levels, I half heartedly applied for a couple of composition courses in top notch universities that I knew wouldn't take me to please my parents. My sister got me a job playing piano at her dance school in Bristol to get me away from home where I was driving my parents mad. Thus I drifted into playing in bands and working as a sound engineer. My break came only after 11 years, when the band I was in signed a record contract. This led to writing a couple of scores fro wildlife documentaries and animation films, which was the sort of thing I'd always wanted to do. I've since carried on from there building a career as a film and TV composer, and my first major feature comes oiut next month - it's called "Love and Death on Long Island", and is a wonderfully warm and witty work, so look out for it in the arthouse cinemas.
My relationships with women have been up and down of course, with the occasion of a child when I was 25, (unwanted at the time but subsequently much loved). I reamined an unmarried serial monogamist until I was 39 when I finally met somone who could commit to me, and we now have a 2 year old boy. She's an actress, and therefore undestands the social problems of creative freelancers.
I feel very disappointed that I cant be there to catch up with you all, but my address and telephone numbers are at the head of this letter for any one who'd like to contact me - I'd love to ghear from you. Well done to Nick and Fiona for organising it all.
Have a great weekend and maybe I'll see you at the next one!