old drinking friend of mine was the photographer Chrispian Woodgate, who
during hours spent in The Globe pub in Covent garden, often would tell
me about the fortunes of his two sons, who between working at various
'bum' jobs were in and out of bands together. One of these stints required
just one of the brothers, or maybe the other was unavailable, I can't
remember now, but one fell on his feet as the drummer of Madness, Daniel
'Woody' Woodgate. I don't know what career his brother and former bandmate
eventually settled on.
I went to Chrispian's funeral years later, quite some time after his regular
sessions in The Globe, which were bought to an abrupt halt after he fell
down the stairs of his Camden flat, no doubt the worse for wear from an
evening's session, and was not discovered until the following morning.
Chrispian never really recovered from this or was able to continue in
his career as a photographer. He was actually home-bound after this and
when one time he did make a re-visit to The Globe, it was in a wheelchair.
He was stunned and tearful at the amount of people that turned out to
wish him well.
was obviously at his funeral, as were others that spoke of Chrispian's
former career as a stage actor, something that I don't remember him ever
telling me about as we shared a few sherbets and chewed the fat, but my
memory might be letting me down there. I do remember going around to his
flat one time and going through masses of his old photographs and do remember
many of them were of classic actors such as Sir Ian McKellen, Ralph Richardson
and the like. Think Twiggy and Justin were also in there somewhere.
What wasn't included was a cover shot of a singer that I had liked immensely
since I was around eleven called Davy Graham. The album was called 'Folk,
Blues & Beyond' and I had no idea that the daft old scrote shot the
cover. Not that much of a co. or particularly significant or anything,
but it blew my socks off at the time!
Some time after writing the above, I read of Daniel Woodgate: One of the
last to join Madness, Woody was of very middle-class Camden roots. His
father, a single parent, was the photographer Crispian Woodgate who shot
the British acting elite of the '50's and '60's: everyone from Roy Kinnear
to Peter Cook, Albert Finney and a young Sir Ian McKellen. Dan and his
brother Nick lived a life of bohemian indulgence - they would go to see
Chelsea FC with Eric Idle and Hugh McIlvenny - and, in due course, grew
up to be teenage hippies. Dan's brother Nick was considered the talented
one but was diagnosed with schizophrenia early in his teens. "I grew
up with him as the great genius, the child prodigy," says Woody.
"All I could do was play drums."