Charles cements his relationship with very gifted singer and songwriter Lauren Field. They go back to live work playing venues throughout England and Europe. Artists and audiences alike will enjoy his hilarious anecdotes concerning the joys of performing in both the most prestigious of concert halls to smelliest of pubs that resemble the world’s worst toilets. His journey continues with their marriage and the births, of their son Gabriel and daughter India. Charles concludes this first part of his tale from a very happy and comfortable place as he takes stock, gets Lauren’s career on the map as an international solo recording artist in her own right, garnering many awards from both sides of the Atlantic – producing and selling many albums and working with yet another impressive list of high profile multi hit recording artists to date.
Lauren eventually hangs her live performing microphone up and becomes founder of the very successful community choir Rock Chorus – writing some of the most dynamic and striking choral arrangements of well known songs from the 1960’s to the present day Lauren makes a name for herself in a different way. www.rockchorus.com
On Christmas eve 2010 that evil and insidious disease strikes and Charles is diagnosed with bowel cancer. Luckily caught in time, borderline between stage three and four, major surgery seemed to take care of his ordeal until three years later when he is re-diagnosed with rectal cancer and having to go through chemotherapy, having his backside fried to hell with radiotherapy and then followed up once again with major surgery – the outcome is very favourable.
Both Lauren and Charles look ahead to the future with the eager anticipation of evergreen optimists.
Future Snippets and Excerpts
David Arden, son of the mighty 1960’s rock and roll manager Don Arden and brother of Sharron Osbourne (Ozzy’s missus) wanted to manage Lauren and myself.
Out of the blue we received a phone call from David Arden’s pa asking us to pop into his Marylebone / Baker Street office to discuss the possibility of him managing us as a boy/girl pop duo in the vein of Roxette.
It was a boiling hot summer’s day, London was buzzing and the underground was insane – as usual people hurried around like chaotic streams of ants – there is always something a little unsettling about ‘observational punter watching’ in the rush hour – their insane dance of rush, rush, rush, screaming around with not a moment to live – it’s nuts – as a contrast the only slow moving bodies are the tourists, who meander around with all the time in the world, gazing skywards at the architecture of the roof tops – ‘Look Ray, there is a gargoyle up there covered in pigeon shit’ – ‘Oh my that is amazing Mildred, look over there – there goes some Hari Krishna people with their brows covered in pigeon shit – do you reckon they’ve been standing underneath that gargoyle?’
Normally Lauren and I would be running late, scuttling up and down escalators with the rest of the madness and no doubt arriving at our meetings in a lather of sweat, but this day we had time to spare and leisurely arrived cool and collected – David Arden welcomed us into his plush office and proceeded to tell us how wonderful our demos were. He wanted to manage us on a worldwide contract and make us at least as famous as Roxette. We thought it was a fair deal and the fact that he used Roxette as an example was fine by us. We seemed to get on very well with him and he definitely talked a good job, so we took a copy of his management contract away with us to have it looked over by a lawyer.
During the week we received another phone call from his assistant asking us if we could meet up with him the following Saturday lunch time – it was quite exciting and fine by us but we arrived only to find his office closed – a janitor explained to us that Mr Arden only came in at weekends and sometimes he wasn’t allowed out to make the trip over town. ‘What? Allowed out from where? Make the trip over town?’ I asked the janitor. ‘Oh didn’t you know sir – Mr Arden is an inmate at Latchmere prison in Richmond and can only be allowed out on occasional weekends’ said the exceptionally polite janitor. ‘He has been in there for a couple of years now – don’t ask me why, it’s all a bit hush, hush, but he does enjoy working here for Mr Arden senior in his time out’ – We were so gob-smacked and speechless we decided to run into the middle of Marylebone Road, throw ourselves under a speeding London bus and then drag ourselves into Madame Tussauds and position ourselves between the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh as an exhibit.
A couple of weeks later after the David Arden farce, we received a call from one Jack Gordon who told us he managed and was married to Latoya Jackson and both him and Latoya were in town staying at The Ritz – They wanted to meet with us with a view to managing us, sign us to a worldwide contract and make us at least as famous as Roxette.
Of course my initial instinct was to focus straight off on the fact that they were actually part of one of the world’s most famous pop music families of all time ‘The Jacksons’ – if nothing else that as a calling card had to get us before anyone in the industry we chose to flog ourselves to.
A short and sweet but hilarious outcome!
Randy Bachman (Bachman Turner Overdrive) comes to write songs and record with us in Dunstable.
I distinctly remember hearing ‘You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’ for the first time – it was in 1974 in a club in North Yorkshire – Sandgate was on the bill with another bunch of ‘geordies made good’ by the name of ‘Skip Bifferty’ – Jacky Ruddick and I were trying to sound check bass and drums and some invisible person in the venue kept spinning an assortment of album tracks over the house pa system – it was beginning to piss us off until we heard the opening guitars of ‘You ain’t seen nothing Yet’ by Bachman Turner Overdrive – I remember momentarily downing tools till the track was over and then sending one of our road crew to find the mystery dj, snap his fingers off, tie him up and throw him into the broom cupboard.
‘You ain’t seen nothing Yet’ was a world wide smash hit and although the only big hit in the UK written by Randy Bachman he enjoyed mega success with many other monster hits in Canada and North America such as ‘Taking Care of Business’ (The Guess Who) ‘American Woman’ and others.
The initial contact came in a phone call from Randy himself – ‘Hi this is Randy Bachman here – I hear you worked with two of the Beatles’ said the low register Canadian voice, coming down the line to my back garden studio in Dunstable. ‘I’ve done some research on you and I’d like to come to Dunstable and work with you’ – I was very flattered and we arranged to meet a few days later – Randy was in town and I was seemingly high up on his list of people to meet and greet.
When he wasn’t at home on Salt Spring Island off the coast of Vancouver, or on tour somewhere around the globe with BTO he would make a bee-line to his London apartment just off Baker Street. This was comparatively a new creative venture for him – ha had exhausted any possibilities the Nashville songwriting scene had to offer him and now wanted to network with the Brits – Like so many veteran musicians ‘The Shadows’ was one of the reasons both him and fellow Winnipeg buddy, Neil Young had started playing music in the first place – so when I mentioned that I lived in the next street to Hank Marvin as a young teenager and was still in contact with Bruce Welch he seemed even more excited to meet up.
A couple of days later I found myself awaiting on a platform in Luton station to welcome one Randolf Charles Bachman – He had informed me over our phone call that I must lookout for a big guy looking like Jerry Garcia. This was fine except I couldn’t remember what Jerry Garcia looked like in his later years, well middle age (he sadly checked out when he was a mere 53 years old) and I hadn’t time to google him before running out to the station.
I waited till the London to Bedford train had almost emptied it’s passengers and then a young slightly overweight and hairy guy that looked like he was in his late thirties came wandering up the platform – he had a guitar gig bag over his shoulder – I jumped out in front of him with my hand outstretched – ‘Hi Randy how you doing’ I said rather enthusiastically – The guy nearly jumped out of his skin and broke into an instant sprint away from me – he gazed back at me as if I was just plain weird and ran straight into an oncoming express train from the isle of sky.
(I made that last bit about the isle of sky up).
A Rolling Stone comes to record in Dunstable.
To most Rock, Blues and Pop aficionados, Mick Taylor needs no introduction but his visits to the Foskett residence in our back water of a small market town like Dunstable was to say at least, very enlightening, so I’m going to reintroduce him whether you like it or not.
I first became aware of Mick Taylor in the early Sandgate days (Chapter 9) when the only name that came out of Keith Nichol’s mouth was ‘Mick Taylor would play it like this, Mick Taylor wouldn’t use that tone, Mick Taylor would do it is this way, Mick Taylor, Mick Taylor’. Personally I’m sure that Nichol had a crush on him which I found rather disturbing as the only people I had crushes on were the owners of beautiful large breasts, especially the ones that bounced around like pairs of bunnies in a shapely wool sweater, also those with the legs of a racehorse, well not literally, that sounds a million times weirder than Nichol’s infatuation with Mick Taylor – what I mean by racehorse legs is (I’m digging a hole for myself here, I can see it) – lets just forget that I mentioned any part of a horse’s anatomy shall we – having said that I do remember a guy at Todd’s Nook school who was over blessed in the mammary department, but somehow to my eyes that was always just a bit weird and no doubt just as sweaty as the one and only pair of socks that he wore.
Sorry what was I talking about? oh yes, Mick Taylor.
I was first introduced to Mick by a mutual friend and keyboard player Hillary Briggs. Hill had worked with Mick on something or other and suggested I use him on a session. I hadn’t imagined that such a rock luminary who had replaced Brian Jones, and for years been a member of the most famous rock band in the world, would want to play a guitar session on a primarily unheard of artist’s cd for three hundred quid.
‘Yeh he’ll do it for you – I’ve told him all about you’ said Hill – and so Hill arranged for us to meet at Apsley railway station on the southern outskirts of Hemel Hempstead. As we dropped Hillary off in Hemel, Mick got himself quite flustered thinking we were on our way back to Hill’s place – he seemed like a little kid that had been duped into being bundled off with some stranger in a strange car. I was a little unnerved that he appeared so backward in coming forward on his own two feet, so I talked a stream of incessant drivel as we drove up the M1 motorway in the hope that he would feel at ease in my company – think he just thought I was a gob-shite – it was kinda weird being with someone who had travelled the world as a member of the Rolling Stones and recorded some of their biggest hits but seemed to lack all confidence in himself.
Christmas Eve – 2010
I was originally diagnosed on Christmas Eve 2010 with stage three bowel cancer –
I can tell you it was the most shitty christmas that anyone could have had – yes, I was well and truly fucked up in the head and an emotional wreck – I cried myself to sleep at nights and then cried myself awake each morning. All I wanted was to be like everyone else around me – but I wasn’t!
I spent each night that first week wandering down stairs into the back garden around 4.am in the morning and just standing there in the freezing night air looking up at the moon through the silhouette of the trees in my garden – every other person was tucked up in bed, all snug and warm and fast asleep, whilst I just shivered my balls off – it helped to make me realise that I was still alive and all I wanted at that moment was to be here the following night so I could do the same thing – that’s all I needed – I was like a broken ship out in a dark hostile sea without sails or an anchor. Then sometimes I just felt like I was being eaten alive by this fucking insidious disease that had killed my mother and all her brothers and sisters, bar two of five brothers who obviously escaped the gene.
It took a couple of weeks to get my head around it, which was pretty quick thanks to the wonderful advice of a (sadly, recently departed) wonderful friend called Reg Laws – I emailed him, writing almost a full book on my plight, asking him for the answers I needed to the main big question ‘I think I’m going to die – I’ve been diagnosed with bowel cancer and I’m more scared than I’ve ever been in my life – what shall I do?’
No reply – he wouldn’t pick the phone up when I called him or return my endless messages – then I received his one line email – ‘Forgive the World for all it’s Sins’ – I was pissed off at this and set about emailing him another endless story of my pending doom – he replied yet again ‘ Forgive the world for all it’s sins’ Love Reg x!
After realising that this was the best thing he could offer – the best advice he could give, I set about doing just that.
Within a couple of days I had forgiven everyone in my life everything (and there were two or three people that I hated for different things they had done that had affected me in a bad and very negative way for some time – years even) – I just let it all go – bad things surfaced that I had carried around all my life from being a kid.
I just got rid of them there and then – everything in my past like my career, chasing the money, all the music business and every other business became totally insignificant – the only things that were of importance were the little things that most of us ignore daily, such as a flower, a leaf on a plant in the garden – my kid’s mess not only in their bedrooms but also their debris spilling out into my living room – normally I would have made a noise about their odd socks and shoes, sweet wrappers and crisps packets left around – I just loved it all – I loved just putting the kettle on, washing dishes, looking at the sky! These were truly just a few of the most important things.
A Christian couple, our friends gave me a Jesus card probably in the hope that I should be saved and join their church but I don’t subscribe to organised religion and have always had my own church within of my own heart – The Jesus card was selling me the idea of ‘forgiveness’ and again this just struck a huge note with my soul at that time.
I drove my daughter to and from school each day quite happy to do 30 mph along the M1 slow lane commenting to her on how beautiful the cloud formations were – I listened to Rachmaninoff’s piano concerto whilst the rest of the world whizzed past me at an insane speed – my daughter thought I had went nuts – We didn’t tell her that I had cancer as she was only eleven at the time but my son who is five years her elder eventually let it slip in conversation – she used to come and climb into bed beside me and ask me if I was going to die – this cut me to the core as I repeatedly answered her by saying no, that I was just having lots of test at the hospital.
As time slowly went by the Luton & Dunstable hospital informed us that the NHS waiting time for surgery was thirty (plus) days from diagnosis to surgery – my deal got hugely fucked over by the idiot GP that had originally misdiagnosed me as having hemorrhoids and informed the L&D that I no longer wished for them to treat me – I wanted to go and kill him but, yes I’d forgiven the world for all it’s damned sins (including doctor Dogra – who should be struck off the register).
My wife went into overdrive fighting my corner and got the local MP to write a letter to the hospital and I was eventually taken in for an anterior resection surgery in my lower bowel – after surgery I was given the news that they had got it all and everything was great – I cried with joy for weeks, I was on the highest high I had ever experienced – three years later a scan in my follow up programme showed up a second tumour in the fatty wall of my rectum – I was even more devastated than I was the first time around.
I was told by my surgeon that it should have never happened but she could ‘offer’ me another surgery (it sounded to me at that time like she was offering me a great life saver, but strangely still a favour) and I was told that I’d have to have my rectum removed and I would have a stoma bag fitted – before this could be attempted I would have to attend Mount Vernon hospital for five weeks of radiation and I was also prescribed oral chemotherapy – I was given weekends off from being zapped and the tablets – They warned me that the treatment would probably have side effects where I’d experience being burned and feel sick and other nasty possibilities – I experienced no side effects during my radiation therapy other than tiredness in the third week onwards.
Generally it was an easy procedure – Each day I drove to Northwood Hills in Middlesex, got my car parked and waited in the radiation therapy waiting room with all the other cancer patients – I quickly became the cancer club daily entertainment as I talked and joked with them all – in doing so helping diminish their fears of the waiting room – waiting to be zapped and have their appropriate body parts fried to hell. They all just sat there frightened stiff, gazing at the floor or doing crosswords until I arrived – new people would arrive each day as the ones nearing the end of their treatment left to continue their journey elsewhere. I seemed to have an endless flow of somehow uplifting craic about cancer – it was ironic!
After my radiotherapy was finished there was a waiting period of three months before I could have my second (even more so) invasive surgery – this is because the radiotherapy continues to work after the treatment has finished.
I woke up in a ward with a shit bag on my belly and a pain like I had been run over by an army tank – the morphine kicked in and so did the hallucinations – my private room became a real life Hieronymus Bosch painting – I talked to people that weren’t there and even tried to text them but couldn’t locate their numbers in my phone. Instead I texted endless mumbo jumbo to friends about the people I was having in depth conversations with. I hated it – I hated more so my new addition stuck to my stomach. When the nurses came around to empty my bag I felt sick at the smell and couldn’t even look at what they were doing for me – I knew I had no option other than getting to grips with it myself – unfortunately I later found out that my surgeon had made a pig’s ear of my stoma when my stoma nurse told me it was the worse stoma she had seen in ten years of doing her job – It was right on a crease in my belly and every time I sat down in a chair, sat in the car, in a restaurant, anywhere it just popped off leaving me stinking and soaked with my own faeces.
After three and a half months of this horrible disgusting thing I was tested to see if the joining of my bowel to my anus had been successful and if so maybe there was a possibility to have it reversed – in the meantime of course my surgeon had asked me ‘did I want the good news or the bad news?’
I couldn’t face any more bad news but it turned out that the good news was that my after surgery test results had come back from the lab and my histology showed up nothing at all – no cancer cells to be seen anywhere – I couldn’t cry with elated joy this time or do the highland fling, I just needed to know what the state of play was – All was good in that department but I had a punctured gallbladder and I needed to have it removed – did I want the gallbladder surgery first or the stoma bag reversal first – I took the option of getting my stoma bag reversed first whilst having drains fitted through my rib cage to drain off a buildup of poisonous bile that had leaked from my gallbladder and if not immediately drained would be life threatening – it was like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire – man I was fed up, until the day came when I could sit on the toilet and let nature take it’s (almost rightful) course.
It took me over a year from my second diagnosis in march 2014 to late summer 2015 to get over the onslaught of surgeries I have had to endure – there is less of me now than there was before – the radiotherapy fried everything ‘down there’ – I may as well be a eunuch these days – these days of which I spend 20% of my time sitting on the throne waiting to drop a bomb on Dunstable – it’s not ideal – but it’s a small price to pay for still being here – for still being anywhere – but that is life and life I still have – every day I treasure and value more than I can say.
You are in a place that is horrible – it fucks your head up – it ruins everything on your horizon and you end up on the floor – get yourself on citalopram for a start – you’ll need that just to help you get out of bed in the mornings – do everything that the surgeons suggest and don’t be at all frightened to push them at any time – they do tend to see themselves as gods but don’t be frightened of them – your team are all there to help you on (I hate to say the word ) your cancer journey – I mean I don’t want to be on this journey as they call it – but man, the alternative is not a gig we want to happen until we are all old and massively decrepit.
14 December 2014
Early Sunday morning – it’s cold outside, winter sun, very low in sky in the distance, just managing to highlight some wafty, distant cloud formation but sending zero warmth to Dunstable that’s for sure.
I’m feeling surprisingly awake and glad to be alive considering I’ve spent half the night visiting the loo. My day, although probably based around pottering around the house in my dressing gown and numerous more trips to the bathroom seems full of promise – maybe it’s because we are venturing out into the bleakness to purchase a Christmas tree – I won’t be carrying it though because of the fear of buggering up my recent post surgery wounds, only observing the efforts of my son Gabriel and wonderful wife Lauren dragging the damp green giant into the back of our car, already dropping its needles long before the twelfth day.
Outside my bedroom window telegraph wires, or are they phone wires, suspended from the nearby telegraph post slowly bob up and down in a frosty breeze. Not a sparrow to be seen fluttering out into a drab, frozen grey Great Northern Road. Life is truly beautiful.
6 January 2015
I chopped our Christmas tree up on Sunday and disposed of it through the living room window into the front garden, all ready to be deposited into the green bin. It took a while to cut up as it was nearly nine feet tall and almost as wide as it was high, although having spent it’s final days smack bang in front of a radiator it was very droopy and dry (bit like me at the moment) – I just about filled the Dyson with needles and bits of squiggly greenery, and although methodically scrutinising every crevice, there are still needles showing up in odd places such as the kitchen, hallway and dining room. I even found one in the upstairs bathroom hiding in the towel cupboard. I remember last year the odd needles clinging on months after the event, so I can totally understand the hassle free deal of pretend trees that get stuffed back in the loft after the twelfth day and one is left with a clean carpet, unless one of the Christmas pressys just happened to be a pooping puppy, and then its not spruce needles that is the problem in the festive aftermath.
My mother in law’s Christmas tree is a tall white, fluffy and fuzzy affair with fairy lights permanently attached to it’s branches – you actually plug the tree into the mains – this wonderful and marvellous (cough) invention stands in front of her matching white voile curtains and somehow makes one’s eyes go funny when you look at it too long – it momentarily makes you think it is a mirage of some kind, or someone slipped some hallucinogenic mushrooms into your stuffed olives – maybe it was just me not being able to focus after one glass of mulled wine.
Anyway all the Christmas cards sporting their annual well wishes and season’s greetings have been placed in the orange topped bin to be recycled along with some old socks and newspapers. No matter how tidy our place ends up looking after the seasonal decorations have been put away, it always looks a little forlorn and bare for a while – maybe the vibe is still there and we cannot attune into it because we are now back to the grind, or maybe it was that special sense of occasion that only comes once a year.
Either way – Love, peace and above all, good health to all still breathing.
26 January 2015
Post op – Stoma reversal –
As I look down in my own bathroom at a pair of legs that are almost thin enough to have walked around the dirt in Auschwitz, I take wonderful pleasure in carefully sponging them along with the feet, claw toes and private parts – The body wash is herbal, moisturising, creamy and smells real – its wonderful compared to the cheap crappy stuff they have in NHS hospitals which inevitably drys the hell out of your skin – it makes your hands end up looking like a pair of plasterer’s mitts after a long day’s graft in a room full of plaster dust – they may just as well fill their liquid soap dispensers with fairy liquid.
I still cannot submerge myself in a hot bath of wondrous relaxing oils because of the drain hanging from between my ribs – nevertheless the stoma bag has gone – my ileostomy has been reversed and I am now healing once again till the next and hopefully last surgical gig for the next fifty years.
I now have the wonderful pleasure of sitting on the throne being able to drop bombs on Dunstable in the way nature intended – It’s a Blast!
Getting back into the saddle.
Lauren pushed to actually get out of my bed, unlock the studio, write a song and put together a folk group and start gigging, recording and filming promo videos.
I Dreamed up ‘Foskett’s Folk Factory’ – an online film and music production company for folk and roots artists – and write an eight part television documentary road trip series called ‘Folk You’.
I meet up with veteran folk icon Julie Felix and record and produce three songs for her including a lovely Peter Knight composition called ‘From a Lullaby Kiss’ – I start filming and creating both a promo music video to accompany the song and also a short documentary on her life called ‘A Life in the Day’
I fold up my folk group as it seems impossible to get them to commit to rehearsals.
I also celebrate one year of living without cancer – only four more years to go before I can call myself ‘clear’.
More folk music
I advertise, seeking folk musicians and singers for my ongoing attempt at putting together my folk ensemble. I am offered a slot in a northern television programme called ‘Cookin in the Kitchen’ – this is produced by a Geordie friend of mine called Steve Cunningham for Made TV. Lauren, India also sang and along with a whole bunch of old Geordie musician friends we performed three songs. It can be found online and it’s (so I’m told) very entertaining.
I celebrate two years of living in remission and only three more years to go before I can officially call myself clear of cancer – of course this is only by national health guidelines – the leading question is are we cancer survivors ever out of remission? Or on the other hand are we all in permanent remission?
Back in the saddle to record and produce two iconic Tamla Motown Soul divas – or not?
Lisa Voice invites me to The David Gest foundation dinner and charity bash which celebrates the life of David Gest.
I never knew David but saw him on television attempting to eat maggots and bugs for lunch and looking rather unwashed, sweaty and tired of the other celebrity’s close company in the 2006 TV series ‘I’m a Celebrity – Get me out of Here’ – A series where they all live in the jungle and generally piss each other off. David finished in fourth place.
I also remember David being married to Liza Minnelli and knew he had been a close friend of Michael Jackson and co.
I meet Motown singers Freda Payne, Gwen Dickey of Rose Royce fame and also catch up with Sheila Ferguson of The Three Degrees whom I produced back in the 1980’s at Abbey Road.
I end up writing with old pal Judie Tzuke for Gwen Dickey – Gwen turns out to be a very difficult diva and although there is promise of a £60k producer’s fee to produce her come back album I find it difficult to weigh up as to whether I want to spend the next however long being Gwen’s runner and eternally pandering to a giant ego that has pissed so many other musicians off over the decades. Maybe life is just too short!
I celebrate three years of living in remission and only two more years to go before I can officially call myself clear of cancer – of course this is only by national health guidelines – the leading question is are we cancer survivors ever out of remission? Or on the other hand are we all in permanent remission?