Tribute to Parker at the Kings Arms – A Fan’s Story
Gerry Anderson fan Craig Johnson shares his memories of a journey with David Graham to the Kings Arms in Cookham for a very special presentation in celebration of Parker!
“After weeks of planning and countless emails, the day had arrived. I found myself driving along the streets of North London to pick up one of my heroes, the legend that is David Graham. I couldn’t believe that it was happening, and that I was taking him to the Kings Arms in Cookham, now written into Anderson folklore as the birthplace of Parker’s iconic voice. Not only that, but we were going to have lunch with Jamie Anderson and Richard James. As I drove past David’s flat he was at the window, ready to go. I waved and before I knew it he was in my car and we were heading for Berkshire. I had the privilege of talking to him about many things during the journey, but one of the subjects that particularly interested me was his service in the RAF during World War 2.
Before long we were pulling into the Kings Arms car park, where David recalled visiting all those years ago with Gerry in the 1960s. On entering we were greeted by Chris the manager who I had been in close contact with, who immediately opened a complimentary tab. Shortly afterwards we were joined by Jamie, Richard, and Richard’s wife Charlotte. I was also introduced to puppet sculptor John Brown who had worked with Gerry from Fireball XL5 to Joe 90, along with Terry Adlam of Terrahawks and Dick Spanner P.I. fame, both of whom lived locally and had been invited to come along. James Fielding was the photographer for the day, with local press also in attendance, whilst Charlotte was circulating with a video camera in hand. I not only found myself in the presence of Anderson royalty, but it was all being captured for posterity. I couldn’t believe my luck! I should have bought that lottery ticket!
Chris had laid on a banquet with five Thunderbirds-themed courses with several wines. As I was driving I didn’t indulge in the wine, however our Podcast hosts did until the realization of conducting a Fab Live that evening and some Podcast interviews sank in and curtailed things a little.
The meal was superb, with the final course of a chocolate bomb beating David who gave his to Jamie for seconds, not the first time during the meal that he had eaten from David’s plate!
Before I knew it we had been there for nearly 5 hours. Richard recorded interviews with David and I and then we left, heading back towards the smoke, leaving the others to their own devices and more bottles of wine.
To my great relief the whole day had gone to plan and for me as an ordinary fan I felt incredibly lucky to have been there. It was such a change for me to socialize with people from the arts and to have an all-too-brief glimpse into their world.
I can genuinely say that everyone I met was brilliant, and I think they appreciated the results of my endeavors that had made the day possible.
I can assure you that David, as ‘Nosey’ would say, is a “diamond geezer” and is an absolute gentleman.
What’s more I got to chauffeur Parker, and I have the photographs to prove it!”
Our thanks to Craig for sharing his thoughts on a very memorable day!
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