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David Enthoven: the last goodbye

EG King's RoadOn my way to David Enthoven’s funeral this morning, I walked from Sloane Square down the King’s Road and paused at No 63A, where it all began. The weather was glorious: in the perfect sunshine, it was easy to drift back to the Chelsea of an imagined and sometimes real ’60s.

David died in London last week, aged 72, five days after being diagnosed with kidney cancer. Behind that door and up a flight of stairs, he and Johnny Gaydon, his schoolfriend and first business partner, set up EG Management in 1969, with King Crimson as their first clients. Marc Bolan, ELP and Roxy Music soon joined the roster. They were great days. (And here’s the obituary I wrote for the Guardian.)

When I got to St Luke’s, a large 19th century Anglican church just off the King’s Road, it was already close to packed with people wanting to say farewell to an extraordinary man. As they lingered in the sunlit churchyard after the ceremony, the event had something of the qualities of an English garden party, which was just as it should have been.

Tim Clark, his friend and partner in IE:Music, his second management company, gave an address which stressed the life-enhancing qualities that made David special to every single member of the congregation. Robbie Williams, whose life and career David and Tim had salvaged and remade, sang “Moon River” — a lovely choice — accompanied by the acoustic guitar of Guy Chambers. Lucy Pullin and a choir sang “Angels”, which Williams and Chambers wrote after David and Tim had brought them together. Lamar led the singing of “Jerusalem”.

The congregation included Robert Fripp, the founder of King Crimson, and all five surviving members of Roxy Music from the sessions for the band’s debut album in the summer of 1972: Brian Eno, Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay, Phil Manzanera and Paul Thompson, who came down for the funeral from Newcastle, where he now plays the drums with Lindisfarne.

One of the morning’s pleasures, over which the man in whose memory we were gathered would certainly have shared a chuckle, was the sight of Fripp, Eno and Ferry (so much history there, from Ferry’s failed audition for King Crimson to Fripp and Eno’s collaboration on No Pussyfooting and beyond) joining the singing of “All Things Bright and Beautiful”. You don’t get that every day.

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Indeed great days, and lots of history/baggage …. That first Roxy album still sounds radical today. I guess no-one suggested that Fripp/Eno/Ferry joined in a version of Blank Frank from Here Come the Warm Jets….

    August 24, 2016
  2. Peter Starie #

    Lovely piece. Your blogs are always worth reading. Time for a memoir Richard?

    August 24, 2016
  3. Delicious post! There is something about the English; sometimes radical, sometimes charmingly old world.

    August 24, 2016
  4. Julia Richold #

    Heart warming piece of writing and a pleasure to read under such sad circumstances. My thoughts go out to his friends and family.

    August 24, 2016
  5. Thank you Richard for this posting. I am so sad about Davids passing. This is a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. Your photo of the door to his office is perfect. He treated me so kindly throughout the 40 years that I knew him. I am so gutted but wanted to thank you. Cheers, Sid

    August 25, 2016
  6. Yikes. I meant to put my comment here….but have put it somewhere else on your blog. Sorry. Hope you read it. Lovely post-nice to see it from another perspective. I was there yesterday but was busy serving drinks under a white marquis dotted with golden stars. Nice blog post.

    August 25, 2016

    I wonder which version of Lindisfarne Paul’s in. There seem to be/have been numerous incarnations of the name in the past 5 years or so. There’s at least two on the go currently. Like Sham 69. And Barclay James Havest.

    August 25, 2016
  8. The Great Paul Thompson (to give him his full title) appears to be in a version of Lindisfarne that contained Ray Jackson (until he retired) and still contains Rod Hull and Charlie Harcourt which is as kosher a version as you could probably get. Whether any version of the band should legitimately exist after the death of Alan Hull is another issue entirely.

    Lovely post Richard as ever.

    August 25, 2016
    • DB Cooper #

      I think you mean Rod Clements, Tim. Rod Hull was an Australian manipulator of an avian puppet, as I recall. May he and Alan Hull rest in peace.

      August 26, 2016
  9. Bill MacCormick #

    On my limited knowledge of the man, David Enthoven always came across as charming and engaging. Coming later to the show I did not know John Gaydon but DE was an excellent counterweight to the manic intensity of Mark Fenwick. For a long time, EG was the management company to be with. And then the accountants took over….
    All the very best to David’s family and friends, should they read any of this.

    August 25, 2016
    • Dear Bill — How very good to hear from you. I hope all is well. Best, Richard.

      August 25, 2016
  10. Ian B #

    Thanks Richard, I only recently discovered your blog but it’s pieces like this one that ensure I’ll keep returning.

    August 27, 2016
  11. nona* #

    thank you so much for this. I live in the U.S. and only knew David a few years but am truly heartbroken and information is hard to come by so this is a gift. He was the most generous and kind giant of a man and I cannot believe I am never going to see him again. much love to all his friends and family xxo

    August 30, 2016
  12. Paul Thompson #

    Nice one Richard ! David was indeed a special man and will be missed by all of us.
    The day was a mixture of sadness and celebration, as you would expect. It was also very warming to see old friends such as Eno and yourself .

    September 5, 2016
    • Colin Harper #

      I’m sorry I forgot to give you your full title, ass mentioned above, Paul! looking forward to the colossal Roxy first album box set (if it’s at all affordable).

      September 5, 2016

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