How did you meet Geoff?
Geoff was extremely well-known amongst
my circle of female friends at Reading University, mainly for his
ridiculous sense of humour, excellent artistic talent and inclination
for consuming huge amounts of alcohol. In our last year at Uni, he
was obsessed with my best mate and did every thing he could to lure
her into his clutches, including inviting her to formal dinners, turning
up in hired suits and limos etc. Sadly, it had no real effect on her
and she sent me out with him on a kind of blind date. We went to a
little pub outside Reading and to add insult to injury I beat him
at bar billiards (at which I was usually totally hopeless).
between you starting to “go out” and “getting engaged”
and “getting married” wasn’t very long. Did you
ever imagine that such a rapid romance was a good idea? And what did
your parents say?
We did everything absolutely wrong.
A couple of days after the aforementioned pub disaster, it was Knebworth
1978 at which Genesis were headlining. A great crowd of us went with
Geoff driving the mini-bus. Our eyes met across a sunset sky (very
reminiscent of the cover of "The There Were Three") and
we fell in love to "Follow You, Follow Me". That was on
24th June. On 2nd July, Geoff proposed, I said, "Yes", my
Dad said, "Good grief" and we were married on 23rd September
the same year. We had "Follow You, Follow Me" instead of
organ music at our wedding which was very unusual in those days. We
had no money, nowhere to live and no jobs. What fun!
Shelagh Day (my sister)
Rick Battersby (Twelfth Night - Keyboards)
Edmund Geoffrey Mann and Barbara Jane Day
Pete Lawrence (Fine Artist, Best Man and fellow Godstar)
Andy Revell (Twelfth Night - Guitar)
Caroline Allen (also did Fine Art at Reading and
was Pete's girlfriend)
Pat Candler (also from Uni but can't remember what he read
- History or something)
Everyone except Shelagh eventually
graduated from Reading University in something - Andy Revell did Psychology,
Biology and Zoology, and Rick did Geology I think!
Can you remember the first you saw Geoff singing,
what did you think?
I can't actually remember the first gig
I saw him sing at but I do remember an early Godstars performance
which was erm......interesting. I also remember him appearing one
day after I'd got back from work, saying he'd written some lyrics
to the epic instrumental "Sequences" that his mates in Twelfth
Night had recorded on "Live at the Target". I really liked
their version but was impressed with his lyrics. He'd always written
excellent poetry but, to be honest, I rather hoped he'd get someone
else to sing. I felt, at the time, he was a bit like Bob Dylan - class
lyricist, tuneless singer!!
I changed my mind at Reading 1981 which was
his first major gig with Twelfth Night. I thought he was phenomenal
and very handsome in his army uniform!
Would you care to relate the story about the ladies
drooling over Geoff at a gig once?
Which one?!! There were so many! The
best was me eavesdropping on a conversation of a couple of beauties
who were waxing lyrical about Geoff, his looks, his movements, his
voice. I simply added that he wasn't bad in bed either! That shut
Were you surprised
that Geoff wanted to leave Twelfth Night?
Not at all. It's perhaps not widely known
that apart from the commuting issue (Twelfth Night were in Reading,
we lived in Salford) and that we had a new baby, there had been a
few issues about Geoff's lyrics being too overtly Christian. He's
got away with "Take a tip from the carpenter" in "Love
Song" and the whole "Collector" thing which was a type
of allegory, but a couple of members of the band felt he was trying
to preach a bit. That's why the musical style and lyrical content
of his first solo offerings were so different from Twelfth Night.
I’ve met your children and they are a fine
bunch! Did Geoff want to be a househusband or did it just happen?
It was a conscious decision which allowed
him to continue with his art, and later ordination studies, whilst
I earned the dosh. As it happens, it was obviously in God's plan because
there are very few little boys who had such undivided attention from
their Dad at such a young age. In view of his untimely early death,
this was something that they could treasure. Even Bethany, who was
only two when he died, saw more of him than most children do, because,
being a minister, he was often around during the day. He was a very
good dad and could iron and hoover much better than me!
Bethany, James, Thomas
Are there any things
about the children that remind you of Geoff?
Loads. They're all intelligent, good looking
and good to be with. Thomas, the eldest, is very sensitive, has a
whacky sense of humour and is prone to bouts of self-doubt, which
Geoff certainly was when I first knew him. James looks like him, sounds
like him, plays the guitar, writes lyrics and sings, is so laid back
he's horizontal, and is developing a bizarre, dry sense of humour,
very like his Dad's. He's also a devote Christian and has a gift of
speaking about God. People often mention how like Geoff he is. Bethany
is different because she is a girl!!! However, she also has an amazing
singing voice, is very extrovert, and loves everybody. Just like her
Can you remember Geoff telling you he thought he
should be a vicar?
I certainly can. I'd known for ages he'd
make a great minister, but I'd never talked to him about it. One day,
he told me he'd something rather serious to discuss and asked me whether
I thought it was completely off the wall, but he thought God might
be calling him to the ordained ministry. I said, "About time"
or words to that effect. He was not convinced. Almost at that moment,
our then Vicar rang the doorbell (quite an unusual event actually)
and Geoff ushered him into the house to pray about it. He said he
didn't need to - he already had, and had only been waiting for the
penny to drop for Geoff! Even Geoff's Mum wasn't surprised. Apparently
she'd been expecting it too. Geoff was the only one who hadn't sussed
Do you think Geoff saw a difference between being
in the pulpit and being in front of a microphone?
Absolutely. On stage he was a performer.
He was there to entertain, sing, express himself and have a good time.
His lyrics were important but he never saw gigs as been a means of
converting people. As it happened, they often did, but that was not
what he set out to do at a gig.
In the pulpit, he was there to preach the
word of God. He was there to save souls and lead them to the truth.
He was not a performer there, although he obviously used many of the
talents he had on stage to get his point across. That's one of the
reasons he refused to lead worship with a guitar in church. He knew
he was too much of a performer in that role.
Do you have any funny stories about Geoff that
we don’t know?
How long have you got? Life with Geoff was
hugely entertaining with never a dull moment. He was an incurable
romantic (something else James has inherited from him), had a ludicrous
sense of humour, and no respect for office or position. He used to
talk about us having "gallons of children" and he made me
a sign saying, "Bureau Sweet Bureau" when I was appointed
manager of a Citizens Advice Bureau.
He used to make me home-made cards for birthdays
and anniversaries (which despite his appalling memory he never forgot)
with the most dreadful puns on them. I've still got them all. A picture
of a golf club with "Fore" was presented to me on our fourth
wedding anniversary. I didn't get it, not being a golfer.
Once, when assembling the boys' new bunk beds,
I went upstairs to discover him lying on the floor. When I asked what
he was doing, he showed me the instructions: "Lay flat on floor"
it said. So he did.
Are you surprised
that his creativity still affects people?
Not really. I used to call him my Renaissance
man, he was so creative in so many spheres. (Hopeless at DIY though!)
He once told me that his only real ambition in life was to make a
difference in this world. I believe he did.
What are you doing
I'm teaching little people at a primary school
I gave up my full-time job as a project manager
in the Citizens Advice Bureau when Geoff was ordained. When he died,
I felt it was right to dedicate myself to the upbringing of my children.
Thankfully, the church provided us with a pension that enabled me
to do this without having to look for paid employment. I started helping
out at Bethany's school once she started in Reception and used to
take assemblies (I trained as a lay minister in the Church of England
in my spare time), hymn practice etc. One day, standing in front of
the little darlings (gallons of them actually!) I thought, "I
could get paid for doing this!" I applied to do a Post Graduate
Certificate in Education at Manchester University, got in, passed
the course, got a job about 7 minutes drive from home and I absolutely
love it. It's such a privilege touching the lives of so many children.
They're all gorgeous.
What are your favourite
songs of Geoff’s?
I've always loved "Love Song", "His
Love" and Willy Welsh". "Fact and Fiction" is
good too, especially the amazing backing vocals. My favourite album
is probably Casino. Actually, I like them all!
Anything else you’d
like to say?
Only that I think we're very blessed that
Geoff left such a legacy of creativity behind him. His music, art,
and personality were vibrant gifts which touched the lives of many
people. As Thomas said, shortly after his death, "I'd rather
have had my Daddy for the nine years I knew him, and feel like this
because he's not here now, than never have had him at all".
I wish you God's peace!