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).

The time 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!

Geoff and Janes Wedding
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!
What hairstyles!!

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 them up!

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 Mann, James Mann, Thomas Mann
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 Dad!

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 it!

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 now?

I'm teaching little people at a primary school in Bury.

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!

Jane Mann
Jane Mann

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