This page is not meant to be a copy of the message board, but will contain the words of Ann Gray, Nicki Sizer and Nick Sizer, at minimum.
It is also intended to contain any and all Press Cuttings that we can obtain. There is one we have from the Richmond And Twickenham Times, that was a locally-based newspaper delivered in the area of Alan's "London Residence".
If anyone has a copy of the cutting from a magazine called "Music Week", please could you get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Nick Sizer
My first memory of my Dad, is of him coming home from work (back when he still had to wear a suit!) with a present for me. As far as I can remember, it was a piece of track for a wooden "Duplo" train set I had at the time...
Throughout the 22½ years I knew my Dad, despite various crimps and possible embargos that were placed upon either of us, I always felt he was a great "giver"! This continued into my mid-teens: when he had learned to cook (I've been fortunate enough to inherit a sizeable chunk of his untensils and - hopefully - his techniques!) and whenever I'd have friends over, he would would always offer food. The soon-to-be-infamous dish of "it'll just be pasta" soon became renound throughout those "priviledged" to have tasted it, not only through it being incredibly tasty and a great stomache-liner; but also the sheer amount that would magically appear from the kitchen, and the unbelievably short amount of time it would take to cook! Through further strange coincidence; rummaging through Alan's desktop-computer looking for some evidence of legal-documents, for my (entirely inciteful and helpful) solicitor 1 : I have found a document entitled "Pasta cacciatore al Me.doc". Given enough preparation time (no doubt much more than the original Gould Rd Chef) I will probably unleash it upon the surrounding populace; otherwise known as "my mates"...
This viewpoint I think sums up precisely how Alan played (repeatedly) to his strengths: that he could provide something for everyone.
1 You know who are! Thank you for everything!
Nick Sizer, August 2005 & March 2006
From Beth Staff
I've known Alan ever since he met Ann as she is my Nan. I have always admired his ability to play the guitar. I have fond memories of him sitting on the end of my bed sending me to sleep by playing "Last Thing On My Mind" by Tom Paxton. Whilst Ann and I would sing along as best as we could but we needed to be constantly prompted on the lyrics. Then I asked him if he could teach me to play he seemed really pleased that I had asked him.
After very few lessons I was able to play the music that I loved and that was all down to his amazing teaching skills. For eg I would bring him a album of mine and within listening to it once he could write down the cords to it then play it back to me.
I'm glad now that I managed to see him so often and get to know him so much more.
I told my friends and family about how brill he was but now I think it's time the world knew.
October ' 05
From Nicki Sizer
Alan and I first met at RCA Records in 1976 when I was the promotions department secretary and he was head of A' & R'. We got to know each other very well and starting "going out", conducting a relationship across the open plan office via discreet (we thought) internal phone calls.
Al was living with Mars (A.K.A. Peter Cowling) in Richmond. Their relationship was very unusual, Mars was the bass player in the Pat Travers band and Alan was paying the rent. They divided domestic duties by Mars doing the cooking and Al bringing home the dough. The movie "The Odd Couple" was mentioned on many occasions! When it became time for me to move from my flat, Al said "why don't you move in with me and Mars? ". I think he frightened himself with this bravado, but I did [move in] and it worked out.
Al was out watching bands every night and I often went with him (many evenings we went to three gigs a night). I remember the most extraordinary mixture of laughter and Al living every moment with true passion and, of course, his love for music. (I still think this is where I became prematurely deaf!) The house was always full of "muzos" - Mars plugging in his bass in the small hours and, when he felt like it, banging saucepans together in the kitchen - if only to wake us up on a Saturday morning.
Our wedding followed in 1978 and the reception was conducted in a marquee in my parents' garden. The guests were an eclectic, strange combination of friends, many in the music business and various Admirals, Sirs and Ladies from my parents' side together with our wonderful families. True to form, Al did not see the need to adhere to social expectations particularly in dress code [it is believed this is where I get it from! - Nick]. I remember a certain midnight blue velvet suit made to measure in Carnaby Street (which I see [Jessica Goold] encountered some years later!!) After this we moved to our first house in Brook Road, St. Margaret's and in 1982 Nick was born.
Music was always Al's passion. I felt slightly in awe of his background at Cambridge but he never made me feel in any way an outsider of this area of his life. His intellect and his love of the written word inspired me, and my father and he spent many hours discussing poetry and swapping repartée.
As many of you will know, Al was also a rugby player. His swiftness of step, helped by incredibly long legs, made him a player on the wing. There were many Old Boy Pursian vs. Cantab's matches that we went to. His playing career couldn't last forever - latterly I think on three occasions we ended up in casualty - so that pursuit came to a natural end, much to his chagrin. This did not stop his love for attending Internationals at Twickenham with various "old boy" connections and, once again, our house was full of people following and sharing their own particular love of rugby.
He taught me so much about living life to the full. His philosophy of "do what you want to now because this is all you get" shone through. His humour was always prevalent in any situation and a particular delight to me, his friends and colleagues. His sense of fun and being able to send himself up made him much more than a "larger than life" character; in many a family photograph, where everyone else posed normally, there would be Al strutting his stuff.
We lived in various houses in St. Margaret's and were blessed with wonderful neighbours while Nick was growing up and he and I both have some great memories of this time. Sadly our relationship did not last, but Al and I managed to remain friends and saw each other often to catch up on news and share a bit of time together with Nick.
I am so delighted that he met Ann and they shared a precious few years together. He found where his heart lay once again and was able to indulge his passion for trees in Cornwall.
I will miss Al as my friend and as my son's father - he could never have given me a greater gift than the joy that is my son Nick. I will never forget him and I miss him as a truly great man, whom I was very lucky to know.
From Ann Gray
I have had an overwhelming number of letters and cards of sympathy and these have been a bigger comfort than I could have guessed. Replying to you all will take time, but I have been very grateful.
I know that Alan bored all his colleagues at work with our story, but for those of you who don't know: Alan and I first went out together when I was 17 and he was 19. We both grew up in Cambridge and met at all the parties, and down at the Mill, where Alan and Pete Atkin would play guitar.
At that age we never have all the answers and make plenty of mistakes. We stayed friends for years, often jealous of other relationships, but somehow doing nothing about this! Alan tells me he was forced to give up hoping when I had not only married but had children without him! We met again in 1999 and it was as if time had stood still. Whilst we acknowledged the many good things that had come out of the intervening years (like Nick, Penny, Will, Toby and Sam!) we were also glad - as Alan liked to put it - to draw brackets around those years and start again.
We divided our time between Twickenham and Cornwall, and were counting the years for Alan to retire so that we could live together. We snatched holidays whenever we could, making the most of every half term and weekend. We had 5 brilliant years and I thank him for every minute of it. I miss him horribly.
I hope many of you will join us on the 29th,
From Peter Born
As spoken at Alan's Funeral by Peter Born, Alan's nephew:
I'd just like to say a few words about my Uncle Alan. I'm not very articulate, so please don't expect an eloquent speech.
I first knew my Uncle as someone I saw at Christmas and sometimes other times of the year. He was just some bloke who had a nice dog called Jasper, who I liked to play with. At Christmas I used to get records from him with fairy tales on which I still remember to this day. One of them scared the hell out of me - [I'll] never forget that!
As I grew older, I started to understand why I got records for Christmas! My Uncle was in the record industry. This still didn't mean that much to me, but in the end I realised what this actually meant. He used to go to gigs all over the place, listen to bands play and if he particularly liked a band, they would get a record contract and substantial amounts of money. This was actually a great job - probably quite taxing though. I then started to realise that my Uncle Alan was not just some bloke, he was my Mum's brother and he was cool! He knew all these famous people, he went to college with Clive James, he went out with the woman who did the voice overs for Bod on tele' and knew people from Pink Floyd. He wasn't just cool, he was like 'the Fonz'! I heard him talk about Peter Gabriel and Vangelis. Vangelis was even going to give him his DX7 when he'd finished with it. He took my Grandma to dinner with Level 42 for Heaven's sake. That [was] amazing - I had their albums at home! My Uncle was some serious dude!
As I grew older still, my Uncle started to become my friend. He'd come down at Christmas and we have a drink together - just the one of course - bottle of wine that is. He came down to stay for a week at my parents house with Nick one year, and I went to Weymouth to stay with him and Nick during one summer.
We all really got on like good mates - drinking, talking, having a laugh. I could take Alan down the pub with my mates and it was OK, he was alright - not like taking your Dad on a night out - sorry Dad.
It's a shame I only got to know my real Uncle Alan in the past few years, but I'm glad to see how happy he always was. He loved Nick and Ann to bits.
He did teach me a thing or too over the past few years though. Here are just a few:
- You're never too old to get a girlfriend!!
- He taught me how to open a bottle of Champagne without spilling any - this went down very well with her indoors!
- Always drink quality tea!
- Smoking pot isn't actually that bad!
I'll never forget him, and I'll never forget his dubious taste in films!
Top geezer my Uncle Alan, my friend!
From The Richmond And Twickenham Times, page 8, January 14th 2005