My famous friend – The Green Bard who upset Simon Cowell

Stand By Me

As always at this time of year I went to Stonehenge for the summer solstice. This time I took an old friend with me, Steve Andrews, who I’ve known for nearly fifty years.

He lives in Portugal now. I picked him up at Gatwick, after which we drove on to Wiltshire. We spent the night at the monument and then several days at a B’n’B in the beautiful, historic city of Salisbury.

It turns out I was travelling with a celebrity.

Steve is also known as The Green Bard and was on Britain’s Got Talent last year. Yes, that’s right: he’s the one with the green beard who sang Stand By Me and who got all the girls to join him on stage.

Well I vaguely knew about this at the time but, not being a fan of Britain’s Got Talent, hadn’t paid much attention.

It turns out he made quite an impact. Looking at the clips now, it seems clear to me that Simon Cowell didn’t so much dislike the performance as the fact that Steve was upstaging him on his own show.

When Steve first appears Simon smiles at him indulgently. It’s after Steve’s announcement calling on people to join him that the host’s face drops. When people start getting up out of their seats you can see him glaring over his shoulder. It’s at this point that he slams his hand upon the buzzer and Steve is ejected from the show.

This is a pity. Steve has a very good voice and is a singer/songwriter of some distinction. Stand By Me is usually the finale of his set, not the opening number. Most of the rest of the songs are his own.

I asked Steve why he didn’t perform one of his own numbers? It was the Britain’s Got Talent crew who had encouraged him to take this approach, he told me. Simon Cowell had not been informed. The whole thing was a ploy to create a spectacle and deliberately designed to annoy the famously grumpy impresario.

“That’s it, you can all go back to your seats now,” he says, in his best schoolmasterly voice, revealing what had really irritated him about the performance.

‘Sex Drugs’

I also read some of the newspaper reports from the time. It’s the one in the Daily Star which gives the most authentic flavour.

Britain’s Got Talent’s green bearded singer Steve Andrew is a secret wand-waving wizard who promotes “sex drugs” and believes he’s been abducted in aliens (sic),’ it says.

Never mind the terrible grammar, or the fact that they got his name wrong, all of this is complete baloney.

The ‘wand-waving wizard’ line probably stems from the fact that Steve is a practising Druid, though not at all secretive about it: hence his presence at Stonehenge with me.

The reference to ‘sex drugs’ comes from the fact that Steve is the author of a number of books on plants, some of which do indeed have aphrodisiac properties.

As for the belief he’s been abducted by aliens, he once appeared in a TV programme, called Weird Wales, where he was given regression therapy; which is when he made that strange announcement, under the influence of hypnosis.

Steve has never been shy about self-promotion. Britain’s Got Talent wasn’t the first TV programme he’s been on and it’s unlikely to be his last.

He’s led a varied and interesting life and I’m proud to call him my friend. Everywhere we went in Salisbury people were complimenting him on his beard, which he continues to dye a vivid, fluorescent green.

Well it’s one way of getting yourself noticed.

*************

IMG_20180623_133223305
Steve Andrews “A practising Druid” at Avebury: June 2018
Steve Andrews was born in Cardiff, Wales but is now based in Portugal, after living in Tenerife for nine years. He is known as the Bard of Ely, a name dubbed by Big Issue Cymru back in the late ’90s, when he was a columnist for the publication, and it refers not only to where he had been living but also to his work as a singer-songwriter, performer and poet. As the Bard of Ely he has played at Glastonbury Festival and the Green Man Festival and has two of his songs on the Green Man Festival CD album on Double Snazzy.
Andrews has written for many publications including Kindred Spirit, Celtic Life International, Prediction, Living Tenerife, Welsh Coastal Life, Mediterranean Gardening and Outdoor Living, Bee Culture: The Magazine of American Beekeeping and Permaculture magazines, as well as having been a contributor to the Tenerife Weekly, Tenerife Sun and Tenerife News newspapers. He also writes for the Ancient Origins website.

In the late ’90s he worked as a TV presenter on the BBC Choice magazine series In Full View in which he was out and about in the countryside looking at the plants and animals. He has also appeared on many other TV programmes including Weird Wales on HTV Wales, Roll Over Beethoven on BBC2 and The Slate on BBC1.

Books by Steve Andrews

Herbs of the Northern Shaman by Herbs of the Northern Shaman

From Morning Glories and Magic Mushrooms to Belladonna and Buttercups, Steve Andrews delves into herbal magic and mystery.

Pagan Portals - Herbs of the Sun, Moon and Planets by Pagan Portals – Herbs of the Sun, Moon and Planets

The planets that rule over herbs that grow on Earth.

PUBLICATIONS: Big Issue Cymru, Kindred Spirit, MyHerbs, The Magical Times, Permaculture, Welsh Coastal Life, Celtic Life International, Mediterranean Gardening and Outdoor Living,  Bee Culture The Magazine of American Beekeeping, National Federation of Occupational Pensioners (NFOP), Prediction, and Living Tenerife magazines, as well as Tenerife News, Tenerife Weekly and the Tenerife Sun newspapers, and the Huffington Post, Tripedia and Ancient Origins websites.

More on Steve Andrews by CJ Stone

Three Mixmag Stories Featuring Steve Andrews, the Bard of Ely

Steve Andrews, The Bard of Ely, in Tenerife

Housing Benefit Hill: Rubber soul

CJ Stone’s Britain: On the scrapheap (Swansea)

Prediction magazine: Elvis has left the haunted building

12903285_f520
‘Rubber soul’: illustrated by Ian Pollock in the Guardian Weekend, January 6th 1996

From The Whitstable Gazette 28/06/18

The editor welcomes letters on any topical subject, but reserves the right to edit them. Letters must include your name and address even when emailed and a daytime telephone number.

Send letters to: The Editor, Room B119 Canterbury College, New Dover Road, Canterbury CT1 3AJ

fax: 01227 762415

email: kentishgazette@thekmgroup.co.uk

29_06_2018 10_48 Office Lens
Shortened version as it appears in the Whitstable Gazette: note the absence of ‘sex drugs’.
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3 thoughts on “My famous friend – The Green Bard who upset Simon Cowell

  1. Reblogged this on Steve Andrews Writer and commented:
    I am very happy to be written about in this news story by CJ Stone – thank you again, Chris – in which he examines what happened when I appeared on Britain’s Got Talent last year.

    Like

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