Ramases and Sel


Space HymnsGlass Top Coffin

Brian Currin

Paul Hollyer's Story:

Paul Hollyer sent me this e-mail in September 2000:
Ram & Sel were good friends of mine. I knew them from the Felixstowe days. He'd have liked your site.... for sure! He was a lovely man and I will remember him with warmth and affection forever.

After my request for more info, he sent the following e-mail on the 26 September:

Ramases & Sel at FelixstoweI met Ram & Sel when I was living in Felixstowe with my first wife Louise.I think it was either John Kitson or Mick Brand (these guys if you can findthem will have some tales too) who introduced us when R&S were living atFelixstowe Ferry, which is about 4 miles outta the town.

He was born between 1935 and 1940, as he served as a conscript in the army lateron as a PT instructor... definitely. Born in or near Sheffield.

EVERYBODY (well, all the hip dudes) knew who is was because of 'Space Hymns'and the fact that he really stood out in a crowd, but few got close. He wasa very intelligent and older man, shit, I was in my early 20's and he musthave been the same age that I am now, and he didn't ever suffer fools gladlyand cut quite a presence. He was a big fit man, as before he was into thecentral heating game, he was a PT instructor in the Army, and thereforestill very fit!!!

They moved into a new town house (with Ram's mother!!), I think it wasin Stanley Road in Felixstowe, very shortly after meeting them. Louise and Ilived 500m away in Montague Road, so we were kinda neighbours for a bit,and started to really get to know each other. Ram, the randy old sod, wasVERY interested in my missus, as she was a kinda beefier version of Sel andquite a lot younger, but he ALWAYS behaved with impeccable manners and ourrelationship went from strength to strength. We were about a lot before 'Glass Top Coffin' wasrecorded, we used to listen to him play the tunes on his guitar that went onthe album and say whether we liked them or not... my fave is still 'SalerMan'.

Glass Top Coffin InsideHe was really upset by the cover of the album. I saw the first proofs andthey weren't at all what he envisaged. The cut-out was meant to show a manfalling backwards into space into the Horsehead nebula, which when you openup the album revealed that bird. Well, he didn't like what they had done,but the artwork was completed and the record company said, that's that!! SoRam persuaded the record company to let him scratch (literally) the lithoplates before the cover went to press. He sanded down that little circlethat is lighter in the man's head that forms a part of that bird'sshoulder, and it did look marginally better. His vision was that the manwould look like he was in a space suit with helmet on, etc, etc...

He was quite an artist too, always fiddling with something in his garage. He made some really ace chess men with resin and metal dust, which lookedlike metal, but were super light. He was a whiz with an airbrush, etc, etc, and he showed me how to do marquetry, you know, working with wooden veneersetc, etc. Needless to say his efforts at making chess boards were a milliontimes better than mine.

Just after GTC was released, Louise and I moved to London. Ram & Sel werefrequent visitors, as they preferred to stay with us rather than inHotels. One day, he persuaded me that we were gonna take a wall out of myflat and stick another door way in! I wasn't at all practical way backthen, so was full of fear. Bless him, Ram took control and we did it. Thisgot me started on a lifetime's DIY and building!!

He was quite a wheeler-dealer too. On one visit to London, I think it wasthe HOT summer of '76, we were all out in his open top, very flashy sportscar, heading off to Hampstead Heath for a beer and a smoke. In the Eustonunderpass (big road thang) the traffic stopped and we had to wait for thegridlock to clear. The car let outta kinda shudder and Ram said it's thesomething or other that's on the way out. I'm gonna get rid of this car andget another one now. Within 2 hours the deal was done, Ram did a straightswap, and we were all sat in a different flashy motor while Ram rubbedhis hands in glee that the old car was gonna seize-up next time it did 10miles!!!

Boy o boy! I could go on and on... I really dunno what I should keep tomyself, as I know some unhappy stuff too and the real reason he wascalled Ramases, stuff about his suicide, etc, etc. Maybe some stuff is bestleft unsaid. I'll think about it. THE person to find is Sel really. I'mgonna put out some feelers. She was lovely, a gentle kind, sweet country galthat really stuck by Ram. He was a difficult character sometimes and whatI am mindful of, is that her privacy, if that's what she wants, ismaintained. And that the dream goes on....

Absolutely NO problem [to reprint this stuff on the website]....... I'm simply glad that folk are interestedall these years later.... he really was a memorable and striking person....I don't wanna sound 'cute', but I really do feel privileged to have met andhung out with him...... the one thing that really has always haunted me, isjust how 'predictive' GTC was... a metaphor for the guys life.....

Pual Hollyer, September 2000