Childhood memories with Gareth Howells

Gareth Howells
Gareth Howells

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Gareth Howells is the frontman of Guide Award-winning band Bemis and has lived all over Portsmouth. Gareth, 40, and his band will perform live and acoustic on Thursday at Gunwharf Quays’ free Chilled Waterfront Sessions from 6pm to 8.30pm. Also on the bill is James George. Here he recalls some of his fondest memories.

What is your earliest childhood memory?

I have a clear image of my dad sitting by his bar in the front room, listening to Simon and Garfunkel. I was about three. He left a few years later, but that image has always remained strong in my mind.

How was school?

I was really chatty, drew cartoons and messed around a lot – but I worked hard too. I took school for granted and enjoyed it too much.

What did you get up to with your friends?

I spent my childhood either at the beach or down Milton Park. Football was a constant. We often spent the morning and early afternoon by the blocks, swimming as far as we could before the risk was too serious and going down to the arcades. Then we’d play football at Canoe Lake until it got dark, with 1980s rock blaring out of a ghetto blaster.

What do you remember about your birthdays?

I remember picking the Bamboo House a lot as my treat. Chinese is still a favourite with me now.

Any clothes that stick out in your memory?

I wore a lot of band T-shirts and jeans.

What music did you listen to?

Being an ’80s kid, there was obviously Eurythmics, Bryan Adams, Queen, Howard Jones, Police, Talking Heads, XTC and Kate Bush. I was also delving into blues, metal, ’50s rock’n’roll, Beach Boys and ’70s prog rock.

What did you watch on television?

In the early years I was into Muppet-related stuff. They had a huge influence on my sense of humour and imagination. Also He-Man and Battle of the Planets. As I got older, I was into Twilight Zone, Miami Vice, Starsky and Hutch and Star Trek.

What sweets did you eat?

We used to make frequent trips to Gilberts in Milton Road. I bought chocolate limes and sweet peanuts. With sweet peanuts you get the added bonus of the paper it comes in too.

What toys did you play with?

I had loads of Star Wars figures. We used to get together to play those. As my mates got Spectrums and Commodore 64s, my house had a Binatone TV gaming system.