I went by train to London the other day at the invitation of a friend and one of the funniest and talented man alive, 74 years young Paul Trevillion. He was launching his new book 'You Are The Umpire', illustrated by him and in cooperation with former cricket player and test umpire John Holder.
The event was at the iconic media centre at Lords Cricket Ground in St. Johns Wood, home of the M.C.C.(Marylbone Cricket Club) and Middlesex CCC, and the most famous cricket stadium in the world. The media centre looks like some giant space ship, made of aluminium, and was constructed in a Cornish shipyard and shipped in sections to West London. There can be no more luxurious press box in the world. When you have to spend up to 5 days to report on a Test Match, in print or on radio and television, journalists definitely appreciate such a spacious and comfortable place to work.
Paul was born in (appropriately), Love Lane,Tottenham in 1934 and as a young Spurs fans drew his heroes while standing on the terraces at White Hart Lane. For 50 years he has illustrated his feature, 'YOU ARE THE REF' in 'The People', in 'SHOOT' magazine and most recently in 'The Observer' each Sunday. It is now available on line at www.guardian.co.uk. He had published his book YOU ARE THE REF in 2006 and I was delighted for him to sign my copy and pose for photos with me. Stanley Lover, Clive Thomas and now Keith Hackett have provided the testy questions and answers.
He has published at least 20 books and in the '60's worked in the USA for Mark McCormack at IMG. Gary Players Golf Classic was syndicated in 300 newspapers world wide, the largest syndicated sports feature of all time. Also illustrated features on Pele, Bobby Moore, George Best, Franz Beckenbauer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Sugar Ray Robinson and more.. After Winston Churchill left Parliament, Paul drew a charicature which the great man signed, the only portrait he ever signed. It is now in the Winston Churchill Museum.
Paul's nickname is 'The Beaver', and he also held and defended his World Speed Kissing Record. I don't known if he had to kiss on the lips or elsewhere, or if his nickname had anything to do with it!!. He was a neighbour of Paul 'Gazza' Gascoigne, and he has met lots of stars including Elvis and Frank Sinatra, but claims that George Best was the nicest person of them all. He was also a stand up comedian, and was on the bill with such stars as Norman Wisdom and Bob Monkhouse, and he illustrated the kids comic strip 'Roy of the Rovers', which was made into a short film, 'ROY' at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
I have mentioned in previous blogs how in 1972 he persuaded manager Don Revie to make Leeds United more sexy with pre match warm ups at Elland Road, a hit record, and the fondly remembered sock ties which the players such as Billy Bremner, Jack Charlton, Peter Lorimer, Johnny Giles and others would throw into the crowd at the end of the match. One of his most controversial illustrations was of a nude Evonne Goolagong, the Australian Wimbledon champion, for 'The Sun'.
One of his greatest admirers was Milt Neil an animator with Walt Disney. He said that it took them 20 drawings to capture the movement in one of Paul's. He dressed up as DJ Bear as The Panda of Peace, to help calm down soccer hooligans. and has been called a 'lunatic genius'. Keep on sketching and making us smile, Paul.