Search

‘He got expelled for nutting the teacher’: Friends of glam rock icon Marc Bolan look back on 40th anniversary of his death

PUBLISHED: 12:31 16 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:09 18 September 2017

Marc Bolan holding a 1968 Gibson Flying V guitar which he used during a 1972 Top Of The Pops performance of Get It On. Picture: Keith Morris/PA Archive

Marc Bolan holding a 1968 Gibson Flying V guitar which he used during a 1972 Top Of The Pops performance of Get It On. Picture: Keith Morris/PA Archive

PA Archive/PA Images

“I was always a star, even if it was only being the star of three streets in Hackney,” Marc Bolan reportedly used to quip.

Marc Bolan pictured with his girlfriend, American singer Gloria Jones, at a party thrown by Rod Stewart in June 1976. Picture: PA Archive Marc Bolan pictured with his girlfriend, American singer Gloria Jones, at a party thrown by Rod Stewart in June 1976. Picture: PA Archive

The sequined glam rock god sold millions of records with T. Rex thanks to his innovative take on rock ‘n’ roll and legendary Top of the Pops performances that captured the hearts and ears of teenagers everywhere.

But before all that he was Mark Feld, of Stoke Newington Common – number 25, if you want to see the plaque – a smartly-dressed mod who could often be seen at Stamford Hill’s bowling alley and the arcade known as “the schtip” (a Yiddish word meaning “taking money”).

Born at Hackney General Hospital on September 30, 1947, Mark – and his brother Harry – attended nearby Northwold Primary School, where he formed his first skiffle band aged nine.

Then his dad brought him home Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock, rather than the Bill Hayes record he had asked for, and everything changed.

Miki Simmonds (left), Peter Sugar and Mark Feld, later Marc Bolan, in a photo from 1962 supplied by Hackney Museum to coincide with a 2012 exhibition. Picture: Town Magazine/Don McCullin Miki Simmonds (left), Peter Sugar and Mark Feld, later Marc Bolan, in a photo from 1962 supplied by Hackney Museum to coincide with a 2012 exhibition. Picture: Town Magazine/Don McCullin

On Saturday the world of music celebrated the life and music of Marc Bolan on the 40th anniversary of his tragic death in a car crash in Barnes, south west London.

To mark the occasion, the Gazette spoke to some of his old friends from the area to find out if he really was the “star of three streets”.

Peter Willis was one of Marc’s best friends at William Wordsworth secondary and sat next to him in class.

“He was a nice guy but he was a bit of a hard nut, and he’d nut you,” Peter told the Gazette. “He was always a mod. Even when he was 13 he used to shop in Cecil Gee’s.

Flower tributes to Marc Bolan at Golders Green Crematorium to mark the 35th anniversary of his death in 2012. Picture: Dieter Perry Flower tributes to Marc Bolan at Golders Green Crematorium to mark the 35th anniversary of his death in 2012. Picture: Dieter Perry

“I’ve got a friend who went out with him for a few weeks and he used to send her poems. The teacher caught him one day and turned round to Mark and said: ‘You’re never gonna make anything of yourself.’”

He added: “You either liked him or you didn’t. He wasn’t flash, but he was always smart.

“And then he got expelled. He’d done something wrong and he went to see the headmaster, or the deputy headmaster, Mr Pearson. He said he was going to give him the cane and Mark said no. He told him to hold out his hand and Mark nutted him.”

Marc moved to Wimbledon and Peter didn’t see him again – except on TV.

"He was a nice guy but he was a bit of a hard nut, and he’d nut you. He was always a mod – even when he was 13 he used to shop in Cecil Gee’s"

Peter Willis on Marc Bolan

“I loved his music but I never went to see him play,” he said. “When I heard on the news he’d died I was gutted. I used to work on the buses out of Tottenham. I used to go to Richmond on the weekend on the 73 and it went through Barnes. I remember seeing all the flowers and the tree. It still don’t seem like 40 years ago.”

Lyn Rennick met him at the Marquee Club in Wardour Street when she was 13.

“I was far too young to have been there and I was on my own because none of my friends were allowed to go or couldn’t afford to,” she said. “He could see I was really young and he was worried about me being ‘up west’ on my own, especially in Soho, in a club.

“This was before he was famous and was singing under the name of Toby Tyler. He was amazed when I said I was from Stokey and I went to his old school, and also that my granddad was Polish and Jewish just like his was.

A giant white swan at Marc Bolan's funeral, Golders Green Crematorium, September 1977. Picture: Press Association A giant white swan at Marc Bolan's funeral, Golders Green Crematorium, September 1977. Picture: Press Association

“He insisted on making sure I got home safely so came with me to the 73 bus stop and made sure I got on the bus. He made me promise not to go up there again on my own. I said I wouldn’t but the next week there I was again.

“He then kind of became my personal minder, making sure I was OK. I got to meet a load of famous people, some long before they were famous, through him. I think some thought I was his little sister. He was the perfect gentleman.

“Then years later I was watching TV, and there he was with a mass of curls and glitter on his face – nothing like he was when I knew him.

“I was gobsmacked. But he was so determined to be a big star I just knew he would make it, and he did. He had a great determination. He knew what he wanted and he went out and got it.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hackney Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hackney Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hackney Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hackney Stories

33 minutes ago

The 36-year-old is hoping the team can build on their last two results, but knows Macauley Bonne will be a big miss at Plainmoor

40 minutes ago

England’s women saw their Hockey World League Final gold-medal hopes shattered by a late New Zealand winner in their semi-final on Friday.

07:59

The first Test remains nicely poised after the second day of play at The Gabba, with Australia reaching 165-4 in reply to England’s first innings score of 302.

Jessica Odeleye won this year’s Fiorentini’s Got Talent show after stunning a panel of celebrity judges with her dramatic dance routine, performed to Save Me.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has singled out two talented young guns from his second-string side for special praise – despite losing 1-0 to Cologne in their Europa League clash in Germany on Thursday.

Yesterday, 21:16

Read the transcript of Arsene Wenger’s press conference after Cologne beat Arsenal 1-0 in the Europa League in Germany on Thursday evening

Cologne beat Arsenal 1-0 in their Europa League match in a frenzied atmosphere in Germany on Thursday night.

Yesterday, 17:00

Owner Bobby Kasanga hoping it will be a chance for inmates to learn about rehabilitation and successful stories of life after prision

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists