It’s fame at last for St Neots songwriting pair

THE winner of The Hunts Post Almost Famous song writing competition, announced at a celebration gig at The Golden Lion in St Ives on Sunday night, was the duo Mark Wilks and James Proctor. The singer and guitarist, both from St Neots, said they were overj

THE winner of The Hunts Post Almost Famous song writing competition, announced at a celebration gig at The Golden Lion in St Ives on Sunday night, was the duo Mark Wilks and James Proctor.

The singer and guitarist, both from St Neots, said they were overjoyed that their song, When We Were Young, had managed to impress.

"It's the first rung on the ladder," said Mark. "We hope this has put us on the map. It is definitely a big start for us."

James, who has been playing the guitar since he was eight and went to Longsands College, said: "We are shell-shocked. It gives us bragging rights. We get some stick at work for being in a band, but it's good fun and we love it."


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Both musicians work at Myers Rubber and Plastics in St Neots. Mark and his wife, Belinda, are expecting their first child in October.

Mark said the song was inspired by his childhood. He went to three secondary schools, starting at St Ivo, moving to Hinchingbrooke when the family moved to Huntingdon, and finally going to St Peter's, which he preferred.

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Seven acts played at the gig, which was hosted by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire presenter, Jeremy Sallis. But these had to be whittled down from the 50 bands and songwriters - all from Huntingdonshire - who entered The Hunts Post competition.

Chris Boland, one of the two writers of the Almost Famous column and one of the three judges, said: "When We Were Young is just the type of song that I hoped would win the Almost Famous song competition. As a recorded track it's a very rough diamond, but with a sparkling song inside. The track begins with a cough - then a second or two of silence. Then the song begins. An acoustic guitar, a passionate down-to-earth voice and beyond that the song is left to shine."

He added: "There's no getting away from the Noel Gallagher influence in both the singing and the subject matter. It's a young adult's look back at his childhood, perhaps addressing a brother or a friend.

"With the sadness of the melody and many perfectly observed childhood recollections, this has an emotional punch that for me, made it stand out. It was my favourite track and another judge's second choice - quite impressive out of a pack of 50 songs."

The judges, music writers Chris Boland, Paul Richards (who writes the column as Richard Paul) and Amy Hodgkinson, said they would not announce the marks of the other songs, but I was Wrong by Trevor Jones was a clear runner-up. This song was the only one to receive marks from all three judges, but missed out on the top spot by a single point.

Chris said: "I'm not sure the Golden Lion is used to having seven acts on a Sunday night - but we showed it could be done - just. I have to thank everyone at the venue on behalf of all the groups - Stuart Wilkin the manager and Trevor Newling the soundman especially.

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