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Heroes & Friends
Ginger Mills

Unless you happened to live in the St Albans area of Hertfordshire in the 60s and 70s or were a reader of the early issues of ZigZag magazine, the chances are that you will never have heard of Ginger Mills.

Ginger Mills Ginger was a true elemental, a wild man who lived on the very edges of society. a colourful character and the stuff of legend. A figure who inspired Jez Butterworth's recent critically-acclaimed West End play, 'Jerusalem'.

Ginger was born in London in 1937 but being an orphan was raised by nuns in Worcestershire - as a teenager he sported the latest teddy boy styles.

He eventualy gravitated to the popular Bertram Mills Circus where he worked variously with the elephants and as a bare-knuckle fighter, but as the 60s wore on he packed the circus life in and lived around St Albans where he became a familiar sight to locals with his cowboy hat, tattoos and leather waist coast and belt. He was even followed around by a BBC film crew!

He became part of the notorious French Row scene that also included singers, Mac MacLeod and Mick Softley, and became a close friend of the Edgar Broughton Band.

Disillusioned by the changing face of St Albans he drifted back westwards in the 80s to Evesham where he died in 2008 aged 70.

Poet and writer Jeff Cloves, a friend of Ginger's and another long time resident of 'Snorbens' celebrated Ginger in the pages of first ever issue of Pete Frame's wondrous Zigzag magazine and the poem is reprinted here (large image) - thanks to Jeff and Pete.

Ginger - we salute you!