Jamie Fogg - A Worldly Man
Image I first met Jamie on October 8th 2001 at a Peter Hammill gig in Norwich, although we had exchanged a few emails prior to that. Together, and with Mike Spindloe's support, we had planned to take over the "Pawn Hearts Society Archive". Jamie would actually look after the material, but I would scan it all and make it available for fans to see on my website. Knowing that we were both going to the gig, we made an arrangement to meet. He sent me the photo on the left, taken recently at a barbecue. Hmmmm... I thought, shouldn't have much difficulty spotting him in a crowd!

We duly met at the gig and headed for the pub afterwards, along with a small crowd of "aficionados", none of whom I had previously met, but many of whom would become friends. This band of fans, who went to every Peter Hammill concert that they could possibly manage, were good fun, and in subsequent years it has always been a pleasure to meet up. I won't attempt to name everyone - you know who you are.

The Pawn Hearts Society Archive eventually arrived on Jamie's doorstep in mid-November 2001 and we made a tentative plan to get together to see how to handle this large amount of material. It would take a weekend, we decided, and one was pencilled in for early January 2002.

And thus early one Saturday morning, I found myself driving down to Farncombe, which is next to Godalming in Surrey, to spend the weekend with someone that I barely knew. I think my wife thought it decidedly odd. Jamie had brought in supplies - enough bottled beer to quench the thirst of a thousand men. Virtually every available space in the kitchen was occupied by beer bottles, and good beer at that. I was introduced to Pete, who was Jamie's lodger. Pete is an ex-rock band promoter and latterly mental nurse, who doesn't like Peter Hammill or Van der Graaf Generator! This could be interesting.
We started on the beer fairly early, and also the scanning. During the day I found out a little of Jamie's history - he was divorced, had a girlfriend with the same name as his ex-wife (Jan), two grown up kids (Martin in the army, married to Katy, and Emma, a physiotherapist), and was a complete VdGG nut. It seemed to me that he was thoroughly taking advantage of the fact that he was once more independent, his wife and kids no longer living with him, and living life to the full. In that house lived two middle-aged, long grey-haired men, who basically could do exactly as they wished.

Around 7pm, Jamie informed me that they usually head down to the local pub, "Scratchers". It became apparent that not only were these guys living the life of Riley, but they also lived near the best pub in the world! Scratchers is the perfect local. Great beer, atmosphere, and good bands at the weekend.
Gus Dudgeon was in there that evening.

One thing that I had also noticed when I first arrived at Jamie's house, was that there were CDs everywhere. Every available space in the kitchen was occupied by beer bottles; every available space in the lounge occupied by CDs. I didn't realise at the time - I thought that it was the norm - but there were stacks of CDs on the dining table that almost reached the ceiling, which Jamie was in the processes of "re-arranging". He seemed to know where any CD was though. We came back from the pub fairly late and Jamie got the Scotch out. There then ensued a game, whereby Pete and I took it in turns to make a (non-PH/VdGG) music request. Jamie would then find whatever CD or track from this vast collection. He was doing pretty well until one of us asked for "All the Young Dudes" by Mott The Hoople. He took some time to find this and apparently the CD was near the bottom of one of the piles, because there was a god-almighty crash as thousands of CDs cascaded down around his head and onto the floor. CD carnage! He took all this in his stride, walked back over to the hi-fi and said "found it!"

I stayed with Jamie on several subsequent occasions - another "scanning" weekend, and after a couple of Peter Hammill solo gigs in London. I got to know Jamie and always enjoyed his company. The thing I liked about him most was his positive outlook on life. I can see why his favourite Van der Graaf track was "A Place to Survive". He always tried to make it to Peter Hammill gigs and enjoyed "the Craic" as much as the music. Getting together with a group of like-minded people, having a few beers and a laugh, were important to him. This took on a new significance when Van der Graaf Generator reformed in late 2004 and performed in 2005. He went to many of the gigs, and always liked to be in the front row.
Guy Evans: "I was sad to get your news which set me brooding about friendship, loss and shared experience. I didn't know Jamie but I did know "the balding one with the long grey hair and beard" from the air of affirmation and focus he gave out. Despite the highs it was never that easy to step out onto a stage pushing sixty and re-enter a world created in your youth. Spotting Jamie in the front row was always a steadier and reminder of what it was really about. People like him made it all happen and were as much a part of the rare energy of those gigs as the band."

In July, Jamie and I drove down to Italy in my car, stopping off in France on the way there and on the way back. Van der Graaf Generator were playing in Gardone Riviera, a small town on the SW bank of Lake Garda. A stunning location for a gig. This was one of the few gigs that wasn't well attended by the usual gang - Francis and Willi made it from Switzerland, but no-one else from the British contingent apart from Jamie and myself. We did however run into Nic Potter, and had a few beers with him before the show.
Nic Potter: "Really sorry to hear about Jamie Fogg. I do indeed remember him - I enjoyed the beers and jovial chat as we sat at the outside table prior to the concert. It was a very memorable evening."
Something happened at that table which I've witnessed a couple of times, and I'm sure that Jan has many times. Jamie would engage people in conversation and talk about this and that - he was never short of an opinion - and at some point it would emerge that he worked at The Treasury. This would often be followed by a few seconds of open-mouthed silence from the person who didn't know Jamie too well, whilst they struggled in their minds with an image of a pin-stripe-suited civil servant. Jamie didn't exactly fit that stereotype.
The day after the Gardone show, we said goodbye to the Swiss guys and wandered into town for lunch by the lake. After lunch we found an outside cafe and sat overlooking the lake. The waitress brought the drinks menu, and under "Birra" were listed several sizes of beer that could be ordered. These started at the smallest, which was probably something like 0.20l, and ended up at one litre. Jamie of course went for the biggest: a litre tankard. I went for something slightly smaller and knew from past experience that it was pointless trying to keep up with him. We somehow failed to move from that spot, eventually being kicked out at about 1am. We had nothing further to eat and the bill was just for beer - 15 litres of it! Image
Francis, Jamie and Michael
We talked about many things that afternoon, and after a fair few ales he explained to me that there was something in his character which made everything he did, somehow "extreme". He used the word extreme. This included things like ordering the biggest beer, sitting on the front row at concerts, and taking part in risky sports. He also had a large "Blood and Custard" livery model railway collection - a very large collection. He had thousands of CDs and admitted that he would never have time to listen to them all - he just had to have them.
Jamie and Sean Kelly
I was also interested to hear a little more about Jamie's past-life, and quite amazed to hear that his immediate family; mother Chris, father Jim and younger brother Stuart, had moved to Australia when he was at University in Glasgow. Jamie decided not to go and for all intents and purposes lost contact with them. Stuart and his wife Pam visited the UK in October 2003 and got together with Jamie, who decided to make a trip to Australia to see his parents. This he did in 2004 and saw his father, who has Alzheimers disease, for the first time in 25 years. He hadn't seen his mother for 13 years. He returned to Australia in 2005 and had planned to visit every year from then on.
I last saw Jamie on April 11th. I was on my way home having just got off the plane at Gatwick, and coincidentally, although he was on a train, and I was in a car, we happened to be about two miles from each other when I called him. He jumped off the train at Guildford and we went for a pint and something to eat. He was on his way back from visiting his newly born grand-daughter, Zoe.
This is the way that Jamie announced the birth to his friends: "Just to let you guys know I'm now a grandfather and have resolved to clean up my act, become responsible, cut my hair, shave off my beard, keep sensible hours, stop buying CDS and listening to strange music, retire and join a celibate silent religious order; become teetotal and stand for the European Parliament. One of these pronouncements is definitely true and I leave it to those who know me to guess which ..."

We, his friends are going to miss Jamie. As I write this some of you will be attending Jamie's funeral and it makes me sad that I cannot be there. But my thoughts are with you, Jan and Jamie's family. Peter Hammill and the other members of the band send their condolences.

Phil Smart - May 18th 2006.

"Jamie had been admitted to the Royal Surrey County Hospital on Friday May 5th for a minor problem, and was to be discharged on Sunday. He died at 10.05am on Sunday May 7th of a massive pulmonary embollism from a deep vein thrombosis. Death would have been instantaneous as the blood supply was cut off from the heart. He would have known nothing and did not suffer. It could have happened at any time." - Jan.