Stand By Me
He lives in Portugal now. I picked him up at Gatwick, after which we drove on to Wiltshire. We spent the night at the monument and then several days at a B’n’B in the beautiful, historic city of Salisbury.
It turns out I was travelling with a celebrity.
Steve is also known as The Green Bard and was on Britain’s Got Talent last year. Yes, that’s right: he’s the one with the green beard who sang Stand By Me and who got all the girls to join him on stage.
Well I vaguely knew about this at the time but, not being a fan of Britain’s Got Talent, hadn’t paid much attention.
It turns out he made quite an impact. Looking at the clips now, it seems clear to me that Simon Cowell didn’t so much dislike the performance as the fact that Steve was upstaging him on his own show.
When Steve first appears Simon smiles at him indulgently. It’s after Steve’s announcement calling on people to join him that the host’s face drops. When people start getting up out of their seats you can see him glaring over his shoulder. It’s at this point that he slams his hand upon the buzzer and Steve is ejected from the show.
This is a pity. Steve has a very good voice and is a singer/songwriter of some distinction. Stand By Me is usually the finale of his set, not the opening number. Most of the rest of the songs are his own.
I asked Steve why he didn’t perform one of his own numbers? It was the Britain’s Got Talent crew who had encouraged him to take this approach, he told me. Simon Cowell had not been informed. The whole thing was a ploy to create a spectacle and deliberately designed to annoy the famously grumpy impresario.
“That’s it, you can all go back to your seats now,” he says, in his best schoolmasterly voice, revealing what had really irritated him about the performance.
I also read some of the newspaper reports from the time. It’s the one in the Daily Star which gives the most authentic flavour.
‘Britain’s Got Talent’s green bearded singer Steve Andrew is a secret wand-waving wizard who promotes “sex drugs” and believes he’s been abducted in aliens (sic),’ it says.
Never mind the terrible grammar, or the fact that they got his name wrong, all of this is complete baloney.
The ‘wand-waving wizard’ line probably stems from the fact that Steve is a practising Druid, though not at all secretive about it: hence his presence at Stonehenge with me.
The reference to ‘sex drugs’ comes from the fact that Steve is the author of a number of books on plants, some of which do indeed have aphrodisiac properties.
As for the belief he’s been abducted by aliens, he once appeared in a TV programme, called Weird Wales, where he was given regression therapy; which is when he made that strange announcement, under the influence of hypnosis.
Steve has never been shy about self-promotion. Britain’s Got Talent wasn’t the first TV programme he’s been on and it’s unlikely to be his last.
He’s led a varied and interesting life and I’m proud to call him my friend. Everywhere we went in Salisbury people were complimenting him on his beard, which he continues to dye a vivid, fluorescent green.
Well it’s one way of getting yourself noticed.
In the late ’90s he worked as a TV presenter on the BBC Choice magazine series In Full View in which he was out and about in the countryside looking at the plants and animals. He has also appeared on many other TV programmes including Weird Wales on HTV Wales, Roll Over Beethoven on BBC2 and The Slate on BBC1.