Royston Ellis

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Royston Ellis, (born Christopher Royston George Ellis, 10 February 1941 in Pinner) is an English novelist, travel writer and erstwhile beat poet.

Ellis was educated at state schools in Middlesex until he left age 16, determined to be a writer. Two years later, his first book, Jiving to Gyp, a sequence of poems, was published and he performed his poetry on stage and TV to backing by Cliff Richard's original group, the Shadows; by Jimmy Page, later of Led Zeppelin; and by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Stuart Sutcliffe who become famous as the Beatles, a spelling Ellis urged them to use, putting the beat into Beetles.[1][2]

In June 1960, he travelled to Liverpool, England to perform a poetry reading at Liverpool University. As he usually read his poetry with backing from jazz musicians, Ellis searched among the locals for suitable musicians to accompany him and met the young group known as the Beatles.[3]

Ellis bonded with John Lennon in particular, both sharing an enthusiasm for the American Beat poets, and spent the week at 3 Gambier Terrace with Lennon, Sutcliffe, et al.[4] Lennon saw Ellis as "the converging point of rock 'n' roll and literature".[5]

Ellis said of the meeting, "I was quite a star for them at that time because I had come up from London and that was a world they didn't really know about".

According to Lennon in the International Times: "The first dope, from a Benzedrine inhaler, was given to the Beatles (John, George, Paul and Stuart) by an English cover version of Allen Ginsberg — one Royston Ellis, known as 'beat poet' ... So, give the saint his due." Ellis also claims that he suggested the re-spelling of Beetles to Beatles.[3]

Ellis's later novel, Myself For Fame (1964), about a fictional pop star, with a chapter set in Liverpool that seems to recount his experiences with The "Beetles" in 1960.[3] Ellis is one of the people the song "Paperback Writer" was based on, quoting a comment he had made years earlier while in Liverpool, and was also present at a liaison between Lennon and "Polythene Pam" in Guernsey in 1963.[6]

In 1980, John Lennon said the following:

That was me, remembering a little event with a woman in Jersey, and a man who was England's answer to Allen Ginsberg...I met him when we were on tour and he took me back to his apartment and I had a girl and he had one he wanted me to meet. He said she dressed up in polythene, which she did. She didn't wear jack boots and kilts, I just sort of elaborated. Perverted sex in a polythene bag. Just looking for something to write about." [5][7]

He wrote two books in 1959 & 1961 about touring with Cliff Richard & The Shadows, republished in 2014 by Tomahawk Press as a Rock and Roll Memoir.[8]

In 1960 Royston Ellis caused a nationwide controversy by his remarks on teenage lifestyle in the TV programme Living For Kicks. In 1961 his book survey of pop music at the dawn of the Swinging Sixties The Big Beat Scene was published, reprinted with additional comments in 2010 by Music Mentor Press.[9]

For his literary achievements Royston Ellis was awarded the title Duke Gypino y Tintinabulation de Redonda by the king of that Caribbean island.[10]

At 20 Ellis retired from the teenage beatnik and rock and roll scene and left England permanently for a life of travel that took him to East Berlin and Moscow, where he read his poetry on stage with the iconic Russian poet Yevgeni Yevtushenko. Then, via Guernsey where be became a registered ferry boat engineer, he sailed to the Canary Islands and acted as an Arab with Cliff Richard in the movie Wonderful Life. He stayed in Las Palmas for three years, becoming the editor of the islands' English language newspaper, The Canary Islands Sun, and wrote three novels.[11]

He hiked around West Africa then landed up in the British Virgin Islands before settling, in 1966, in Dominica where he wrote the best-selling Bondmaster series of historical novels as Richard Tresillian; as well as becoming President of the Dominica Cricket Association, a member of the MCC and of the Windward Islands Cricket Board of Control and a Life Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society.[12]

In 1979, after his hillside log cabin in Dominica was blown down by Hurricane David, he moved to Sri Lanka where he still lives in a colonial cottage overlooking the Indian Ocean.[5] [13]

The author of over 60 published books (guides, novels, biographies and volumes of poetry) he also writes travel features for inflight, international and Sri Lankan magazines.[14][15] A collection of his beat poetry called Gone Man Squared, was published by in the United States by Kicks Books, an associate of Norton Records in 2013. A selection of his oeuvre was being published by Kicks Book for Kindle as ebooks during 2014

Published Works by Royston Ellis[edit]


– Jiving To Gyp (Scorpion 1959)

– Rave (Scorpion 1960)

– The Rainbow Walking Stick (Scorpion 1961)

– Burn Up (Arts Council Music Viva script 1962)

– A Seaman's Suitcase (Scorpion 1963)

– The Cherry Boy (Turret 1966)

– Gone Man Squared (Complete & Unabridged) with an introduction by Jimmy Page, Kicks Books, New York City, 2013. (ISBN 9780965977791)


(as Royston Ellis)

– Myself For Fame (Consul 1963)

– The Flesh Merchants (Tandem 1966)

– The Rush At The End (Tandem 1967)

– A Hero In Time (Times, Singapore 2000)

-Season of the Peacock (in “What Love Is” short story collection, Arcadia Books, 2010)

(as Richard Tresillian)

– The Bondmaster (Sphere/Warners, 1977)

– Blood of the Bondmaster (Sphere/Warners, 1978)

– The Bondmaster Breed (Sphere/Warners, 1979)

– Fleur (Sphere/Warner, 1979)

– Bondmaster Fury (Sphere, 1982)

– Bondmaster Revenge (Sphere, 1983)

– Bondmaster Buck (Sphere, 1984)

– Master of Black River (Futura 1984)

– Black River Affair (Futura, 1985)

– Black River Breed (Futura, 1985)

– Bloodheart (Sphere, 1985)

– Bloodheart Royal (Sphere 1986)

– Bloodheart Feud (Sphere, 1987)

– Giselle (Sphere 1988)

– Bloodheart (Sri Lanka 2009, in Sinhala)


– Driftin’ With Cliff Richard (Chas Buchan, 1960)

– Rebel, the story of James Dean (Consul 1961)

– The Big Beat Scene (Four Square 1961)

– The Big Beat Scene (Music Mentor Books, 2010)

– The Shadows By Themselves (Consul 1961)

– A Man for All Islands – President Gayoom of Maldives (Times 1998)

– Toni, the Maldives Lady (Times, 1999)

-My Log Book, 1947–2008: Ali Umar Maniku (Singapore 2010)


– India By Rail (Bradt 1989, 1992, 1995)

– India By Rail (in German, 1990)

– India By Rail (in French, 1993)

– Bradt Guide to Mauritius (Bradt, 1988 – 2014)

– Bradt Guide to Mauritius (in German, 1990)

– History of the Grand Hotel (Sri Lanka, 1991)

– History of the Tea Factory Hotel (Sri Lanka 1993)

– Sri Lanka By Rail (Bradt 1994)

– Seeing Sri Lanka By Train (Sri Lanka, 1995)

– Bradt Guide to Maldives (in Italian, 2008)

– Bradt Guide to Maldives (in Russian, 2009)

– Bradt Guide to Maldives (Bradt 1995, 2000,2005,2008)

– A Maldives Celebration (Times 1998)

– Festivals of the World: Trinidad (Times 1999)

– Festivals of the World: Madagascar (Times 1999)

– On The Wings Of Freedom (Sri Lanka, 1998)

– The Sri Lanka Story (Sri Lanka, 2002)

– Bradt Guide to Sri Lanka (Bradt, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014)

– Story of Full Moon (Maldives 2003)

– Story of Baros (Maldives, 2004)

– The Growing Years: History of the Ceylon Planters' Association (Sri Lanka, 2004)

– Insight Pocket Guide to Maldives (Insight, 2006)

– Twenty Years Uncovered: The MAS Story (Sri Lanka 2008)

– Indian Railways Handbook (2008)

– Berlitz Pocket Guide to Maldives (Berlitz 2007)

– Great Train Journeys of The World (Time Out, 2009, contributor)

– Sri Lanka Step by Step (Insight Guide 2010)

– The Kurumba Story (Maldives, 2012)

– Baros A Legend (2013)


  1. ^ Ugly Things, Fall/Winter 2013 (King of the British Beatniks).  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Williams, David (2009). The First Time We Met The Blues. 
  3. ^ a b c Lewisohn, Mark (2013). The Beatles: Tune In, All These Years. 
  4. ^ Sutcliffe, Stuart (2002). Stuart Sutcliffe: The Beatles Shadow. 
  5. ^ a b c Turner, Steve (2006). The Gospel According to the Beatles. 
  6. ^ Turner, Steve (1994). A Hard Day's Write, the story behind every Beatles' song. 
  7. ^ Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying. St Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0312254644. 
  8. ^ Turner, Steve (1993). Cliff Richard, the biography. 
  9. ^ Kureishi, Hanif; John Savage (1995). The Faber Book of Pop. 
  10. ^ Allen Smith, Warren (2002). Celebrities in Hell. 
  11. ^ Barker, Nick (2008). Groovy Old Men. 
  12. ^ Allen Smith, Warren (2011). In The Heart of Showbiz. 3.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ Harry, Bill (2009). Bigger Than The Beatles. 
  14. ^ Nicolson, Dave (2011). Jet Harris, In Spite of Everything. 
  15. ^ Ida Kar, Bohemian Photographer by Clare Freestone & Karen Wright. 

External links[edit]