The British Beat Poet
Who was backed by The Shadows, Jimmy Page then The Beatles
When they were still unknown
Biography & Work
Royston Ellis is a British writer, biographer and poet. As poet, he’s the main British representative of the Beat Generation. England's answer to Allen Ginsberg. As Richard Tresillian, he wrote The Bondmaster series of historical novels.
Born Christopher Royston George Ellis, on February 10, 1941, in Pinner, England, he attended state school there until the age of 16.
After he left school in 1957, he had various jobs: office boy, duster salesman, gardener, milk-bottle washer, building labourer, and farm hand.
In 1959, by the age of 18, when he started to publish poems, heavily influenced by the American Beat poets such as Jack Kerouac or Allen Ginsberg, he already wore a beard, looking like a beatnik.
Since April 1958, “Beatnik” was coined by Herb Caen, San Francisco Chronicle columnist, to describe followers of the Beat Generation.
He began his career with two poetry collections: "Jiving To Gyp" (1959) and "Rave" (1960).
In the following years, he performed these sequences of poems on stage and TV (e.g.‘Living for Kicks’), accompanied by rock music. His mix of poetry and rock music was called "rocketry. From 1960 to 1961, he was backed by some of greatest British Beat Musicians such as The Shadows, Jimmy Page (later of Led Zeppelin) and the Beatles when they were still unknown. It was Ellis who suggested these latters spell Beetles with an "a" instead of the "e", as they were inspired by the Beat generation and played beat music.
In 1960 for his literary achievements he was awarded the title Duke Gypino de Redonda by the king of that Caribbean island.
In 1962, he left England for a life of travel – “always on the road” as Jack Kerouac would have suggested. This long trip took him to Berlin, Moscow, Guernesey, the Canary Islands, the Maldives, Dominica and finally Sri Lanka where he now lives since 1980.
During his trip to Moscow, he appeared with the Russian poet Yevtushenko. In the Canary Islands, he acted as an Arab with Cliff Richard in the movie "Wonderful Life". In Guernesey, in Summer 1963, he met up the fab Four once again and later inspired them two songs: "Paperback Writer" (Parlophone single, 1966) and "Polythene Pam" (Abbey Road, LP, 1969).
From 1966 to 1980 he lived in Dominica, becoming President of the Dominica Cricket Association, a member of MCC and of the Windward Islands Cricket Board of Control. There, he became the estate developer for the Marquis of Bristol and a Reuters correspondent. He also edited “The Educator”, a journal favorable editorially to the Premier, Edward Le Blanc.
In 2003 was appointed as the Warden of the Galle District for the British High Commission. He writes travel features for inflight, international and Sri Lankan magazines.