He’s the author of over 60 published books: guides, travel books, novels, biographies and volumes of poetry.
Volumes of Poetry:
• Jiving To Gyp (1959)
• Rave (1960)
• The Rainbow Walking Stick
• The Mattress Flowers
• The Cherry Boy
• Driftin' With Cliff Richard (with Jet Harris, 1959)
• The Big Beat Scene (1961)
• The Shadows By Themselves (1961)
• Rebel, the story of James Dean (1962)
• A Man for All Islands
• Toni, the Maldives Lady: My Story (1999)
• Myself For Fame (1964)
• The Flesh Merchants (1966, Canary Islands)
• The Rush At The End
• A Hero In Time (2001)
• Sweet Ebony (Kenya)
As Richard Tresillian:
• The Bondmaster (Windward Islands)
• Blood of the Bondmaster
• The Bondmaster Breed
• Bondmaster Buck
• Bondmaster Revenge
• Bondmaster Fury
• Fleshtraders (Mauritius)
• Master of Black River
• Black River Affair
• Black River Breed
• Bloodheart Royal
• Bloodheart Feud
• India by Rail (1993)
• Sri Lanka By Rail
• Bradt Guide to Mauritius
• Bradt Guide to Maldives
• Bradt Guide to Sri Lanka
• Festivals of the World: Trinidad
• Festivals of the World: Madagascar
• A Maldives Celebration (With photographer Gemunu Amarasinghe)
• The Sri Lanka Story
• The Growing Years, 150 years of the Ceylon Planters Association
• History of the Grand Hotel
• History of the Tea Factory Hotel
‘Jiving to Gyp’, released in 1959, was dedicated to Cliff Richard.
Royston Ellis: “My first book, Jiving to Gyp (gyp means hell) published when I was 18, contained raunchy atheistic poems.”
‘The Big Beat Scene’ was one of the first-ever books about the British music scene. It still stands up as an appraisal of early British rock ‘n’ roll
‘Myself For Fame’ (1964) about a fictional pop star, with a chapter set in Liverpool recounting his experiences with The "Beetles" in 1960.
Royston Ellis: “I based a chapter on the Jacaranda in a novel I wrote in which the Beatles feature as the Rythmettes.”
‘The Bondmaster’ described the lives and loves of 19th century West Indian whites and the workers on their estates.
‘Fleshtraders’, again about 19th century miscegenation and adventures, set in Mauritius.
‘A Hero in Time’ (2001) details the atrocities of the 16th century Portuguese in their attempts to convert to Christianity and colonize the Islamic Maldives.
‘A Man for All Islands’ is a biography of the Maldives former president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who was a good friend of Ellis.
‘Sweet Ebony’ is a fiction which follows the travels of a group of Americans through Kenya, in which these characters echo the Beatniks of generations past.
Excerpts Poems by Royston Ellis
JIVING TO GYP and RAVE
The two books are sequences of poems that tell a story.
…my idea was to get young people interested in poetry so I thought of performing it with rock music instead of with classical or jazz music as some poets were doing.
“For an Old Man’s Sorrow” and “Rouse, Fizzle & Plop” originally appeared in “THE RAINBOW WALKING STICK” by Royston Ellis "to commemorate his twentieth birthday on February 10, 1961, and his attainment of middle age, Royston Ellis respectfully dedicates this pamphlet to the friends of his teenage years."
"Break me in Easy" was the poem Royston read backed by the Beetles at the Jacaranda Pub, in Liverpool, in early June 1960.
His new concept of poetry/rocketry consisted in fusing highbrow spoken verse together with lowbrow – or, rather, no-brow – live Rock’n’Roll.
“For an Old Man’s Sorrow”
Straight sears of taut temptation
Like a warm trickle of weary disgust.
Whelp and flow for an old man’s sorrow
And his struggle to tumble tonight.
A smiling creature smelling sweet
Shouting and strutting so young
Was a whisper of some secret wish
To an old man’s mind torn by time…
“Rouse, Fizzle & Plop”
No One is to blame
The Newspapers were rustling to work
When I saw
Wheeled up Wardour Street
Someone spoke. He was
A seraphic sort of fellow
Blotched by gnat bites
Clean as a queer…
“I suppose I read these at the session attended by John Lennon (and Bill Harry) in the audience at Liverpool University. However, the poem I read backed by the Beetles was called "Break me in Easy" and Paul [McCartney] remembers it to this day (he quoted it to me when we met by chance in a bar in Paris in 2006).”
"Break me in Easy"
break me in easy.
Sure I'm big time,
cock-sure and brash,
but easy, easy,
break me in easy.
Sure they've been others,
I know the way...
(From Rave published by Scorpion Press, May 1960)
“When I met Paul [McCartney] in the bar at Le Bristol in Paris in 2006, after a few minutes of conversation, he - without any prompting from me - quoted the poem to me, but suggested it was better if it began:
squeeze me in easy.”
It was pretty impressive to hear Paul remembering one of my poems 46 years after we performed it together at the Jacaranda in Liverpool!”
The performances were very informal and only for a few minutes
The Shadows, the Beatles or Jimmy Page
They were all different. Obviously the Shadows were smoother and more
professional. I performed only once with The Beetles (as they then
were) at the Jacaranda Club ….
It was only later when I read the letter in International Times from John
Lennon about he and Paul, Stuart and George backing me, that I recalled
it had happened. Jimmy Page was very dedicated to my poetry, understood
it, and we worked well together, producing a dramatic presentation that
was well received both on Tv and stage (London's Mermaid Theatre).
John Lennon writing in International Times 31 May-13 June 1973 issue stated: "Royston read his poetry whilst we played 12/bar blues at the local in-place.”
an interview with Hank B Marvin by Paul Guy, Sweden, 2002.
“There was a book written in about 1961, I think - ”The Shadows By Themselves”, it was called. By Royston Ellis. He was a young ”Beat Poet”. He wrote very off-beat poetry, but he like to recite it to music, and we did a couple of gigs for fun with him - Jet Harris, Tony Meehan and myself. And we just played absolutely - drivel. It was totally free-form rubbish, we’d just get a beat going, it was absolutely shocking stuff. And he would sit there and be going ”Ah-be-dum-be-dum”... He was an early hippie, he had the hair and the beard, which in 1961 was very far out. He was only a young guy, in his early 20’s I think - a very bohemian character. But it was fun.”
THE BIG BEAT SCENE is to be published again in April 2010 by Music Mentor Books (www.musicmentor0.tripod.com)