JOHN Reed, one of Berkshire’s best known and longest-serving cricket umpires, has just published his autobiography – but there’s no mention of the sport, writes Dave Wright.

His book is about his early days as a drummer in a boy band. It’s called ‘Back in Time’ – and it’s a mammoth story.

​​ It is a fascinating inside look at the music industry in the Swinging Sixties, both in the UK and Germany, paying particular attention to the music club scene in Hamburg.

Sunderland-born Reed was mainly involved in two groups – The Quandowns and later Toby Twirl. For the former, it was tough going as it came at a time when Cliff Richard and The Shadows and the Mersey groups were beginning to dominate the music scene.

At times, Reed’s band were getting as many as five bookings a week, but only making around £20 a night and as he needed a new drum kit, he also got himself a job as an office boy at Vaux Breweries.

Despite making changes of band personnel – one partly due to a member having a sister with serious body odour problems – Quandowns’ reputation was growing and they were invited to appear in Germany.

So John gave up his job with Vaux in order to leave home, with the band packing into a 10-year-old Austin A4 van and heading for Hamburg.

And on the very first night, Reed certainly hit the right notes with one German girl in the audience – as she invited him back to her place and “without romance or love, my virginity was gone forever.”

The adventures and escapades of “four crazy English musicians” takes up much of the book, coming during an era when the Second World War still had deep memories for a lot of Germans.

It is a first-hand account of how music grew in popularity back in those golden years, with Reed’s group appearing on the same bill as supergroups like The Who.

When returning to England, Reed joined a different ​band​, Toby Twirl, and in January 1968 they released their first single on the Decca label.

Along the way they mixed with some of the biggest names in show business, including Freddie Starr, Little and Large, while appearing on the same bill as Tommy Cooper, Kiki Dee, Kathy Kirby, Solomon King and Lonnie Donegan.

Sadly, it wasn’t to last and his final public performance came in Hartlepool, but with Reed deciding ​it had been “one hell of a journey and I was only 22.”

His recollections of his life all those decades ago are remarkable, but as he recently admitted: “I can remember those days better than I can what I did yesterday.”

Back in Time, which is in soft-back, costs £10, is a long read and, having had a distinguished career in cricket at home and abroad, the second chapter of his life would probably be even longer if Finchampstead resident Reed decided to sit down and write it.