My first million dollar business idea was a beauty. I was only eighteen, bumming around London, scraping together a few quid working in pubs because Aussies were regarded as "hard-working" and "reliable." Some mates had a flat-share up in Kilburn and I was making my way up there by bus, sitting in the front row at the top of course, when the lightning bolt struck. Well, kind of.
I stared at the drizzly street and drab pedestrian crossing in front of me, bewildered. Although I'd never been to this part of the town before, I knew I knew this streetscape intimately. Of course! Add four Beatles, a blue sky and a Volkswagen and there I was – on the cover of Abbey Road. I was so excited I jumped off at the next stop and hurried back to walk backwards and forwards over the crossing at least a dozen times, happily singing "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" to myself.
Over the following months, rather than visiting the Tower, the Palace or any of that boring old stuff, every time I had a day off I would seek out the places in London that had a rock ‘n roll connection. Soon, I'd discovered the cover of Ziggy Stardust off Regent Street, the Get Back! rooftop, the pub in Richmond where the Stones first played and so on. Morbidly, I even found the site of the car crash that put paid to T. Rex, where some wag had etched onto the tree he had collided with: "Marc Bolan’s Last Hit." I'd take photos, jot down notes, and had decided I would publish the first ever "Rock Guide to London."
I didn't realise it at the time, but I had a great insight, perfect timing, the ideal opportunity and the passion and even the means that could have seen me launch a very successful small business - one that today is worth millions of pounds annually.
Sadly, what I lacked was the tenacity and - almost the same thing - the self-confidence to commit 100% to my idea. Several years ago I unearthed my faded photos and amateurish scribbles in the back of an old notebook. There was even a rejection letter from a book publisher I’d sent an outline to, telling me the idea “needed more work." Twenty years on, rock tours and rock guides of London (and elsewhere) have become very lucrative businesses indeed.
It's one thing to have a great idea. But you've got to see it all the way through. Or be left whistling “you never give me your money.”