There are very few times in a person’s life when they can say that they have enjoyed the company of a living legend.
But last Tuesday, The Lighthouse Church in Spalding opened its doors to Ishmael, Deacon at Chichester Cathedral, West Sussex, and perhaps the single biggest influence on children’s music in churches over the last 50 years.
Ishmael (real name Ian Smale) brought his “A Sting in the Tale” tour to Spalding but, unlike his world-wide claim to fame, this night was strictly for the adults.
Through music and words, Ishmael described how he grew up in a Christian community, firstly in Bristol and then in Worthing, West Sussex, before his teenage years signalled a dramatic downward spiral into booze and girls.
Ishmael said: “When you’re 18 or 19, you never think that you’re going to die and although everybody else might, you won’t.
“Sin is fun, but it’s expensive and it doesn’t last.”
When you’re 18 or 19, you never think that you’re going to die and although everybody else might, you won’tIshmael, songwriter, musician and Deacon at Chichester Cathedral
It was while he was studying at agricultural college that Ishmael became a Christian and started touring with long-time friend and musical collaborator Andy Piercy.
Ten years ago, Ishmael had his own brush with death when he was diagnosed with a deadly form of leukaemia for which he went through three years of chemotherapy.
Now, Ishmael is living and touring to tell the tale that “memories are great but you don’t live in your memories, you learn from them.”
Review by Winston Brown