If there’s one thing guaranteed to put a smile on John Carter’s face it’s talking about his favourite pastime, drumming.
A life-long beneficiary of the Thalidomide Trust, from Guildford in Surrey, John has 3 children and fifteen grandchildren to keep him busy; but there’s always time for drumming.
“I’ve been drumming since I was a kid,” John explains, “I was always listening to records (as we knew them then), tapes and the radio and it was the drums that always caught my attention.
I started drumming myself when I was seven, beating my mum’s pots and pans with a couple of wooden spoons. It drove the neighbours mad but I just kept on practising until I felt I was getting it right.”
John knows a good drummer when he hears one but isn’t influenced by any one specific artist.
“I take things from different drummers, they’ve all got something different to learn from,” he comments, “I’m partially dyslexic so I can’t read music, and I’ve never had a lesson in my life. It’s just something you pick up and go with.”
As well as gaming on his PlayStation, or playing snooker down at the local club, John spends a lot of his spare time on drumming.
In 2018 he formed a band with some friends and family and gets a lot of enjoyment from practising with his co-musicians.
“We got fed up with there never being a band at our local club,” he explains. “It was always a disco with a DJ and flashing lights, which is no good for my wife as she suffers with epilepsy, so we suggested that it might be better to have a band and now she can come down to the club without worrying.”
“We’re practising so that we can play at the club. We play old and new songs – from rock and roll to country and western. My wife thinks we should call ourselves Limited Edition – I’m very short so I’m limited, our singer is a young girl so she’s limited, we’ve got an old rocker so he’s limited – and then there’s my nephew who used to be a goth – he’s definitely limited!”
When it comes to drumming limited is definitely NOT a word you could use to describe John.
“Being small and having disabilities doesn’t affect my drumming at all,” he says, “You can adapt your drum kit to your size so it’s really not a problem; and I just pick up those drumsticks and play.”
Drumming has made a real difference to John’s life and he would encourage everyone to have a hobby that absorbs them.
“It gets me out, meeting other people.” He says. “People ask me how I manage to play the drums and I just say ‘well, I just pick up the drumsticks and do it. Could you do that?’ that pulls them up short!”
“Seriously, though,” John laughs, “I just love the drums. Me and my mate were packing up our gear the other day and we were buzzing. There’s nothing quite like a good drum session.”