David Giles and his wife Elaine have lived in Marbella for the last three years. / SUR

A life that beats to music and sunshine

David Giles: the concert promoter talks to SUR in English about how a Berkshire police officer ended up rubbing shoulders with celebrities in Miami

ASH MAER

Born in Reading, he grew up in a council house in Newbury and left school at the age of 16 to become a labourer at a local building site.

Then, at 19, he joined Berkshire Constabulary as a police officer, a force which later became known as Thames Valley Police.

"I loved my time in the police," he said.

"I've had a full life and enjoyed it and I want to continue to do that. I'm looking forward to a few challenges and fun times ahead. That's me"

"I became a Sergeant at 23 and was seconded to New Scotland Yard to become part of an undercover surveillance team. I had long hair and drove a GPO van with a busby on it; that was my undercover van and we used to follow people around London."

But after moving back to Reading and getting divorced a few years later, David decided to leave the police at 29 so that he could start a business called Sun Coast Select Holidays - taking tourists to Florida.

David, who celebrated his 71st birthday last Tuesday, explained: "I really enjoyed the police and the camaraderie. But to be perfectly honest, I had gone to Florida on holiday and had a great time and I didn't want to go back to wearing a uniform, and in those days, you had to go back to wearing a uniform in order to get promoted."

But after his business failed in the early 1980s due to the collapse of sterling, he decided to move to Miami in 1984 to start all over again - something he described as a "life changing" moment.

Over the next two years he "got lucky" after meeting Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood. The pair became friends and business partners, with David opening a nightclub called 'Woodys on the Beach', in South Beach.

He explained: "When I first arrived in South Beach it was a lot different. It was full of pink-haired ladies with white poodles, but I thought it was unique because the beach was phenomenal and the weather was great. I saw an opportunity to develop this nightclub."

The nightclub was a success and years later he sold it off for a good profit, which allowed him to buy other night clubs and restaurants in Miami.

In total, David spent 30 years in Miami and watched the city grow "tremendously".

And that's where he met his American wife, Elaine, 27 years ago, while at a friend's house party.

But was it love at first sight?

"Maybe for me, but definitely not for her," he laughed.

Three years ago the pair decided to move permanently to Marbella, as Miami had "grown too big", according to David.

But this wasn't their first time here on the south coast of Spain. Over recent years David had branched out into concert promoting, and has helped bring big names such as Seal, Simply Red, George Benson, Van Morrison and Avicii to the Costa del Sol.

But frustratingly, the Covid pandemic has prevented him from organising any concerts for the best part of two years - although he expects to bounce back in 2022 with a number of events around Europe.

Explaining his love for organising concerts, the dad of three and Southampton FC supporter added: "I like to do live events, from creating it to seeing the people jumping in front of the stage and having a great time. So it's been a pretty frustrating two years as I haven't been able to do that."

And when asked about some of the celebrities he has met over the years, he confides that he has a few favourites.

"I liked Seal, he is a really great guy, smart, intellectual. I love his talent and he is good company. Nile Rodgers and George Benson, I liked them a lot. I've also been to dinner with Bill Clinton at a function in Connecticut before. Bill was a lovely guy, I really liked him a lot. I'd like to have lunch with him again actually. And I also met the Queen while doing guard duty as a policeman in London."

As for what the future holds living in Marbella, he said: "I'm 71 today and I'm thinking what a great life I've had, as I've been very fortunate. I'm very excited for the future. You always have a few regrets about things you could have dealt with in better ways, but I've had a full life and enjoyed it and I want to continue to do that. I'm looking forward to a few challenges and fun times ahead. That's me."