Who would have thought Temple Street was a hotbed of musical talent? And that a UK Number One single was partly recorded at Number 36? Sam Preston's departure has thrown a spotlight on a surprising side of the Street
|Sam Preston – ex Big Brother star, ex Ordinary Boy, now a successful songwriter|
When he came to live in the street, he was still attracting the attention of the tabloids, still prime celeb mag fodder. Patient papperazzi sat outside in their cars, waiting to spring out to take a lucrative pic or two when he ventured out.
Eventually, it all quietened down and Sam – the name he now prefers – has lived at Number 36 on and off for 11 years and now, along with his partner Emily Smith, he is decamping to a four-bedroomed house in Brixton. Soon after Celebrity Big Brother finished, Sam he had married Chantelle in 2007, but the couple announced their separation a year later.
"It all seems so long ago, and as if it all happened to someone else," he says, "although I do still get reminded. The other day a man in the street shouted 'Oi! Preston! My sister named her son after you!'"
|Onstage with The Ordinary Boys|
|Chantelle and Preston – as seen on Big Brother|
It must be said he does seem to be rather accident prone. Sam's most recent mishap (and his last, we hope) was on September 1st last year and it was no laughing matter. He plunged off a hotel balcony in Denmark, four stories up, and broke his arm, shoulder blade, leg and pelvis. "I'm metal right through from here...to here," he told us, pointing from his ankle up to his shoulder. "I went to the toilet in Temple Street – or so I thought, half asleep in the middle of the night – and woke up days later in a Danish Hospital. I was barely conscious for a week.
"I had tubes sticking out of me everywhere, and my leg, which had been pushed right back behind my head by the fall, wasn't at first actually attached to my body. When I opened my eyes one day I saw a nurse quietly weeping in the corner of my room. I asked somebody why, and I was told she'd been to a 'grief meeting' about my death, and then she'd come in here and found me still alive."
As soon as Emily heard about the accident, she took the first flight over, and she looked after me from that moment," he said. For six months residents of Temple Street saw her gamely pushing him around in a wheelchair. It wasn't an easy recovery. At one stage Sam says he was told he'd be seriously disabled for life 'but I wasn't going to give in to it.' September 1st is s significant date to him for another reason – he hasn't touched alcohol since.
|Sam and Emily in August last year|
|Ollie Murs – Sam co-wrote his second Number One single|
Temple Street's connections to the music industry don't stop there. For a year, Sam's maisonette was rented out to a friend, the singer-songwriter Lucy Spraggan, who was the only contestant on the X-Factor to score a top 40 single and album before the live shows had even aired. Her career is currently very much on the up, says Sam.
|Lucy Spraggan – spent a year at Number 36|
|Juanita Stein and Howling Bells|
Metronomy's Joseph Mount, who used to live above the pizza takeaway
Meanwhile Sam and Emily are flitting this nest of musical talent for South London, and they have announced that they are going to be married next year. So it's goodbye, good luck at avoiding future accidents and many congrats from us.Many congrats to the happy pair from the staff of the Irregular!
Before we left him to get on with his packing, Sam said the nicest thing: "Leaving Brighton is hard," he said, looking down our road at the shimmering sea. Then he looked at the colourful little terrace of houses across the road. "But it's not half as hard as leaving Temple Street."