"I NEARLY DIED,"
SAYS ROBIN GIBB
(Charles Aitken, Fab 208,
Wearing the lucky white heather, not walking under ladders
and following the black cat trail are things that Robin Gibb does to try and avoid
calamities, but he still manages to bump into every disaster going! We're not
superstitious but we're keeping our fingers crossed for him!
If luck was a commodity which could be bought in packets like cornflakes, Robin Gibb would
have his home stacked high with the stuff! As it is, the ex Bee Gee is very careful never
to walk under ladders, he'll walk miles out of his way to keep on the same side of the
road as a black cat, and he's a sucker for gypsies with their "lucky" white
Why this obsession with Lady Luck? Well, because since Robin's schooldays he has been
dogged with misfortune and has had close brushes with death on four occasions.
"I don't know why I've been picked out," Robin told me at his Knightsbridge
home, "but I hope whoever is responsible for almost killing me off has realised that
I'm not quite ready for it yet. The first time was in Sydney when I must have been about
eleven or twelve. I had been out for a ride on my bike and was on my way home. I had to
come down a steep hill and suddenly remembered I had no brakes.
There was a delivery van just in front of me, and the driver signalled to pull into the
kerb. Quick witted as ever," he smiled, "I decided to get between he van and
pavement, and slow down by holding on to the door of the van. Well, I managed to get
between the van and the kerb, but my back wheel just touched the van's wheel and that was
the last I knew for a while. Even my bell couldn't save me that time!
I was unconscious for two hours and I had amnesia for another six. People passing by
thought I was dead, there was so much blood all over the road." By the time Robin had
his next narrow escape, the Bee Gees had been formed and were on the path of fame and
"We were coming back from a gig," he said, lighting a cigarette, "Barry,
Maurice and myself were in the car and our father was driving. It was a nice straight
road, we were in a good mod, and dad pushed the car up to eighty. Suddenly it overturned
and we were flying through the air. None of us had time to do anything except close our
eyes and put our hands together.
Eventually the car stopped. When we climbed out we had a good look at each other and were
so surprised that we still had all our limbs, that we burst out laughing. Later we
discovered the car had skidded into a fence and ripped it right away from the posts for
about three miles.
Somehow, and to this day I don't know how, the word got back to Sydney (which was about
three hundred miles away from where we were) that the Bee Gees had been killed.
The radio stations started playing all our records and reading out messages of sympathy.
When we got home safe and sound it was almost as if they were annoyed to see us after
crying their eyes out for nothing. But the disc jockeys got their own back and the next
record we released "Women and Wine" was a gigantic flop."
The Hither Green rail disaster in 1967 had a lot of Bee Gee fans biting their nails and
then glowing with pride. For Robin was in that terrible crash and astounded himself with
his bravery. He rescued his girl-friend Molly, now his wife, and then went back to help
others to safety.
"I was taking Molly home to Hastings," he told me, "and the train started
to jolt. Molly said it was always a bit rough over that stretch, but it got worse and I
knew something was wrong. Before I could do anything the train was lurching to one side. I
remember reaching up for the emergency chain, missing it and falling down.
It seemed as if I was falling over Niagara Falls in a barrel, tumbling over and over.
Instinctively I reached out for Molly and held her tight. There was glass falling
everywhere and I heard someone screaming. When the train came to a stop, I picked myself
and Molly up off the floor and scrambled out.
I don't think I've ever been so physically scared in my life. I mean, once you've got in a
train you imagine you are perfectly safe. I doubt if I will ever be able to travel over
that stretch of rail again."
The fourth, and most recent, near departure of Robin was on his honeymoon.
"Honeymoon," he laughed, "that could well have ruined my marriage. We had
booked a chalet near Geneva, but it just so happened that the travel agent had forgotten
to tell me it was right in the middle of the landslide season. The chalet was nothing more
than a wooden hut, stuck on the side of a mountain miles from anywhere.
One night, the snow came down in a solid sheet. With it came half the mountain, right
outside our little hut. I couldn't open the door to get out, we had no telephone, no food,
one tiny stove and a little fuel. There was only one thing to do, huddle together for
warmth and nibble each other's ears for food.
The following morning was New Year's Day and a taxi drew up outside the front door. Yes a
taxi. It was a friend I had invited up and forgotten about. He produced a bottle of Scotch
from his pocket, and we set about welcoming in the New Year right away. Then we all jumped
back in the taxi and flew on to Paris for a real honeymoon."
These four tales of woe seem to have left their mark on Robin, who's thinking of taking up
escapology as a hobby.
"Because I've had these narrow escapes," he said, "I've learned to
appreciate the little things in life. I still remember that train crash and thinking I was
going to die. I don't have nightmares about the accidents, but when I do think of them a
cold shiver runs up my spine."
One thing is certain. When Robin visits New York you won't find him going down any coal
mines. The "New York Mining Disaster 1941" might prove to have been too much of
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