Brian Gibson: record company press officer and Brighton Argus journalist

Brian Gibson, who combined a life in journalism with his love of music, film and theatre, has died at the age of 65.

Brian was the main advertising and feature writer of Argus Property, the property supplement of The Argus, Brighton, until his retirement in May.

Working for Newsquest in Sussex was his final full-time job in a career which saw him mix with pop, theatre and film stars and gain friendship and respect everywhere he worked.

Brian died of heart failure at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, on 4 February after being treated for throat cancer diagnosed in November.

He had been looking forward to retirement at his Worthing home with his partner, Pam, and continuing his friendship with many showbusiness friends.

One of his closest friends was actor Chris Ellison, who plays DS Burnside in the TV series The Bill.

Ellison, who visited Brian in hospital days before his death, said: “I have lost a friend and a source of great knowledge. We spent many hours together. He was such a wit, who lived such an interesting life. He was a great guy and great company. Mention any name from the Sixties and Seventies and the chances are that Brian would have met them. I am in deep shock. It is terrible he has died before he could really enjoy his retirement.”

Brian joined the Leader, the sister series of The Argus, as a freelance reporter at the old Argus House in Brighton, in 1987. He moved on to The Argus as a full-time writer two years later.

He wrote many showbusiness features and a weekly eating-out promotion in the Leader.

Brian’s journalism career started in Fleet Street in 1952 at the Evening Star and News Chronicle. He got his first job as an office boy by going into the reception areas of the main newspapers and asking if there was any jobs available.

Having gained as much knowledge as he could about the newspaper business, he became a reporter at the London bureau of Frank Packer – the father of Australian media magnate Kerry – where he had his own column. He also began to write about the pop scene for Disc and Music Echo.

He became the chief press officer at Decca Records at the time of the Sixties explosion in the pop scene and was responsible for promoting bands such as The Rolling Stones and The Moody Blues.

He then became group press officer of Pye Records at ATV House near Marble Arch, where he loved to entertain journalists from the bar in his office.

He became known as “Dr Gibson” because of the copious amounts of alcohol and free records dispensed.

He was responsible for looking after the PR for artists such as Max Bygraves, Des O’Connor and the pianist Russ Conway, who also moved to Sussex and kept up his close friendship with Brian.

He later worked for Georgie Fame, Tamla Motown Records and many small record labels before joining The Argus.

John Deighton, former showbiz editor of the Sunday People, a close friend who regularly used to commute to London with him said: “Gibbo was a very amusing and amiable man. I took him as my guest to a Mirror Group function recently and Brian knew more of the people there than I did.

“It is a great shame. I and many others will miss him terribly.”

Rowan Dore

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