Where to begin?
As many of you know, I, Alex Watson, was named after Alexandra Bastedo. My childhood nickname was Bastedo. I wasn’t really aware of the show the Champions at that time, because I was too young. However, my mum was quite taken with her…hence naming me after her, and calling me Bastedo for many a year.
I always associated Bastedo with something good, because when my mum called me that, it was a term of affection and endearment and usually meant she was in a happy or playful mood. So the name has always had positive connotations. I was Bastedo
I formed my band Bastedo back in 2010. We had already been playing together for a while, but I felt we needed something to define us. To be honest…I had never felt entirely comfortable in my own skin. Performing as Alex Watson felt unsafe and risky. Exposing. When I decided to use the name Bastedo…I felt it still reflected me in my entirety, but allowed me to project more fearlessly. To grow. It was also more inclusive. It was a great decision, because whether or not people knew who Alexandra Bastedo was (and more often than not, they didn’t unless they were of a certain age) the name really resonates with people.
Anyway, I first contacted Alex back in late 2011 via her website for the ABC Sanctuary. I explained a little bit about myself and the band and I sent her a link to our website. That would be the start of beautiful relationship. Well…it was definitely beautiful to me…and I believe she thought so too. (In her own dignified way)
As I got to know Alex. The woman. We forged a strong bond. To be honest…there’s so much I didn’t get to know about her, so her death feels cruel and inconsiderate on the part of the universe. Not only that…there’s so much more she wanted to do. Her creative spark was never far. Life and circumstances prevented her from really finalising some of the things she would have liked to have done. Also running the sanctuary and her team of volunteers was no mean feat. I often marvelled and her. She was a great organiser and a hard woman to say no to and in running her animal sanctuary she engendered loyalty and support from friends as well her local community. She would enlist the help of her showbiz chums, to raise money for her sanctuary…tirelessly fundraising to keep it all going. This on top of caring for her husband Patrick, who was very ill in his final years, needing round the clock care. Her fortitude is an inspiration.
She was a quintessential English Rose. Still a striking woman in her twilight years…but her outstanding beauty in her younger days was legendary. She was a pin up and icon. However, she was an actress…the beauty was ethereal, and was not the kind of in your face, crass sexuality we often see today. She had a real gift for projecting the spirit of a piece, and I would see it for myself first hand, when she would read poems at her open days for the animal sanctuary.
The cruelty of cancer, which she had defeated some years earlier, came back to haunt her. However, she did not go down without a fight! Nosireebob! She wanted to beat it. She fought desperately hard, and she gave it everything she had, despite the pain, despite the indignity of such a heartless affliction. She did her research, she challenged the medical professionals and she left no stone unturned in her fight for life. All of this whilst dealing with her late husband Patrick’s affairs and running the sanctuary. They just don’t make them like her anymore!
Alexandra Bastedo. First of all…thank you for providing the inspiration for my name, Alexandra. Secondly the inspiration for my band Bastedo. Then thanks you infinitely for being a part of my life. I thank my lucky stars that we met when we did and that I got to know you on a personal level. She really wanted us to succeed, and was always letting me know how I might approach things especially from the style stakes! I have a tendency to dress down, and play down the feminine a lot of the time. She always told me to resist this… I never had her confidence or beauty…but she believed in me, and would let me know how I could improve things, that would help in my musical career. I picked up some bad habits, and they sometimes had an impact on my health or weight. She was very diplomatic…but she always prompted me. When I did up the glamour stakes…no one was more pleased than Alex. She loved it when I played the part, and pulled out the stops to look my best. I will endeavour to keep doing this. Here’s a typical example from an email she sent…
My tip for the top- Keep the weight off-you are looking so much better, the hairpiece is terrific and please dress less grunge and more chic-trendy! The talent we know about everyone who sees you thinks you are great. Keep in touch, Much love Alex
Thank you for being so supportive of me and my band. You’ll be pleased to know that I have lost a lot of weight since I last saw you. Thank you for everything. I will never, ever, forget you.