'I thought the police were aliens, and the devil was after me as I stood semi-naked in a Doncaster street'

He lived a rock 'n' roll lifestyle as a manager of a string of bands in Donaster.

But Paul Burton says he is now turning his life around after having suffered problems with drugs, alcohol and mental health.

Former music manager Paul Burton is writing a book on his experience. Picture: Marie Caley

Paul looked after a string of groups including the 80s hit indie band The Gents. But he hit problems which resulted in him pulling out of his work in the music business and spending time in a hospital mental unit.

Now, aged 61, he has written his story in a book, which he hopes will help others turn their lives around as he feels has done his own.

Paul, who was brought up in Denaby, initially got a civil service job with the DHSS.

But he later left his job to manage his brother Martin's band, The Gents, which he had been doing on a part time basis for some years previously.

He said: "My brother had a talent, and I owe him a lot. At the aged of 24 I was arranging gigs, full time.

"They were playing covers at working men's clubs, and their own material at other shows.

"At one point they played a gig at a show where the radio DJ MIke Read was. The band asked him on stage and did a couple of songs with him, and he went on to play one of the group's songs.

"They were on Calendar, and a show called Bubbling Under, about unsigned bands."

The pinnacle was a number 96 hit, and a number eight hit in the indie chart in the early 1980s.

Paul went onto set up Burton Management, looking after bands across Doncaster. At one point he had a turnover of £250,000.

But by the early 2000s, his life started to fall apart.

Already drinking alcohol, he began taking drugs. He started using ecstasy and cocaine. What started as weekend use became more frequent.

He said: "I was a glutton, and I could afford it at the time. I soon knew I had a problem. I turned my business over to someone else. I was going to meetings as high as a kite.

"Then I got sectioned after running out of the house semi-naked on Sprotbough Road, barefoot. I though the police were aliens at the time, and that the devil was after me..

"I was later told that the drugs were a symptom of a bipolar disorder I was suffering from.

"I was sectioned for six weeks in 2002."

He also recalls how he fell off his bike while drunk, smashing his teeth. He was picked up by a Christian friend, who later invited him to a support group.

But now, he feels on the road to recovery. After seeing a close friend from his days in the music scene hospitalised and in agony as a result of a drink problem, he has stopped his drinking.

His friend went through detox and received help from local health service Aspire, which helps people give up drink and drugs.

"Seeing him in that condition made me think 'that's me', but for the grace of God," said Paul. "It cured me, and I have had a rethink about my life.

"Now I've written a book about my experience, called Sex and Droogs and Rock and Roll. I hope it will inspire others to turn their lives around, too."

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