1958 – out he pops
The past (shrouded in mystery, as was most of Little Common at the time) – begins to sneak into his brother’s bedroom on a quasi-regular basis to have a go on his bro’s old EKO twelve string (built like a brick shithouse but easy on the tiny fingers – bolt on neck!)
1973 – gets a girlfriend! Important not only for the usual reasons but also because she has a nice acoustic guitar (silk and steel strings – remember them?) – gathering dust at the bottom of her bed. Can he borrow it? Yes he can!
1974-75 – achieves a fair standard of playing and singing quite quickly and forces himself upon the public at large whether they like it or not. School concerts, folk club at the Little Common Wheatsheaf, parties (very sick at Lesley’s party, helped home by Alice) etc.
Roundabout 1978-79 – an advert in the Daily Mail is looking for musicians and singers to go to Sweden and perform. Sweden? The home of free love? Rather! Off he goes with oppo Andrew ‘Spiny’ Norman and booking agent/restaurateur Mr Sung to play a two-centre two-month spell. Lovely girls, crayfish season, fights in the restaurants and slightly strange towns – Filipstad and Kristinehamn (spelling optional)! Meets a girl with a tail.
Roundabout 1981-82 – travels again to play in Nuremberg with old friend Barry Denyer and expat Mike Wells. Lovely city, Old Town a treat and a jolly good time was had by all. Nearly laughs himself to death when Mike scampers round the furniture naked but for a frock coat and a WW2 gasmask. Appears live at a Hell’s Angel hangout and a snake dance disco bar.
1983-84 – calms down a bit after a second German trip and forms duos and trios around the locale of Hastings, most notably with his brother David as Gadfly – remember them? Never mind. Begins to buy and sell gear at an alarming rate, leading eventually to his most ‘fervent wish’ – that he could go to a warehouse and wander through all the gear he should have kept for a second go.
1984-2005 – marries twice (one gone, one great) and brings up a daughter, Hannah. Continues to write, play and sing. Discovers a liking for all sorts of music and makes it his life’s work to have ‘big ears’ – that is to listen to everything and dismiss nothing (no, really). Finds the lost chord, then after a drinking spree, loses it again. Makes a couple of solo albums (cassettes back then) – First Hand and Second Nature – and an album with Kelvin Message in Eastbourne – Third Half – and continues to refuse to lay down and be quiet. Has a fallow period before meeting his second wife, who gets him back into playing with the Stag Band in Hastings if only to stop him moaning all the time. Roger Flack of the TABS in Hastings helps him record his best effort so far, Kippers and Custard, which unfortunately encourages him to start recording at home and to work on the next album, Solo Monkey (‘He’s buying gear again, someone speak to him’ – Wife II) Finally, after a drink, admits to be having fun (some). Begins negotiations with World Domination Music in Croydon over publishing his stable of works.
2006-2008 – continually refuses to shut up. Meets fellow ‘Curmudgeon’ Michael ‘He’s in the Street’ Prochak and sporadically begins to enjoy life as a musical duo and stop moaning about things beyond his control (at last), instead just moaning generally.
2009 – a year’s semi-retirement? What’s going on? Having played to the fronts and the backs of most of the people in Hastings and in almost every venue imaginable in the town (some no longer there, not my fault) he finds the lure of recording too strong to resist. Everything to learn and who knows, perhaps he’ll become a better musician into the bargain. A year away from humping gear into taxis and getting back at all hours seems subtly seductive … we shall see
2013 – this retirement lark is dragging on a bit. Still can’t find anyone half-decent to play with – keep trying, I suppose …
2013 (late) – huzzah! Playing with old friend Paul Sedgwick from Battle – guitar and flute/whistle, harmony vocals etc. etc. – band name ‘CORVUS’ … watch this space!
2016 – oh well, not to be. Pubs seem to want ‘bash ’em out bands’, as Billy Bragg describes them, and the old phrase ‘Your music is beautiful, but do you know anything a bit more – well – popular?’ resurfaces time and again. I understand the sitch, but of all the arts, music is the most universal, so people should learn to listen, not simply go out to have their existing mindset and preferences mollified or confirmed … rant over …
2017 – struggling with my mojo, I have to tell you (both of you) … think I might sell a few bits and let the world of local music roll on without me. No great loss, mind you. More recording though, I think, and writing … better get on it! ??
Most memorable gig
On top of the Nuremberg Old Town wall, by torchlight, through a tiny Peavey 20W practice amp that performed unbelievably well! Mike Wells, Barry Denyer and me …