Hi. I’m British, an average guitar player, who has an interest in music, nature, wildlife, steam locomotives, and history. My weakness is a liking for Real Ale. If I could I’d invite you across for a drink, a chat, and put the world to rights. In the meantime you can check out more about me here, or browse my current portfolio below.
I live in a small English seaside town a few minutes walk from the beach, in an area many describe as ‘the back of beyond’. It suits me now, the relative quiet and easy pace of life, whereas at one time I much preferred the hustle and bustle of city life.
I was born in the 1950s in a city which, during World War II, was the second most bombed in the UK after London, with 95% housing damage. Of course, I wasn’t alive for that, but as a child I did play among the bomb sites, while in the…
Noah Levy, who likes ‘all things music’, asked me to kick off a new series, to write about my five favorite Riff pieces, and why I chose them. No pressure then! Out of the many writers on The Riff, how do I whittle down a list to just five that made an impact on me? It was a challenge, so picking up the gauntlet Noah has thrown down, I came up with these five.
Having joined Medium in early 2021, one of the first things I discovered on The Riff was Kevin Alexander’s ‘Heavy Rotation’ programme.
The image immediately grabs…
‘One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ is a statement I have heard many times. Who is right, who is wrong, and who decides these issues?
The current escalation in violence in the Middle East reminds me of my late father’s words whenever there was a flare-up and more conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, “You’ll never stop it. It will go on long after you and I are gone.”
He spent ten years in Egypt and what was Palestine, now Israel, serving in the British Army, and later as a Mounted British Palestine Policeman in what was known then…
I decided to get a dog for a couple of reasons. To help me keep fit, knowing our walks together would benefit us both, and also to save a life. His.
It was a time when some dogs were put to sleep, the gentle way of saying put down, if a home couldn’t be found for them. Rather than pay an exorbitant amount for a pedigree dog from a registered breeder, I looked for one that had been neglected.
All it cost, was his seven day food and kennel fee.
I found him at a well run Dog Rescue Sanctuary…
There are many contenders for the title — Real Wild Ones of Rock’n’Roll.
Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off a bat on stage — did he really do that? Slash taking his pet mountain lion, Curtis, on tour with him, it escaping its cage and completely wrecking a hotel room before being sedated. Yes, the cat really did do that. Curtis, it seems was quite capable of trashing without any help from Slash. Nirvana, the Stones, Amy Winehouse, and many others, were just as destructive on stage as they were back in the hotel.
Three who stand out for me…
Robert Zimmerman doesn’t sound very rock and roll. Elston Gunn: now that’s far out for 1959. Bob Dylan. That’s a cool name. Much better.
Booed, slow-hand-clapped and called ‘Judas’ by fans at a concert at the Manchester Free Trade Hall in England on 17 May 1965, Bob Dylan shrugged it off by responding, “I don’t believe you… you’re a liar”, and telling his band — to play it fucking loud.
His crime? Playing a solid-bodied electric guitar for the second part of his show, the first part having been his typical acoustic set.
I’d been to the States before, on my own, attending the Clovis Music Festival in New Mexico, and a similar event in Lubbock, Texas, both dedicated to the memory of Buddy Holly and 1950/60s rock music.
In 2009 I took my wife along, to spell the driving and take a serious road trip across those southwestern states on our way to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and later, Nebraska.
It started in Lubbock, Texas, with a visit to Buddy Holly’s gravesite. I caught up with old friends, some of whom had played with Buddy, and visited The Buddy Holly Centre…
This month marks the 80th birthday of the late Ritchie Valens, yet his music is timeless.
My first reaction to hearing Ritchie Valens’ ‘La Bamba’, was that it made me smile and feel happy. I considered it another American rock classic, in the same league as those by Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran and Elvis. I’d never seen a photo of him; had no idea of his ethnicity. Why would it matter? He rocked. Another thing: it’s sung in Spanish. Did I know what the words meant? No. It still rocked.
“Yo no soy marinero
Yo no soy marinero…
Lets face it, love ’em or hate them, The Beatles made a difference. They paid their dues. They probably played more gigs than any other band before a hit record came along, enabling them to perfect their style and sound, becoming as tight as a ducks proverbial. Struggle was probably their middle name. Drive, self assurance and belief, they had in spades.
Noah Nelson’s ‘A Beatle Visited Small Town America’, is a fascinating story about the time George Harrison visited the mining community of Benton in Southern Illinois. This was six months before the Fab Four set foot in the…
British, retired, loves reptiles & amphibians, keen on history, steam locomotives, travel, real ale and still trying to master that Fender Stratocaster.