Rock music, History, Environment and Animals

Lizard straddling the strings and pick-ups of a Fender Stratocaster Sunburst solid bodied electric guitar
Lizard straddling the strings and pick-ups of a Fender Stratocaster Sunburst solid bodied electric guitar
Image by Scottslm via Pixabay

Hi. I’m British, an average guitar player, who has an interest in music, nature, wildlife, steam locomotives, lighthouses 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.

Pets

History

Environment

Rock Music


From Bombsites to Rock and Roll

Lizard straddling the strings and pick-ups of a Fender Stratocaster Sunburst solid bodied electric guitar
Lizard straddling the strings and pick-ups of a Fender Stratocaster Sunburst solid bodied electric guitar
Image by Scottslm via Pixabay

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…


Otis Redding, Duane Eddy, and even Dick Clark had their share

Photograph of Stax Records Museum building in Memphis, Tennessee
Photograph of Stax Records Museum building in Memphis, Tennessee
Stax Records Museum building in Memphis, Tennessee. Image by Carol M Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress — Copyright: Public Domain

Lucky breaks can change a life. I bet me, you, even Jake and Elwood Blues had a few lucky breaks by being in the right place at the right time. And, just as likely, we’ve all been in the wrong place at the wrong time and suffered the consequences.

Some people in the music business can thank their lucky stars they were in that right place. We can thank Steve Cropper for giving Otis Redding a few precious minutes of his time, which proved very lucky for him, Otis, Stax Records, and the record-buying public. Even Duane Eddy, and famed…


110th Anniversary of the £10000 Daily Mail Circuit of Britain Prize

Image of a GB Postal First Day Cover depicting the 75th Anniversary of £10000 Daily Mail Circuit of Britain Air Race 22nd to 26th July 1911
Image of a GB Postal First Day Cover depicting the 75th Anniversary of £10000 Daily Mail Circuit of Britain Air Race 22nd to 26th July 1911
First Day Cover 22nd July 1986 commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the £10,000 Daily Mail Circuit of Britain Air Race 22nd to 26th July 1911 from author’s collection — Image by Author

In the UK in 1911 the Daily Mail newspaper offered a £10,000 prize (today that would be worth about £737,000 retail price index calculation) to the winner of an air race around Britain, with 11 compulsory stops and a circular route starting and finishing at Brooklands, Surrey, England, covering a distance of 1010 miles.

It was only eight years after Wilbur and Orville Wright’s first manned flight on 17 December 1903, and almost two years to the day (25 July 1909) when Louis Bleriot became world-famous for making the first flight across the English Channel, winning a £1,000 prize offered…


Bowie’s extraterrestrial — but his band were firmly rooted in Hull

Street mural of Mick Ronson, guitarist of The Spiders From Mars band (David Bowie) on side of building in Greenwich Avenue, Hull
Street mural of Mick Ronson, guitarist of The Spiders From Mars band (David Bowie) on side of building in Greenwich Avenue, Hull
Mural of Hull’s most famous guitarist Mick Ronson, created by local artist Lydia Caprani and situated on Greenwich Avenue, Hull, not far from where Ronson’s family lived. Image by author.

David Bowie is nobility when it comes to British Rock Music. He’s the Rolls Royce or Bentley of his time. He just kept going. A musical chameleon who lived on the edge, with the ability to adapt, change his style of music, and the way he looked and presented himself during six decades in the music business.

I was reminded of this when taking in part in The Riff July Album of the Month discussion, hosted by Terry Barr, which discussed at length David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.

In the early…


Riff Summer Challenge

Tina Turner: River Deep — Mountain High

View of Fraisthorpe Beach, Fraisthorpe, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. Showing Bridlington and Flamborough on the horizon.
View of Fraisthorpe Beach, Fraisthorpe, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. Showing Bridlington and Flamborough on the horizon.
Fraisthorpe Beach, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. Image by Renn69 CC-ASA-4.0 via Wikimedia

Jessica Lee McMillan’s The Riff Summer Challenge made me recall my teenage years and the music of summers long gone. I have lots of happy memories listening to great songs along the way, but for me one summer stands out — 1966.

Living in the frozen wastes on the north-east coast of England, even in summer I kid you not, there would be no danger of me surfing in the North Sea back then. Only Newquay in the south-west had that potential. But the song I’ve chosen does have a river, a mountain and a wave of noise flowing through…


Buffy Saint-Marie to Blackfoot and beyond

Artwork depicting male and female Native American’s in Head-dress with Wolf and Golden eagle in background
Artwork depicting male and female Native American’s in Head-dress with Wolf and Golden eagle in background
Image courtesy of Andy Dean

In The Riff’s latest podcast, Noah Levy and Rob Janicke did a fine job interviewing Peter Kater, pianist, composer and two-time Grammy award winner.

Towards the end of the interview, Peter spoke about how he came to write the music for the Discovery Channel’s 1993 mini-series ‘How The West Was Lost’, documenting the experience of Native Americans during America’s westward expansion.

Intro ‘How The West Was Lost’ · Peter Kater · R. Carlos Nakai

In the early 1960s there was a similar re-awakening of the truth about the genocide of Native Americans and their plight on Reservations in the USA…


This Movement Was Much More Than A Manic Monday

The Bangles at the WiMN “She Rocks” Awards at the Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim California on Friday January 23rd, 2015.
The Bangles at the WiMN “She Rocks” Awards at the Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim California on Friday January 23rd, 2015.
The Bangles at the WiMN “She Rocks” Awards 2015. Image by Justin Higuchi CC-BY-2.0 via Wikimedia

By 1971 Britain was fortunate to have a TV rock programme that was a radical departure from the norm. It was the only regular outlet for non-chart music on television at that time.

A BBC production, ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’ (OGWT) was first transmitted on 21 September 1971, and it had a catchy title intro.

OGWT theme (later shortened to Whistle Test), from a song ‘Stone Fox Chase’ by Area Code 615, a Nashville country rock band active in the 1960/70s.

The show’s first presenter, Richard Williams, explained how the name came about:

“Before a new record is released…


My Five Favourite Riff Stories

Photo by Nicholas Green on Unsplash

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.

Kevin AlexanderThis Week’s Heavy Rotation #16

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…


How 1940s British Foreign Policy ‘Bevin-grad’ is remembered in Israel

Black & White Photograph of the aftermath of the bombing of the King David Hotel, Jerusalem, by the Irgun on 22 July 1946 in which 91 people died
Black & White Photograph of the aftermath of the bombing of the King David Hotel, Jerusalem, by the Irgun on 22 July 1946 in which 91 people died
King David Hotel, Jerusalem, after the bombing by the Irgun on 22 July 1946. Image by Gordon Trevor Moore CCA-SA-4.0 via Wikimedia

‘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…

David Acaster

British, retired, loves reptiles & amphibians, keen on history, steam locomotives, travel, real ale and still trying to master that Fender Stratocaster.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store