I’m proud to present my new album-
And here’s a taster:
At the time of writing the song I was intrigued by a story my mother had told me, that Jack, her dad, had played in a dance band. I so much hoped this was true, because it gave me a feeling of connection with him denied to me by his early death, but I had no proof. Sadly, my mum had passed away herself before I finished the song, so she never got to hear it, and couldn’t tell me any more stories about her dad.
Then, clearing out my father’s bungalow following his death last September, my sister and I were excited to find this photograph:
Isn’t it great? Here are The Vesuvians at the ‘Philharmonic Hall’, East Ham, on October 3rd 1930. My Grandad is on trumpet. Continue reading
Ruth and I have been enjoying Tony Robinson’s Channel 5 series Britain’s Great Cathedrals. We’re looking forward to the forthcoming episode on Canterbury. That’s where we met (at the University though, not the Cathedral itself.) The Cathedral was a favourite place to visit, and the experience was always awe-inspiring. When, later, I found this poem by John Ormond I was reminded how such staggering beauty was created by so many hard-working, skilful, ordinary blokes. I love the concluding line.
Song writers have to be prepared to answer these two questions ad nauseam:
“How do you go about writing songs?” and “What comes first, the words or the music?” Continue reading
A song dedicated to the beautiful North Norfolk coast and to bird watchers everywhere. Ruth and I knocked this up one holiday. The inspiration was the sight of a horse staring over the fence as we drove along; he was obviously counting the cars on the North Norfolk coast road. With apologies to Paul Simon.
My 19th century German workshop Maggini copy, with two bands of purfling front and back, and an extra turn in the scroll (apparently not one of Maggini’s signatures).
In thirty years together we have seen and done a lot: from Castlethorpe Village Hall to Westminster Hall, from Leicester to Leipzig, countless ceilidhs, innumerable morris stands and nearly as many pubs as there are stars in the sky. I ought to be sad, but I truly am not. Continue reading
Today marks the centenary of the opening of the British and Canadian offensive at Arras, on the Western Front.
Hawtin Mundy of New Bradwell, Buckinghamshire, fought and was captured in the battle. His powerful memories were recorded late in life, inspiring community drama and song that ties modern Milton Keynes and its inhabitants to its past.
Hawtin’s description of the battlefield at Arras was carefully turned into song by Paul Clark for the play Days of Pride, and has never failed to move audiences each of the many times it has been sung since. Continue reading