Notebook

The Death and Life Of Red Henley

And two years later it's done. What started out as a vague idea about the need to belong and why we feel the need to be a part of something (religion, love, even book groups, okay, maybe not book groups), and with a working title of Standing Behind God's Back (Cross Country Murder Song was called Trauma for the longest time, until it wasn't), has mutated/evolved into something quite different. Admittedly, the larger themes of the corrupting aspect of religion and love  - it's clearly a...

September Song

The phone call explained everything. Emotional upheaval is nothing new in my life, I lurch from one relationship to the next, crushing feelings beneath my feet, it's not something I'm proud of, when I finally look back, they'll be the only source of my regrets, I hope. Was unloved, finds it hard to love now, not least myself, it's an old story and it's not just my story and it's not the one I want to tell now. The text message said one thing: 'five years'....

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Great Western

On the advice of an old friend, an old, old friend, I've finally decided to start keeping a blog again. I was still in my early twenties when I first met him. He still had hair and I looked like a Motley Crue roadie. It was an undignified look at best. But, as is often the case when I use this platform, I digress. The last time I blogged I think I was still waiting on Cross Country Murder Song to be published, I was...

Summer, Highland Falls

It's strange that a song written by a New Yorker about a place I've never been can cause such a reverie. The above title was written by Billy Joel, I think it was from Turnstiles, forgive me if I'm wrong, and whenever I hear it, as I just did, then I'm back in a classroom in Wales studying A level English with Mr. Millington. For those of you who've read my book - Cross Country Murder Song, Vintage imprint coming soon! - you might have...

Working Man

Somehow I let the summer go by without writing anything down. Actually, that's not true, I spent a few months working absurdly long hours ghosting a memoir. It's a strange if lucrative gig. You spend hours with your subject, pore over the very bones of their being, make their voice come to life on the page and then nothing. It's like the longest one night stand ever. The book comes out, you hardly recognise huge swathes of it - but then you did think the...

Ralph the Bastard

To his eternal credit the dog really does look like an Ewok, but as I've got a life and very little time on my hands (and George Lucas brandishes lawyers like Darth swings a lightsabre) I've resisted dressing him up in a cowl and taking pictures of him. There are enough of those images on the web as it is. Anyway, he's called Ralph and he's hit our house the way a tornado fucked up Kansas in a Wizard Of Oz. I have a cage...

Wheels

I can't remember the last time I was interviewed, I think it must have been when Phill and I were at 6 Music, someone came in to ask us why we were both Apple devotees or when we did an outside broadcast at a student radio station somewhere. It's fuzzy and I imagine we did our usual thing; made seventeen different in-jokes until the interviewer got glassy eyed and sort of gave up on us. Quite rightly too. We'll never be half as funny as...

Snow globes, one for every time he’d killed

After three missed calls, about eighteen e-mails and any number of exasperated sighs I finally tied up the interviews with two parts of ELP this week. Greg Lake on Tuesday and Keith Emerson last night. For the teenagers among you this won't mean much, but for men of a certain age ELP once strode the earth like a classically-trained behemoth. The keyboard player used to stab his organ (Hammond, this was before public self-harming was popular) and they once took an orchestra on tour, it...

Old friends, bookends, etc.

A wet Thursday night on the Archway Road acted as the backdrop to what would turn out to be a fairly difficult (breach) birth to my first novel, Cross Country Murder Song. There were around a hundred people there in all at the very fetching Boogaloo, which put me in mind of some of the old rock and roll bars I used to frequent/haunt on tour. Great jukebox, nice bar, two cats pretty much running the room. They'd set up a small stage for us...

Living in the limelight, the universal dream…

Not to drop names, but I'm about to, Neil Peart (look him up) once told me that the song Limelight was his most personal lyric. Moving Pictures was Rush's biggest album, Limelight one of the most recognisable songs from said album. It talked about the downside of fame - which Rush had a lot of at that time. Peart hated it, he hated being recognised, he hated people acting as if they knew him, when in fact they only knew his music and onstage persona....