Its a source of dull pain for me that it took me so long to rediscover what really made me tick. I left art college in 1986 playing guitar in the experimental group Anna Livia with Dawn Ni Longlisch and Mike Valentine. We spent as much time developing visuals (film, slides) as we did music. The music was a combination of Irish ballad folk (Dawn), shoe-gazing guitarscapes (me) and Blixa B Birthday Party guitar cuts (Mike). So we all played guitars. We sent out two copies of a four track demo on cassette to labels 4AD and Beggars Banquet, not realising they were heading for pretty much the same office.
4AD boss Ivo Watts-Russell invited us in to their Alma Road offices and he very kindly asked us what we wanted to release. We rehearsed new tracks but never made it to the studio. Mike & Dawn, a couple, moved to Berlin. I had a good job working for Rook Films in Oxford. That was that.
Paragraph covering the next thirty-odd years. Rook Films made Inspector Morse ‘dreaming spires’ shots and sold Oxford shorts on VHS videos. I had my own business – The Englishman, designing art-photo postcards and greetings cards. It came to a natural end so I became a local government officer in Winchester, UK looking after land and buildings and from there took a second, Marketing degree. The qualification won me a role, again in local government, this time in Economic Development for Fareham, UK or as I promoted it ‘Virtual London’. I then became the UK’s first ‘e-Envoy’ at a time when broadband was rare. I took on a wider PR role, crisis management mainly, before marketing a management consultancy. I then spent seven years as Head of Communications for a commercial Real Estate firm in London, whilst selling my own brand of electric scooters, as you do. I left, advising folk on their marketing including some music PR but happily, I was able to make music seriously again. I’m not belittling all this. It was all part of the journey.
Towards the end of my time working in London, my Brother Michael (do check his work out) very kindly asked me to produce some music for a new Elephant Man play to be staged in Warwick. I was hooked again. I made a decision to give up my perfectly well-paid job in the City. Sound engineer Milan Adamik of Masterworks UK gave much support. In May 2013, I produced my goodbye card, a short-run CD of seven tracks, each produced in one day throughout my last week of work, though most of them ended up under the wheels of traffic on Victoria Embankment after my leaving party! I missed my stop on the train home.
In 2014, I released a new album of instrumental dark and light, mainly guitar based music, called ‘Han’. It was a good way to find new support and new listeners. I was invited to contribute pieces and chat on Dr Janina Ramirez’s BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Melencolia’. I was also very proud to be invited to be a signature artist for music sync agency QMW.
I completed an album of new pieces for Warner Classics entitled ‘Three Wings’ in November 2017 featuring the Quiristers of Winchester College. Plainsong in contemporary settings. The album reached No 17 in the Classical Album Chart. A couple of tracks were played by Katie Derham on BBC Radio’s ‘InTune’ and I was also interviewed.
Bringing you right up to date, my latest single is called ‘Make Peace With The Future’ which is the piece you hear playing in the background. There’s a great video to by aquaman cameraman Chris Lewis. Check it out here.
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