Music Reviews

For the best part of a decade, I wrote music reviews for the Tower Records UK website and a magazine called “AND” …

Tower were an American music retailer who really catered for the specialist music fan, with the best selection of jazz, blues, country, folk and world music on the high street. Then came the internet and the age of the download and they – like so many great record shops all over the world – were toast …

Based in Southampton, AND Magazine covered the Hampshire area and was in the mould of TimeOut! though a lot more provincial and, dare I say it, rural in its outlook. Instead of reviewing hot new club nights, it would cover a village fete in the New Forest, or perhaps a pig auction up county. Strangely, it still found room for regular pages on Fashion, Motoring, Books, the Theatre and Music, both live and in the shape of records and CDs, which is where I came in …

I more or less had carte blanche to write about whatever I wanted, so there’s only occasionally a “bad review” with a firm thumbs down for the artist. More often than not, you can find these around Christmas time when the traditional dross gets churned out time and again by the big labels, as they vie with the latest Saturday night TV winner for the (not very) coveted Xmas #1 slot.

During this time, I was also appearing regularly on BBC Radio Solent and Original 106FM, reviewing new albums live on air. It was a bit nerve-wracking at first, but damned good fun … the key was to shut out the thought of thousands of people listening in and just concentrate on the person sitting in front of you.
“Just pretend you’re in the pub!”
“Oh, I can do that …”

And now it’s over to Brian with the sport …

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