I was brought up on jazz like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, while the first album I ever had was The Beatles Please Please Me (an original 1963 copy, so badly scratched I couldn’t believe the way the songs sounded “clean” when I bought it on CD years later).
The first album I bought myself was by Kool and the Gang, while I was also given LPs by ELO, The Sex Pistols and Madness around the same time: Out Of The Blue, Never Mind The Bollocks and One Step Beyond. All regarded as classics today, and rightly so. The first single I ever bought was for 35p from the local newsagents and was an ex-jukebox copy of Eddie Grant’s Living On The Frontline, which at 5:55 on both sides (the flip was an instrumental – an early glimpse into the wonderful world of dub reggae) represented fantastic value to a 12 year old kid.
I tried to learn the clarinet at school but only lasted six months – I wanted a sax but they didn’t have one and anyway, as it turned out I had no patience whatsoever: I just wanted to pick it up and find I was like Roy Castle …
Years later, I was working in a record shop and DJing in clubs around town. I graduated to managing record shops and reviewing albums on local radio, the Tower Records website and in print for a Hampshire entertainment magazine now known as The And Guide – and I’m still doing that today.
In between times, I was the singer in a pub rock covers band for a few years (singing was easier than actually having to play anything and is basically just showing off).
I’ve been to countless gigs down the years and have seen some genuine legends like John Lee Hooker, Nina Simone and David Bowie. I still DJ occasionally, but am way more active online, making mixes available for download on my Mixcrate page, sometimes for myself, sometimes for friends, but always for pleasure – it’s the modern equivalent of the mixtape, for anyone old enough to remember them …
I’m more into vinyl now than I ever have been and have a large collection that’s only gonna get bigger, while I also embrace modern technology, often having the same album on several formats.
As the Tower motto says: No Music, No Life !