Paul Young - Wherever I Lay My Hat
It would be remiss of me to exclude Paul Young’s 1983 classic ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat’ from this series of short anecdotal life stories. After initially leaving home as a nineteen-year-old in 1976, I all but lived out of a suitcase moving between digs, bedsits and flats, a grand total of eleven times until I eventually ended up in Woking in 1988. This song always reminds me of all that upheaval and my chosen lifestyle at the time.
Paul Young had also been the frontman of short-lived bands such as Kool & the Kool Cats, Streetband and the Q-Tips before embarking on his solo career. Hear ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat’ from his chart-topping 'No Parlez' album on YOUTUBE
The Byrds - Eight Miles High
In 1988 I took the first of many trips to Malta, a journey as many of you know, I still make today. One Saturday in October that year, I popped into a travel agency in Woking and booked my week away. Later the same evening I was on a British Caledonian flight from Gatwick. The whole point of the break was to give myself some quality time to think about my life and make the right decisions about the future and what direction(s) I should take… I won’t harp on about the outcome!
I remember taking a small sports holdall, my Walkman and a few tapes with me. Because I was high up in an aeroplane which
was still quite a novelty for me then, one song, in particular, has always reminded me of that journey. Hear ‘Eight Miles High’ by The Byrds on YOUTUBE
Christy Moore - City of Chicago
Tommy and Joey Doyle were two brilliant Irish brothers who I met when they were playing live at the St. James Tavern, a thriving music venue in London's Piccadilly together with Tommy’s wife, Lee in 1987. Their tight little band was known as Giro Junction, later to become The Emerald Doyles. Tommy played mandolin, Joey, guitar while Lee was on backing vocals and percussion. As our friendship strengthened the band played one of the few songs I'd written around that time, ‘The Unheard of War’ live at the same venue.
Sadly, all three of those amazing people have since passed away but I remember their unique brand of traditional Irish music which still resonates with me today. They played some brilliant songs and I have a wonderful collection on tape somewhere. One of many songs I always remember them playing from that period is, ‘City of Chicago’, made famous by Christy Moore. Hear it on YOUTUBE
Ben E. King - Stand By Me
One song that has always struck a chord and made me tingle since the 1980s is Ben E. King’s ‘Stand By Me’. It still has a profound effect on me every time I hear it and I don’t know why. I first heard it being covered by a gigging rock band called Axis in a backstreet pub at Ryde, on the Isle of Wight. The version wasn’t great, but it was still powerful enough to stick. It was one of my songs of choice when I appeared on Radio Woking to talk about my second novel, ‘Fly Back and Purify’ in October 2018. Hear it on YOUTUBE
Magic Moments at Twilight Time - Psychojolting
During the mid to late 1980s various chapters in my life came and went. It felt like I had gone from my Debussy period to a dark Wagner period without immediately noticing. In 1987, myself and a friend, Paul Wells formed a band called Leviathan. It was a keyboard and synthesiser duo. Paul was playing all the fancy stuff while I operated the flange and pulled and twisted all the knobs. We did have some great sound effects and produced a tape called ‘War-Torn and Ravished’ which was available on sale or return at The Rock Box record store in Camberley. Writing in the Aldershot News, music editor, Adrian Creek compared us to Tangerine Dream, which of course, was very flattering. I’ve always found his comments quite amusing. The band was short-lived and Paul and I went our separate ways when I realised I had probably dabbled as far as I could with playing music. Paul carried on as a solo entity for about a year longer.
However, around that time, I was also collaborating with Mick and Shona from the curiously named, Magic Moments at Twilight Time, a fourpiece electronic line-up from Frimley. The guys set a number of my poems to music and I appeared with them in a live performance at the Greenpeace Festival at Frimley Green in 1987.
Prepare yourselves for something completely different. Hear ‘Psychojolting’ by Magic Moments at Twilight Time on YOUTUBE