Still gigging

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” Dao De Jing.

60’s – 70’s

New, fun and exciting.

These were the formative decades; music-making, employment and sole purpose-of-life.

For music, I’d started off as a songwriter with Peter Huckstep during the mid 60s, and found we were doing occasional gigs in pubs and things, and enjoying it. I have written an account of our songwriting expoits in the music industry in Sing A Song Of Sixpence.

70’s – 80’s

Growing down.

The seventies seemed a time for getting married, setting up home and making babies. Reluctantly, I even got what is known as ‘a proper job’. it didn’t really suit me but I persevered and was suckered into the carrot-and-stick trap to provide for our family.  There was an allure to the theory that “if you work hard you get somewhere”. And in this music came to our aid, for I was able to generate extra income at nights doing something I enjoyed, to buy little luxuries like food and clothes for us all, and in doing so worked with many talented musicians and learned songs and tunes in a many different music genres.


Waking up

A wake-up call in in the early nineteen-nineties brought me sudden and annoying changes to life which found me living in Central London during most of the nineteen-nineties. Consequent to the recession of those early nineties I’d lost everything I’d worked for in the last twenty years and had to start over. I still had some marketing clients and the technology was growing to a level where I could do most things by myself. Graphics, printing, photographic and video all became digitally reliant and accessible. And when not working I could explore all the music joints around and became fascinated by everything blues-related. For three years I worked an average of six hours-a-day  for three years on my guitar finger-picking technique in order to work entirely as a solo performer, which I’d noticed many of the early blues-artists had managed to do during the nineteen-twenties and nineteen-thirties.


Freedom calls out loud

Following my appearance on the Paul Jones Blues Show BBC Radio 2 in 1998, it bacame easier to get booked for gigs and for organising modest tours. Finding I could no longer find anywhere affordable to live in London I moved to Kingston-Upon Hull (in a run-down house I’d found whilst touring up there). I learned to live as a poor man – nobody expects you to have any money in Hull, so it was quite an easy transition. During my time there I renovated an abandoned garden and got to love the nearness of nature around Yorkshire and Lancashire. I made many friends in Hull and around – mainly musical friends – and toured all around the UK in various vans I’d modified as camper vans, playing at blues clubs, pubs and festivals. This was also a decade in which I wrote most of my best songs. I am very grateful to those who helped and supported those occasions and events. It was a tough life and hard work for us all but we had a great times and adventures doing it. It was a particularly good time for realising the value of community ventures.


Not Superman after all, then.

“If you wanna play, you gotta pay.” A line from a 6os book by Richard Wright set in a nameless US city, which deals with the bleak, dead end lives of the junkies, prostitutes and criminals who populate an area of it, known as ‘the Scene’. (https://www.pulpcurry.com/2018/06/book-review-clarence-cooper-jrs-the-scene/)

All my life I have been an avid reader. Early books were mostly old (pre WWII) as the explosion in fiction had not yet arrived, and there being very few books at home, as a child, I was a frequent visitor to our local public library wherever we lived; though apart from a few compelling titles I just liked to look at the pictures. As a teenager, realizing much of life is spent hanging around waiting for something to happen I engaged with most reading material which came my way. And steadily, the stream of consciouness grew into a raging torrent. During a week’s out on tour gigging there would be a lot of time on my hands, and during the days I would visit National Trust properties, charity shops and bookshops. In some National Trust places they would have a huge barn full of trays of books, and often priced at 10p or so. And I would bulk-buy at these places though at that time I drew a distinction between non-fiction and fiction books, for I found I had an unquenchable curiosity and quest for facts about the universe and the world around us. And what a wealth of knowledge I discovered an devoured over the few years I had them, and then passed them on to others.
During that decade, having found my freedom of mind, I escaped and flew as far as I could manage into a whole world, encompassing Mind, Body, and Spirit. But there’s a price to paid in respect of each and every adventure we take. For it might seem it’s just exciting to take off into the unknown, but you also have cope, with equanimity, the down-sides as well as the good times; calm and confidence in adversity, patience and persistence in difficulty; mindfully accepting both pleasure and pain with equal composure. Such is the nature of those who follow the philosophy of Tao.

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