I Miss Albums

New long playing albums are as rare as hen’s teeth. Over the years LPs morphed into compact discs which in turn morphed into downloads and that is a shame. Continue reading

The Music of Puberty

Apart from singing hymns in Assembly and hearing two way family favourites on my parent’s wireless, the only other music in my life for the next four or five years was the live music I heard that leaked out of the public house next door to my home. It was classic East End stuff, and I would be in bed with the lights off not bothering to try to sleep as I heard the acts perform in a public house next door, loudly and clearly through the thin walls of my bedroom. Continue reading

No More Music Lessons

When I was twelve two new music teachers entered the staff of George Green’s Grammar School. One looked like an older version of the other. The senior teach was Lesley Winter and the junior teach was a chap who become famous as a composer – Michael Nyman. They both had cropped hair and cropped beards and had a special way of teaching music, which reminded me of the selection and teaching methods that Eastern European Communist countries adopted at the time. Continue reading

Music Lessons

At the age of eleven (just) I entered George Green’s Grammar School and had my first music lesson, which was by Miss Hill. She played us the Trumpet Voluntary on a portable gramophone and Continue reading

The Choir

At my primary school, in London’s East End, there was, of course a choir. In those days traditional English music was taught in a simple way. We had some outstanding singers – one boy would always sing the first verse of “Once in David’s Royal City” as a solo every Christmas. I was proud to sing in the choir, but less proud when a sharp eared teacher found I was singing flat, and I was told to mime the words, not sing them. There was shame in this, and I never plucked the courage to do what I wanted to do and sing when the school choir performed.


I will write the next essays about music. It is hard to describe in words the beauty of sounds and knowing this I looked for a way that would blend words and music together. Traditionally songs do this. They are small light poems whose sounds and metre fit to the rhythm of music. Continue reading

The Music That She Left Behind

Death is never far from us. It is more likely than not that someone you will meet today will have had a friend or relation who recently died. Sometimes death comes unexpectedly, as it did to the girl who begged someone to dance with her, in the nineteen seventies and wrote a sad song about it.  Continue reading