AUTHOR  sends SNOWMAN on light years of travel

Francesca Dow, managing director of Penguin Random House children’s books, said: “Raymond Briggs was unique. He has inspired generations of creators of picture books, graphic novels, and animations. He leaves an extraordinary legacy, and a big hole.”


The obituaries and career reviews for Olivia Newton John spoke of her being both a show-business icon and, patently, a very decent, grounded woman.

Boom Radio SIXTIES TURN SEVENTY (part two)

here we are again, faced with DJs being asked to truncate Radio 2's varied playlist to focus on more recent decades. Even Pick Of The Pops, a show fronted by my friend and veteran broadcaster Paul Gambaccini which looks back at music charts from bygone decades, last featured a hit from the Sixties back in September.


In truth i could have compiled a top tedn for evry month of the sixties, such was, and is, my love of music. Readers will be relieved to learn that I have today assembled just a twenty song playlist to cover the whole of the decade.

of stories and songs: MCMURTRY MADE + bits and pieces

“I’ve got a skinny little desk in my office,” he reveals, “where I can tape lyrics on the wall: verses on the left, choruses in the middle, bridges on the right. I don’t write down the melody because that stays in my head. The chords are intuitive once I have the melody.”

IN PRAISE OF GEORGE + bits and pieces

Harrison wrote Here Comes The Sun for The Beatles’ famous album Abbey Road. The actual writing for the track happened while Harrison was visiting his friend and fellow musician, Eric Clapton, at his country house. The song turned out to be irresistibly upbeat, and on a broader scale, it offered hope for a new future after the trials of the ’60s counterculture movement.

LET´S ROLE-PLAY + bits and pieces

One should consider that our storytelling powers need to extend beyond the song. Artists, in particular, need to think about the ways they tell their stories onstage. Banter before or after the performance of a song should enhance an audience’s understanding of the art. This banter can hook new fans and make old fans feel like they are getting a heightened experience. This is why I often advise artists to write a loose script to follow throughout their set. Practice this script in the mirror. A bit of preparation will, ironically, make you seem like a great off-the-cuff storyteller off the cuff. 

VOICE TO THE BLACKBIRD + bits and pieces

I have mentioned Lennon´s social commentary and xxx reminded us of Lennon´s far more obvious protest call for a Revolution, which I felt at the time was a Dylanesque call for Mankind to rewind to the beginning and to start again. I suppose tht at the time, as nowt but a child, I had vague notions that Paul´s song was a summoning of the spirit, but I interpreted everything on those days as proclamations of love. I took the song as being about a girl who had left her lover, and that lover´s realisation that she had wanted 7 needed her freedom.

FOLK ARE TALKING ! of Manchester Folk Festival and new music charts

The full Manchester Folk Festival line up has already been announced and reproduced on these pages and English Expo Folk are very excited and proud to be delivering the impressive gathering of  folk, roots and acoustic music from the  English folk scene to the EFEx showcase delegates and the good people of the general public of Manchester and beyond, who will be travelling in for the Festival.

a capital A for Art in August 2022 at the Adsubian Gallery and Lanzarote Art Gallery

two of the finest galleries in this part of the world are putting on A-class exhibitions to mark the month of August.