I played music from an early age, starting with harmonica and recorder, and then guitar, flute and my favourite sax, the soprano. I love this horn because it can sound like a baroque trumpet, an oboe, bagpipes, Turkish and Indian shawms, and ancient and otherworldly horns.
I worked as a music business journalist in London in the 1970s, on Beat Instrumental and then Guitar magazine. I did many interviews (B B King, Albert King, Frank Zappa, Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin, George Benson, Carlos Santana, Rory Gallagher, Andres Segovia, John Williams, Steve Howe, John Etheridge, Bo Diddley, Allan Holdsworth, Robin Trower, Lee Ritenour, Andy Summers, Robert Fripp, and many more) and concert and record reviews. I worked sometimes as a session guitarist. Later I moved into publicity, working with Keith Goodwin, founder of KayGee Publicity, in Denmark Street, above the Tin Pan Alley Club. We promoted artists such as Vangelis, Yes, George Melly, Judas Priest, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Rory Gallagher, Mud and for a while even the Happy Hooker herself, Xaviera Hollander, who made an LP. We never knew who would be next through the door!
In 1983 I went to Portugal for a sunny decade, living inland in beautiful Tomar for a few months and then in Estoril and Cascais, along the coast from Lisbon. I played music ans wqorked as a reporter on the Anglo-Portuguese News, based in Monte Estoril. More recently I lived on the Algarve for a year, but then returned to Lisbon where one of my harps now remains. I love playing in Portugal because the capabilities of the harp are still so little known there and it is an added pleasure to play Portuguese tunes for them, sometimes accompanying Portuguese singers.
I took up harp after waking up dreaming about it one rainy English morning. I had always loved the harp sounds and moods, and then discovered later that day that Bristol's only harp teacher, Claire Hamilton, lived in the next street! She played and I knew I had to have one of these magical instruments. I started lessons, practised madly and gradually discovered the harp to be an extremely versatile, archetypal instrument, able to span enormous distances in time, culture and mood. If we picture the totality of music as a pie chart, containing everything – ancient, modern, folksy, classical, jazzy, experimental, intellectual, earthy... well, the harp really can produce something from every area. And as I am interested in virtually all kinds of music, the harp suits me well. I started playing publicly for diners in The Gate vegetarian restaurant in Hammersmith, and as a volunteer musician at the Bristol Cancer Help Centre, where some of my talks were developed, ranging from the history of the harp to the reasons for the the mysterious effects of music, and what music actually is...