Monday, 22 December 2014

Who's In The New Book?

I have spent most of 2014 on a mission to photograph people for "Lives & Times" the new book I am writing to raise funds for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. The book is not yet finished, and there are still hopefully a few more poeple to be added. However here is the chapter list giving an insight as to who is already in the book. Some are self explanatory, whilst others will need a little more working out ;)


1)          Sir Steve Redgrave. 4
2)          Mick Channon – On The Gallops. 6
3)          Phil Parkes. 10
4)          Charlie Nicholas. 13
5)          British Superbikes. 16
6)          The Wright Stuff. 19
7)          Ben Richards. 22
8)          Carrie Grant. 25
9)          David Levenson.. 27
10)       The Cast of Stomp.. 30
11)       Gail Porter. 34
12)       Alan Davies. 37
13)       John Shuttleworth.. 39
14)       Generations. 41
15)       The Australians. 43
16)       The Skiers. 46
17)       60 Postcards. 47
18)       The Editor. 49
19)       The Publicans. 51
20)       The Football Reporter. 53
21)       The Mount Snowdon Challenge. 55
22)       The Unicyclist. 58
23)       Poppies at The Tower of London.. 60
24)       FA Cup Final Crowds. 62
25)       A Festival Crowd.. 64
26)       Band Members Reunited.. 65
27)       Status Quo – The Frantic Four. 68
28)       Billy Franks. 73
29)       Clare Grogan.. 76
30)       Abbey Road Recording Studios. 80
31)       Dodgy. 84
32)       Sir Horace Gentleman Meets Horace Panter. 87
33)       Soundchecking With The Stranglers. 90
34)       From The Jam... 92
35)       Tim Wheeler. 95
36)       The Gigs. 97
a.      The English Beat at The O2 Oxford Academy 13th March 2014.. 97
b.     TV Smith at SUB89 Reading 30th April 2014.. 98
c.      John Bramwell at Reading SUB89 25th April 2014.. 99
d.     The Rifles at Shepherds Bush Empire London 2nd May 2014.. 100
e.      Embrace at Shepherd’s Bush Empire London 21st May 2014.. 101
f.       The Charlatans at The Garage at Highbury Corner 20th October 2014.. 102
g.      James at The Royal Albert Hall 19th November 2014.. 103

h.     Carter USM at The O2 Brixton Academy 22nd November 2014.. 104

2014 has turned into a very eventful year. As well as the new book project, I went up Mount Snowdon with some friends, and we raised almost £2700 for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. The first book has now achieved 323 sales raising about £500 for the charity. Unfortunately in November we found out that mum's cancer had returned after 2 years in remission, and so she is due to have an operation on January 14th at Harefield Hospital to remove a cancerous nodule on her lung. This is a secondary bowel cancer from the cancer she had back in 2012. Therefore second half of Janaury is all mum being there for mum, and naturally is going to be a write off in terms of the book. So I am hoping to work around the last few potential participants that include Gabby Logan, Freya North & Christopher Biggins, and yet still get the book finished for spring publication,. However I am prepared to push it back if I have too, as I want it to be the very best it can be.

Thanks for all the support this year, especially to those who have bought the first book, donated to the fundraisng, and those people kind enough to given up their time and being part of the new book. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

A Special Night at The Union Chapel

Last night I photographed Billy Franks for the new book at his very special concert at the Union Chapel in London. I have seen him play live many times over the years, but never before backed by a gospel choir. It was an absolutely stunning show. Billy was one of the musicians who immediately agreed to coming on board the new book, and was right at the top of my wish list too. The former front man of the 1980s band The Faith Brothers is one of the good guys, a master craftsman in the singer / songwriting. This will be a special chapter for me to write.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Gail Porter at Winter Wonderland

I met up with Gail Porter at a very cold and festive Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park last December, and it was another hugely enjoyable and fascinating experience in the journey of the forthcoming Lives & Times book. She was really lovely and very enthusiastic in getting involved in the book. This photo also shows her wearing the Beating Bowel Cancer tie to help raise awareness about the disease. The chapter will make reference to our ride on the "Ski Slope" where stupidly I hadn't realised what I was letting myself in for! I am still feeling a bit dizzy now :) Of course this was a brilliant opportunity, and how many people can count themselves lucky enough to have photographed the beautiful Gail Porter? Yes this can be a tough job, but someone has to do it ;) 

I have yet to have anything other than great fun doing this so far, and everyone taking part has been so kind and up for the idea and totally supporting the fundraising project for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. What on earth will I do with myself once this is finished?? :)

As the new book enters it final stages now in terms of the photographing of people, I now down to maybe a couple moe photographs and then it will time to begin a countdown to publication. The plan is to publish in the next few months, but if there is anyone out there who would like to come on board I am still open to new people / new ideas... 

My mother successfully had surgery in February to remove a cancerous nodule from her left lung, which as expected was a secondary cancer from her bowel cancer of 2012. She is making a great recovery, and has been given the all clear and is back on regular blood tests and CT scans to monitor her health. So its all systems go now with the new book, and if anything the whole point of doing it has been even more reinforced by that recent turn of events. 

If you can't wait for the new book with Gail in it, the first book "Beating Bowel Cancer" is still available to buy on Amazon with all proceeds going to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Find out more about it here.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

James at The Royal Albert Hall

The James concert at The Royal Albert Hall was stunning. I think any half decent band couldn't fail to impress at such a wonderful venue. This was the second gig I have seen there some 31 years since my first one seeing Siouxsie & The Banshees in 1983! I had been chasing James and lead singer Tim Booth for a while to meet and photograph them for the new book, but alas my attempts failed so I had to settle with taking my gig camera with me and snapping a few shots from the floor in the arena. I was pretty pleased with what I got though, and James will feature in the "Gig" chapter I am doing in the book.

With the return of mum's cancer things are naturally a little bit up in the air. The writing of book 2 "Lives & Times" is still carrying on at a great pace. Even if I wound it down today, I still have half a dozen names lined up to be photographed. There is a possibility that depending on mum's course of treatment I might have to either curtail the photography a bit, or perhaps delay publication. However it's getting close to completion, and I would be happy to go with what I have plus the remaining planned photographs. 

It's a time for positivity, and keeping everything crossed that mum gets through this once again. The way she coped with everything that was thrown at her first time around 2 years ago was amazing, and she is already in that same zone again this time... 

Friday, 14 November 2014

Good News Bad News Week

This week I have certainly experienced the highs and lows on this journey. The week got off to a great start. Book 1 generated 4 sales over a few days, which means at the end of the month I will be able to donate some more royalties to Beating Bowel Cancer. Sales of the first book are now at 322, and over the last two years over £500 has been raised for the charity.

This was followed by a brilliant day in London where no less than 4 photos were done for book 2 due out in 2015. Carrie Grant kindly agreed to be photographed, but it meant I had to be in London for 11:00 to meet her. This meant I had to sort work out, and run the office phone diverted to my mobile, and get all the deliveries out the day before. This worked out fine. I took advantage of my time in London to also photograph Rachael Chadwick, the author of the wonderful 60 Postcards book. I then met up with Tim Wheeler, the lead singer of ASH who was in East London to promote is debut solo album Lost Domain. I even had time to visit the poppies at The Tower Of London, and I might even have a photograph for the book from that too! It was one of the best days so far in the making of book 2.

Alas then we had the bad news. Mum had her annual appointment with her consultant the following day. We expected it to be a formality, but were dealt the bombshell that the cancer has returned. A recent CT scan has showed up a nodule on her left lung. Having had 2 years of remission, and everything looking so good this was a real shock. Mum will now have a PET scan to see if the cancer has spread anywhere else, and then in early December she will see the consultant again where a plan of action will be discussed. She is remarkably brave and determined, and typically is more concerned about the welfare of her horse!

So its an uncertain few months ahead, and we just have to be with mum every step of the way. I am determined to continue on with the book and finish it as planned for publication in Spring 2015, but if events dictate otherwise then that might have to change.

The continued support from people taking part in the book is overwhelming, and this week Gail Porter confirmed her participation, so I am meeting up with her in the next few weeks. I have also made contact with Christopher Biggins, and I am hoping he will also confirm his initial yes to take part.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Meeting John Shuttleworth

The recent meeting with comedy character John Shuttleworth was fascinating, and the chapter in the book will talk about this, and also about the bowel cancer connection. The photos were taken during the interval of his recent performance in Reading. Like so may of the people who have so kindly been part of the book John was happy to also pose for an additional photo with the bowel cancer tie.

Coming up in the week ahead is photographing Carrie Grant, and the for the first time for this book I am going to do a second photo attempt when I meet up with Rachel Chadwick, the author of the wonderful 60 Postcards book. I won't reveal just yet what happened when we met up the first time. I am also hoping to photograph from the world of music Tim Wheeler from Ash on Tuesday when he launches his solo album, and also The Rifles before their London gig on Friday night. The latest person to agree to be part of the book is Gail Porter so it's still going brilliantly!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Boys From The Alarm

I met up with two members of my favourite band The Alarm in Soho, and took their photo for the new book Lives & Times. Don't worry the photo I will use in the book will not include me. Nigel Twist and Eddie Macdonald were out for a meal in London last October before Nigel headed back to the USA, and they kindly agreed to have their photo taken. Since the band split in 1991 Eddie has established himself as a highly respected professional photographer, and Nigel is a Senior Investigator at the San Francisco Public Defenders Office. They were really friendly, interesting and great fun ensuring that I have another cracking chapter to add to the book.

As things stand I now have 3 out of the 4 original band members photographed for the book, leaving just Dave Sharp to come on board, can it be done? Time is running as the book is almost finished...

By the way watch out for Eddie's new musical project Smalltown Glory with a new EP coming soon.