About Me

My photo

Plenty on Wikipedia and on IMDd.  Those two websites are great for the date and place of birth, as well as listing the TV, films, stage and radio I've worked on.  What they don't do is describe what it was like working on those productions, alongside the wonderful and sometimes not-so-wonderful personalities involved. They also don't divulge the highs and lows of over 50 years of marriage, bringing up three kids as well as emerging grandchildren. If you're interested, Learning My Lines (my autobiography), Echoes (my first novel) are for sale through my website, as is an archive of my blogs from 2009-2013.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

P.S. SEASIDE

A small addendum to my previous post, which apparently no one is interested in.

The only actors that I wouldn’t call on to be Station Announcers would be certain EastEnders.

When I was in that show I had to learn how to ‘lip read’, so inaudible were they.


So the bosses of Railway Lines should be careful that none of them slip through.         

Saturday, 22 November 2014

BESIDE THE SEASIDE

I was down in Brighton last Wednesday, the 19th, to do a live interview with Sarah Garrell on BBC radio for Sussex and Surrey plus an interview down the line with Andy Potter for radio Derby to publicize my new novel Lies.  Very pleasant except the journey down to Brighton was chaotic.

There’d been a ‘Security Alert’ at Victoria Station, so police cleared the station for an hour. The trains were jumbled up and all over the shop, hence massive delays. But I eventually got to my destination.

A few drinks after the interviews with my mate Jon who designs the covers. I slept well that night.

Next day at Brighton Station, I stumble onto the 10.19 train to Victoria. Dribs and drabs of last minute passengers rush on and search for seats. Then there’s an announcement from the train driver. ‘This train is out of commission, So if all passengers would leave the train and await further instructions.’

Everyone piled out, about four hundred of us looking bewildered. Then the Tannoy started. His words spewed like gushing water, none of them comprehensible, just one phrase seemed to be clear ‘Platform 5’. The four hundred rushed off. But there was no train on that platform. And the board sign said ‘Bedford’. Then the train arrived. A few climbed aboard, obviously not concerned about wether it was the right train or not but just to get a seat.

The rest of us stood around waiting for another announcement but none came. It was obviously a tea break. Then another train arrived on Platform 6. A load of them went on it. I asked a sensible looking man, who was climbing aboard. ‘Does this go to Victoria?‘ ‘No, but Clapham Junction, if that’s any good.‘ That’ll do me, I thought, so I joined the confused travelers. Eventually the train moved off.

No Clapham Junction appeared through the train window. and we ended up at Three Bridges. I was furious and stormed about looking for someone to complain to.

Then, the notice board on the platform changed. It read Charring Cross. Thank the Lord, all thoughts of being lost and abandoned evaporated, here was my escape route!

Now a couple of days later and reflecting on that chaotic mess of getting back and forth from the South Coast I came up with an answer to one of the problems that railway passengers face.

Station announcers are simply just gabblers. They should be trained in microphone techniques and clarity. I find most of them totally incomprehensible. So why don’t they use actors?

There are thousands of actors all over the country, all out of work. They would leap at the chance to earn a few bob.


I just wish that whoever owns all the lines would wake up and bring in the professionals.        

Friday, 7 November 2014

GOOD YOUNG SAM

On Monday the 10th my new novel LIES is published to coincide with the Tracks of My Years that I’ll be doing every day on the Ken Bruce Show that week.

As I recorded the interviews three or four weeks ago I have no idea what I said. I assume I mentioned books, the music and my career but couched in what way I have no idea. I do know that I didn’t swear. I have to bite my tongue when talking about certain things.

I’m sure that you know that Ken Bruce is a very welcoming, charming and generally a good egg. And bloody good at his job as well. 

I can’t finish without thanking young Sam Westerby, who I wouldn’t have done it without his application.


Thank, Sam. 

Saturday, 1 November 2014

PETER JAMES

I first came across the name Peter James when I was in City Books, an independent bookshop in Brighton. The book had a picture of The Palace Pier on the cover. I bought it. It was by Peter James. (there’s a follow up to this incident but that’s for another time.)

I realised that he’d written a series of books about a detective in Brighton and all of them had Dead in the title. A clever marketing ploy. Whatever, I was hooked.

I discovered that Mr James was vocal about crime writers not being taken ‘seriously’. I suppose he meant that they were never considered as contenders for the Booker Prize etc. It seems that all the ‘serious‘ books, that he wants to be a part of are mainly reviewed the Guardian Review.

I have bought as few from that esteemed publication and without exception they have been obscure and mainly incomprehensible. They are bought mainly, I assume, by so called intellectuals, who like to be in the swim and prove that they read the ‘posh’ papers. Some books do escape those dusty confines and become best sellers.

It reminds me of the 60’s and 70’s when everybody seemed to be carrying copies of ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.‘ The author of this tome was Peter M. Pirsig who sold 5,000,000 copies of it world wide. But I never found anyone who had actually read it.

Getting a taxi to Brighton station the other day, the driver said how much he loved London.
‘I’m going up tonight.‘ he said. ‘I’m going to pick up a writer who’s signing books in Waterstones in Piccadilly. His name is Peter James.’

I rushed to my Guardian Review of that week, which lists authors who signing at various venues, looking for Mr James. But he wasn’t listed.

Thank your lucky stars, Mr James, that paper is the kiss of death.


Incidentally, not a bad title if you switch around. Kiss Of The Dead.