welcome

About me

How much do you want to know? This is probably too much.

The Audio/Video archive

My main hobby over the years was recording gigs, and documentary records of places, campaigns and events

Recordings archive

In the beginning

Born 1954 in Aylesbury, Bucks, the last of three kids, David, Rita and myself. We lived in a council house and dad had a long difficult commute to his work in Dunstable, so we moved to Ivinghoe, a small chocolate box village.

In 1961 David died of Leukaemia. Shortly after this Vauxhall motors opened a new factory in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. This offered a fresh start and so we moved up north.

As far as I was concerned it was a good move, I didn't like Ivinghoe. So it was that I spent my formative years on Merseyside.

I failed the 11+ exam (this was before the days of comprehensive schools) and so attended a secondary modern school.

Me at sports day 1966

This was "The Grange" in Ellesmere Port, long since closed.

The Grange wasn't the toughest school in the state sector but not a highly academic place either and being on Merseyside gave me aversion therapy all things connected with football. But we did good things there, not least in the English lessons where, under the direction of Dalton Moorehouse the teacher in the picture above, we made films

Goldfingy - made by class 3T2 in 1967. I'm the one powering the TV with the bicycle

Dalton made a lot of films around Ellesmere Port in the 1960's which I inherited in 2001, shortly before he passed away. You can see them on my Youtube channel in the playlist "The Films of Dalton Moorehouse"

All this set the ground for what would eventually become my career.

I left school as soon as I could which was at the end of the 4th year, when I was 15 in 1969. This, of course, was the era of Woodstock and man on the moon. Woodstock turned out to be the most influential of the two.

I can thank a tech college - Carlett Park on the Wirral, which became "Wirral met" - for my further education. It's also long gone from its original campus having made way for houses, today only the chapel of the old house remains. The college now occupies the site of the old Grange school.

I gained my “O” and “A” levels there and loved the place

me, 1973
Me in 1973

It was at Carlett Park I discovered the Hippy thing, with events like Woodstock of course, music from Pink Floyd and especially Hawkwind, which was the first band I ever saw live during ther "Space Ritual" tour in Liverpool. That gig was recorded for the Space Ritual album, listen carefully, I'm probably on the record somewhere.

In 1973 I arrived in Norwich at the University of East Anglia, the UEA, where I studied Environmental Sciences which gave me a BSc (hons) degree. These three years were wonderful, I got to meet people from backgrounds utterly different to my own, there were many a late night spent discussing issues I'd never considered before as well as doing other things more associated with hippy students.

It was a challenging and rewarding time but I'll be honest, degree level is as far as I'd ever want to take education. It all became so detached from the real world and theoretical as to be somewhat meaningless.

Perhaps because of this I spent a lot of time which maybe should have been spent in the UEA library working at Hospital Radio Norwich around 1974-5, which gave me the experience required to get a job with the BBC as a technician in 1976, so after my time in UEA I moved to London and glorious Finsbury Park, the only part of London to spell "Krapyrubsnif" backwards.

Chris and Womble on my settee;
Chris and Womble on my settee, Finsbury Park 1976

I lived in London from 1976 to 1980 working as a technician for the BBC in Bush House (the "World Service") and Broadcasting house (Domestic Radio) and I have to say didn’t enjoy it. The job was great, something I'd always wanted to do, but working shifts and living in bedsit land meant I found the city hard to live in, anonymous and depressing. It wasn't until I quit and returned to Norwich I discovered the real reason I didn't like London.

Nrfol skies

I longed for the big Norfolk skies, you never see the sky in London, not like in Norwich.

So I returned to Norwich toward the end of 1980, when I got a job as Media services technician at Wymondham college, a strange boarding school housed in Nissen huts about 12 miles south of the city. It had been a WW2 military hospital originally, then converted into a teacher training college before becoming the school. Somehow it never lost that atmosphere. Since then the place has been rebuilt and the Nissen huts have gone.

That's when I did the first of two really sensible things, I joined the Local Government pension scheme, which I forgot about for the next 38 years.

It was at his time early in 1981 I bought my house in the Golden triangle area of Norwich and I have lived here ever since. That was the second sensible thing I did, so soon after the first. I was never so boring again!

me, 2019

The Norwich era

I've lived here in Norwich for most of my life now. I’m single with no children, the marrying thing came close but didn't work out.

The job at Wymondham College lasted four years and it's fair to say I didn't really fit in. They didn't like long hair or jeans and wanted me to wear a tie, something I hadn't done for a great number of years.

It was a very good school, but a conventional place to put it mildly. But I got on well with the kids and to the horror of the school establishment I began to encourage the school rock bands, which was seen as a very undesirable thing to do by some teachers.

The best ever version of the Wymondham College School song

Anyway eventually I escaped to City College (CCN), the local FE college, where I spent the rest of my working days

That job was very rewarding, a real career. I ran the TV studio and edit suite area and also looked after the music studio.

It was a good time to be in this trade, the technology changed dramatically from analogue film and tape to digital HD and non-linear editing. The whole AV industry went through a revolution and old ways of working were swept away very quickly. It was a very exciting time.

I set up the City College Youtube channel and produced recordings of gigs and plays using student crews

The highlight of the job was undoubtedly recording the graduation ceremonies, highly formal events held in the magnificent Norwich cathedral. All told I did 25 of these, a whole quarter of a century! The early videos were sold on VHS tapes, which became DVDs and then Blu rays. The last few were live streamed.

I also organised live streaming of the end of year plays in 2017 and 2018, something that impressed the OFSTED inspectors apparently!

Overall I was lucky, I didn't consider myself a "worker", I was employed in what was essentially my hobby,

The job evolved into looking after an awful lot of computers, Premiere video edit suites (Adobe CC), a 24 track multi-track music studio running Logic and a TV studio based around the Tricaster 455. I worked with students from all sorts of backgrounds and educational levels from special needs to degree level.

New TV studio 2013
The new TV studio I built in 2013

But life hasn't all been about work, during the 80's I made several trips to Berlin, divided as it was with the wall it was a truly exciting place to be. Amsterdam of course was closer and I went there a lot. The coffeeshops were the main attraction.

During the 80's the big annual hippy fest was Glastonbury. I would take van loads of people down and I can proudly say I survived the Somme like conditions of 1985 without getting wet and with a dry tent.

me 1983;
Elephant Fair 1983

Hippy fairs were a big part of my life back then and most of my friends seem to have been new age travellers. I spent a lot of time in old buses and vans sitting by wood burners in winter.

From 1988 to 2001 I spent a month every year traveling to distant lands including Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, India, South Africa, USA and Australia, some on more than one occasion and usually over Christmas / New year. I always travelled backpack style and avoided the tourist traps.

Cambodia 1994
Cambodia 1994

It's hard to say which place was the best. I went to Vietnam and Cambodia at a good time in the early 90's, the countries were just opening up after the long period of war and isolation. There were few westerners around and everything was really cheap. The Vietnamese were wonderful people and seemed happy to welcome westerners despite all we (well the Americans) had done to their country. But of course there was grinding poverty and still a lot of wartime hazards like minefields. A cheap holiday in other people's misery as the Sex Pistols wrote? Maybe. Peru was just plain weird and South Africa was wonderful, Australia and the US, let's just say "box ticked".

Then raving happened.

HEADFUK at the exodus festival 1999
Exodus festival 1999

The period 1997 to 2001 was dominated socially by following the free party scene as a geriatric raver. On the whole a wonderful experience but edgy in the extreme at times. A serious accident happened at a party in Brick lane in London which which, although a traumatic event, taught me a lot about myself and eventually saved my career. Take a look at the Alternative section to see more about that crazy time

While all this was going on I also became involved with the cannabis law reform campaign. I took over the campaign site UKCIA and still look after it to this day.

On a more conventional note I spent most of my money since 2001 on renovating the house, something that had long been on the "to do" list. Just about everything got done from new roof to rewiring, new kitchen and bathroom and carpets throughout, just in time for retirement,

I am now retired, which is nice. Life is a lot quieter, the house is paid off and I get an ok pension, a total of 42 years servitude have finally paid off.

Politically, I was a member of the Labour Party up to the point where Tony Blair took it over and destroyed it. As a result of Blairs changes I had to resign my 23 year membership of the party in 1996, now we've just seen the re-election of the Tories following the disaster that was Ed Milliband as Labour leader, followed by the Tories in 2015, Brexit in 2016 followed by Trump in the US and Boris Johnson in 2019. These are dark days frankly.

In 1999 I joined the Green Party and was an activist in the Norwich branch, but I resigned from the Green party early in 2004, for much the same reason I resigned the Labour party.

I guess I just don't like politicians and if the world was a better place I would be an anarchist. These days although I feel I should vote, I have no idea who I should vote for, I dislike all of them.

So there you go, that's me.

Oh, and I've got an allotment.