Why Rock Music is so important. My life Rocks.

opher & Bo Diddley 1980 Opher looking ecstatic with Bo Diddley after a gig in Hull in 1982

I was born in 1949 so I lived through most of the Rock era. As I lived in London in the sixties and seventies I had the opportunity to see most of the big names around. Back then you could see most people in small clubs for minimum prices. A band like Pink Floyd would cost a mere 12p. I saw Led Zeppelin in a small club for 25p, Jimi Hendrix at the Albert Hall for £1. Three day festivals were about £1.50. Those were the days. There was no security so you could wander up and chat to people. As seventeen year olds we wandered into the front of stage press enclosure, with biro written Press Badges on fag packets stuck to our jackets, at the Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival and saw Cream perform up close. As a student I used to go to three gigs a week. Rock was part of the culture – a political/social event. The sixties counter-culture was flourishing. Good times. I liked being at the front soaking it up and in my younger days dancing with my girlfriend. She sure loved to Rock.

I was also a big record collector. I starting collecting when I was eleven. I was particularly fond of Little Richard. By the late sixties I have a couple of thousand albums.

My tastes were wide and I was introduced to the Blues at the age of fourteen, Folk at fifteen and Acid Rock and Psychedelia at eighteen. I loved it all, particularly Roy Harper, Bob Dylan, Captain Beefheart, Woody Guthrie, Jimi Hendrix and Elmore James. The collection and gigs were diverse.

The story of my adventures in Rock are documented in my book ‘In Search of Captain Beefheart:

When I started teaching I set up a record club and even managed to get a course on Rock Music introduced into the curriculum. That spawned a few Adult Education courses. They came out of a love of the music and a need to earn some money. Unfortunately they cost more than they made. I had to purchase a hell of a lot of records to fill the gap.

The course spawned a four volume History of Rock book which was called ‘Rock Strata’ and a single shortened version called ‘Rock Routes’. I shall probably publish these in the future when I’ve got some time to update them.

I still go to a lot of gigs, like some of the new stuff but hate the homogenised, studio castrated sounds of a lot of modern stuff. I like mine raw. I still collect albums and CDs. I’ve presently got about 5000 vinyl and 10,000 CDs. It’s a start.

I started putting down my favourite albums and writing about why I thought they were great. The result was the book ‘537 Essential Rock Album Vol 1’. Vol 2 will be out later this year.

I also wrote about my time in the sixties in London. That came out as ‘The Times and Tales of a Sixties Freak’.

I have a few more Rock books in the pipeline. I have written about my life as a friend of Roy Harper under the title ‘Ruminating on Roy Harper’. The book is complete but is with Roy at the moment for him to write a foreword. Unfortunately Roy has problems of his own at the moment and is otherwise engaged. Hopefully that will resolve itself.

I am writing a book with Nick Harper which should come out next year. I am also writing a book which will be ‘Tributes to Rock Geniuses’ some of which I have been putting out on my blog.

Apart from that I have a series of Sci-fi books out there on Amazon, some antitheist books, and some alternative novels.

It keeps me busy.

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