Off To Aston…

I remember being very keen to escape from Hull and Willerby. At age 18, my chance had arrived. I was off to Aston University in Birmingham for 3-years. It wasn’t my family I wanted to escape from it was the place. There was a big world to explore and I wanted to have a fresh start. Be the person that I was instead of the person people thought I was. Back then, Birmingham seemed miles and miles away. The train ride was via Doncaster and Sheffield and it was tremendously exciting…..

Birmingham itself was like a concrete jungle. Aston is near the city center and then it literally was concrete underpasses, concrete walkways, concrete bull ring and … well, it was all so much concrete really! Did I care? Hell no. I loved it there. I opened a bank account at Barclays and for 6-years lived off an overdraft paid off each semester by receipt of my grant monies (Thank you Barclays!). Aston is also like concrete. Huge, massive concrete and brick buildings with high ceilings and six or seven stories. Investment in this new University had however commenced and so there was a new glassy modern library and other buildings going up. The geology department was different. It was situated in what had been a small Victorian house by the library and what can only be termed a long pre-fabricated building (see photo at bottom). It had character.


It was a different world back then it really was. No cell phones or computers meant we had to do everything the old fashioned way. It was also safer or I was naive? I would hitch hike home for a weekend. I would just decide Friday afternoon to go home and would set off walking from the city center with my thumb signal. I recall one day a guy in a small red vintage sports car stopped and drove me to Sheffield… that was fun. I always made it in 4-5 hours and would hitch hike back again on the Sunday afternoon….

Of course, it took me a while to understand people in Birmingham. A buzz was, I soon learned, what I might get at a bus stop… for example. It also took me the first year to truly settle in. It wasn’t as easy as I had imagined moving away and living on your own. But by my second year, I was stage manager at Aston Campus Entertainments in the Students Union, on Student Council and I had moved off campus to a flat in west Brom. that I shared with Brendan.

The first night that we moved in we thought we would go for a beer. Down the high street we went and the sound of reggae music ushered us into a pub. We opened the door talking animatedly and walked in. Then there was that moment when we realised that the music had stopped and that, apart from our chatter, there was total silence. We looked up and around. Every single person in that pub was black….. except us. And every single one of them was staring at us. I think we reacted the right way as we decided in for a penny, in for a pound and went to the bar. We ordered a beer. The chattering recommenced, the music came back on and within 30-minutes, Brendan and I were chit chatting away to everyone inside…….It turned out to be a really great place full of great people!

Naive? Probably….. but we had fun.

The Geology class of 1981. Yours truly is top row second from the left…..


I Am A Stage

The light shines in my face
The rock n roll is loud here
Guitar screams and bass thunders
Reverberating in my head
Stereo composition drives
The beat is sensual and strong
This is my own made up song
Making it up as I go along
There are no rules
Cos’ rules are for Fools
There are no requirements
Except to entertain
The song in my head
Doesn’t actually exist
And yet that song rocks
I am a stage – a venue
I am all the rage – rocking too
A driving beat moves me
It is the engine of my life
Pumping, thumping along
It’s the heart that drives this song
Making it up as I go along
I can’t do anything wrong
Life throbs and pulses
Mind over matter
Inside over outside
A rock n roll ride
That song inside
Keeps me jiving
I am the Lord of the dance, said He
But, the dance is inside of me
In my heart
Tiphareth rocks
To the song of life


Death on the Beach

Sunlight shimmers on churning waters
Sand glitters like gold dust rolling with the waves
An azure sky, brilliant colors brightened
There is a surreal element to this surf
Tumbling over, erosive currents pull
Unreal, it seems to be so unreal
Like a waking lucid dream
Dreamt by this dreamer
Experienced in this place
A moment of time trapped
In my memory forever
So that when I endeavor
To recall
It’s there
Yet again
Like an aging photo
In a photo album
Faded at the edges
Handled too many times
Deeply etched lines
On paper and my face
As the years have passed by
Faster, ever faster
To that ultimate destination
Without silly recrimination
Giving in to the tidal pull
Sand gold swirling around me
Sunlight tuning blue
Dragged away by the tide that brought me
Tumbling over, erosive currents pull
Unreal, it seems so unreal
Life passing away
Into a waking lucid dream
Dreamt by this dreamer
On the other side of life


No One Will Remember

And when we are gone
It will be like we didn’t exist
All the trials, tribulations
All the joy, the jubilation
A life of toil and achievement
Forgotten and gone
No one will remember deeds
No one will know the impact
Written only in the dust of death
After that final breath


She’s Out There

I came across the hand written lyrics to a song that I wrote in 1976! I can still play it and one day I will record it as it is actually quite good even if I say so myself. It is rock reggae like the Police but predates them and it is what I played in their dressing room at Aston University…. but that is another story that you can read here..

Here are the lyrics….

She’s out there
She’s out there
She’s out there

She was one them girls
She was good looking and she knew it
She was oh so so cool
But there was something missing
With that chick oooooh

She’s out there
She’s out there
She’s out there

She was out on the town
She was grooving around but she blew it
She was oh so so rude
But there was something missing
With that chick ooooooh

She’s out there
She’s out there
She’s out there

Brings back memories…..

Punk Girl by Jakob west.

Punk Girl by Jakob west.

Memories of Another Me?

There are moments when I am overwhelmed with a strange feeling. It’s as if I remember events or things or perhaps hints of events or things that never actually happened. Sometimes, it’s like an ache yearning for something that seems lost or unclear. The feeling that there is something strange about things is a part of this sensation. Bizarre?

To be honest, I think it is this feeling that I had as a child that lead me to imagine that I was not really here at all but instead I was sat in a small room hooked up to a machine through which I experienced a virtual life knowing that outside my room was an endless corridor of such rooms….

The feeling sometimes is so strong that I am sad for whatever I have lost. The half memories of somewhere make me yearn for wherever it was.

I have wondered if I am remembering dreams? Did I dream these things? Or am I in the dream now yearning for my waking life elsewhere? Other times I wonder if I am recalling experiences from another me in a parallel Universe!

Whatever this feeling is I find that as I grow older the feeling is stronger and comes to me more often. It’s so difficult to describe but does anyone else ever feel this way?


Ghosts, Reality and Long-Leggety Beasties

My summer cold of course decided to move into to my larynx and set up shop resulting in the last few days feeling distinctly unwell. The antibiotics are now kicking in and I’m recovering nicely. Meanwhile, I launched a new ghost and paranormal website at My Haunted Life Too. Why I did so I don’t really know as there are more than enough such sites around already but actually, I did it because I enjoy the stories and because I could. I do hope that over time, it will blossom into a real presence on the paranormal side of the web. Meanwhile, I am hard at work on my last book for a little while. Another ghost story book actually but I will say no more until it is out. Then it will be summer holiday and finally a determined push to finish The Lord of the Elements……

Meanwhile, the last two days have been very gloomy here in Brno. The contrast between last week and this couldn’t be greater and I am reminded forcibly about how weather can impact mood. While last week, I was feeling full of the joys of spring and taking in the blossoms and the colors of green and so on while feeling like it simply couldn’t be any better, this week I feel as if a heavy weight is hanging over me and something bad is about to happen. I think it can all be put down simply to the weather. Weather it seems can also have an impact on how we see the world and how we feel about it.

The new book is out and slowly selling and picking up steam. No reviews yet so I have no idea how it is being received. But, I will create my own reality and say it is a wonderful book and will be well received – of course, in my reality there is alway an exception…….

Finally, Alienora Taylor‘s excellent and wonderfully funny book – Long-Leggety Beasties – is available for free on Kindle and #1 in its category on both sides of the Atlantic. Deserved congratulations to her and I really really do recommend the book……