What else would you expect to see on an ‘about me’ page hmm?
Well, for those people keen to find out what I am about and what makes me get out of bed every day, please read on.
It begins with early childhood, as most things do in our lives. I grew up in the North West of England, so yes my accent could be considered to be a ‘broad accent’, thankfully, slightly more rounded these days after moving to the Southern Hemisphere – NSW, Australia.
My interest in electronics, music which includes Electronic Music and model rail was quite evident, not to mention my love for working with my hands, so Lego and Meccano was the source of my entertainment as a child. When I wasn’t playing with myself, sorry, playing with my toys, I would be listening to music.
In my younger years, I was listening to all kinds of music of the time, early 70’s was a great time for music, some would argue that this is not true, in which case you are from another planet or another era, later years (90’s to present) or from the golden age of Big Band Jazz or even a classical music lover. You would be forgiven for thinking that I do not appreciate those styles of music or the genre, quite the opposite in fact. Whilst I couldn’t tell you one symphony from another – the benefits of not having a classical education, I do enjoy listening to a great range of styles, genres and even some of the static that gets air time on today’s radio stations.
One thing emerged from the 70’s for me. Something sparked my imagination and more importantly, my curiosity. A sound that captured my attention. The Synthesizer, or in my mind the only synthesizer that mattered. The Moog Synthesizer! Surely not you say! Oh yes, the Moog, the Moog Modular, the beast that weighed as much as two Sumo Wrestlers on steroids and could pack a punch equal to or greater than the aforementioned duo. It was a magical time for me as much as it was for those that embraced this wondrous device.
There were many albums featuring the Moog, Wendy Carlos being one of the main artists that made great use of the Modular behemoth, ‘Switched on Bach’ was one of those must have albums during the early years of Electronic music. For me, this was not the case, My love for the Moog was bludgeoned into my brain and heart, albeit self inflicted, by one album and one album only – ‘Electronic Hair Pieces’ by the late Mort Garson. This album was a complete electronic cover of the musical ‘Hair’. The album cover featured a head of a woman, the makeup was white with colourful highlights and cables emulating the hair. The back cover featured a similar layout, however, there was a vignette of Mort playing the Modular. That image fascinated me. I vowed that ‘one day’ I would own such a synth, knowing for a fact that it would never happen, or so I thought.
There were other albums that came out that would peak my interest, one such album styled on a Sci-Fi/Biblical format, in the sense that the album artwork was based on an amazing spacecraft close to earth, discovered and information gathered to produce an epic breakdown on the lives and history of this incredible civilization that traveled thousands of years only to reach Earth…poor buggers, anyway, the music associated with this amazing story is played out on 2 Vinyl discs. The album is called ‘Pentateuch of the Cosmogony’, a concept piece of work by two artists, one visual and the other audible – Patrick Woodroffe and Dave Greenslade. This album featured many synthesizers, including 2 products from the Moog stable, notably the ‘Minimoog Model D’ and a later model the ‘Polymoog’. This was to be another one of those albums that would be played time and time again. From this point on, it was to be electronic music as a mainstay for my listening pleasure.
So far I have only covered music and a hint of the other items of interest. There was a short period of time where model rail was to play a part in my life, along with electronics. Not to mention some early attempts at composing music, using basic equipment. That was soon to change.
From leaving school and finally securing a Job with a certain German Motor vehicle company, of which I spent a glorious 8 years, decided that the motor trade was not for me. I moved into Warehousing of all things, 5 years working for Ingvar – yes good old IKEA. In that time I took a Radio Amateur Course and passed the City & Guilds RAE examination, Credit and a Distinction for the 2 exams required back then. It gave me the opportunity to play with electronics again, only this time, to actually use what I built for my hobby. SSTV (Slow Scan TV) on 2m and 70cms. I built my own interface to use with my Windows 95 powered PC. 1Gb Hard Drive 4Mb RAM 1Gb Graphics card and oh my god, this was High Spec… Can you imagine that nowadays? Operating systems seem to swallow at least 4-5Gbytes now, then there is the updates.
Whilst I was working at Ingvars shop, I also managed to invest my time and money back into music. Buying a legit copy of Cubase VST 3.5 and a 1 in 2 out MOTU MIDI Flyer and a Yamaha MU90r synth, well sound module. All running through a Sound-blaster AWE64 Gold Sound-card, allegedly ‘Full Duplex’, truthfully not full duplex. I spent many hours sequencing in Cubase, as I couldn’t get the sound to work, so everything was mastered in Cubase and recorded onto C60 Chrome/Metal Cassette Tapes or later onto Mini disc, which I still have.
Then the dry spell, no music, well not quite, got back into Computers and online gaming, oh joy. I moved away from the humble Ingvars shop and onto Tech Support, the heady days of Dial-up. Yes I love the sound of a 56k Modem in the morning. 24/7 support, all year round so yes, for the purists 24/7/365. I learned more nerdy stuff, more online gaming, tried my hand at web design, hello Dreamweaver BA – Before Adobe.
Five years at a certain Internet company in Birchwood, Warrington. Made some good long standing friends from that place before the Mad Axe was swung and we all were shown the door and given our respective pay outs. The sound of Redundancy always sends shivers down my spine. Sadly have endured that fate twice now. Always leaves a bitter taste in the mouth too.
From that point on, it was back to Customer Service just to make ends meet, New house, new car and dogs to feed, demands that you get a job ASAP! It wasn’t until I got married and spent a month here in Australia, the fact that my Wife was missing the lifestyle here and her family. I decided that it would be a great idea to live here in Oz. Once again, it was a bit of a pipe dream. It took the death of a dear family member to poke that stick deep into my ribs and scream at me ‘LIFE’S TOO BLOODY SHORT!!!!’. With that firmly planted in my head, the call to OZ was greater than the need to stay in Old Blighty.
Coming to Oz was not a hard decision to make. Filled in my forms, submitted War and Peace to the Australian Immigration and was deemed worthy. So here I am, almost 12 years on and have a good life. So what about the music, electronics and all the other stuff? I am glad you asked. No, really I am. The last 5 years has seen a change in lifestyle, being afforded decent jobs mostly, pay is good, a damn site more than the UK. It has offered the chance to own my dream, yes the Moog Synth. The image that sits atop this site, is the Minimoog Voyager XL, a synth that came to me out of the blue. I had just bought a Korg Radias, a Moog Slim Phatty, my first real analog Synth. Whilst looking for other Moog products I saw a number of posts relating to the Voyager XL. Was this a hoax? This cannot be real, surely? I knew pretty much every Synth that Moog had made…or so I thought. Then the notification from Moog Music, they had just uploaded a video to YouTube…..And there it was, the Voyager XL. In My Dreams would I only own one. This is going to be expensive I said. I was right. Thankfully the Wife said yes… yes, actually said yes.
After placing the order, waiting 2 weeks for it to arrive. I drove to the Shop in Parramatta, paid the outstanding amount, drove home, god knows how, my eyes were on the back seat more than they needed to be. The reason for that? I couldn’t believe that I had the XL, in the car, with me driving home, with it. Mine…mine, mine, mine!!!!!! The voice I heard in my head was the wish, the dream of that little boy many years ago stating that ‘One day….’ It was that day and it is still with me.
I have had other synths, some I still have, some I have sold to make ends meat, after being made redundant for the second time in my life, what hurt the most is both my Wife and I were out before Christmas, only recently did we manage to find work. The one synth my wife would not let me sell so we could eat, was the Voyager XL. I think I would rather sell a Kidney first.
So what now? Well, who knows? Nobody knows what is going to happen, both my Wife and I have had some health scares, a few visits to hospital with the ‘chest pains’ kind of puts perspective on life. So now, Work and Home. What we do in both environments will remain with me, apart from the subjects I have listed as being a work in progress, they will be set free on these pages, this site. Just takes time, just like that little boys dreams of owning something, he thought he would never have..you wait long enough, dreams do happen.
Well done, you made it this far.
The End…. or maybe not.