April 5th, 2009

Hair Cut

Getting To Know You #1: A (not-so) brief musical history...

Part 1 of my Getting To Know You series.

Herein lies a brief history of my musical journey. (If you can call over 2,000 words "brief"?)

Let's wind back the clock to 1977 (date is approximate)

I was living in Beechwood Road in Caterham. My parents had an old (well, it probably wasn't old then) redwood-effect upright piano. A wonderful instrument it was. I remember there being a number of lacquer chips on the corners.

My parents decided - as they were both very musical people - that they would put me on piano lessons. I believe I was 5 at the time, and I had promise. I was sent to an elderly, white-haired lady called Stella Millbank. She lived on Greenhill Avenue in Caterham. Close enough to walk to, although I didn't have to walk that often. I was with Stella until just before I was due to take my examination for Grade 3 Piano, when sadly she died. I was placed with another person, a chap whose name I forget, but I do remember that I didn't like him as much as I did Stella. Anyway, I got through my Grade 3 without any problems, and I was part way through my Grade 4 when circumstances caused me to stop lessons. I do not remember what these circumstances were, but I do remember that I was about 8 or 9 at the time.

At around that time, in 1981, I remember that there was a competition going on with the local Tandridge Talking Newspaper for the Blind to compose and perform the theme tune for the launch. Long story short, I won that competition and an engineer from the Talking Newspaper came and recorded me playing the the on our piano at home, and a journalist from the Caterham News came and photographed me.

Yeah, I know... cheesy grin, eh? I did get in contact with the Talking Newspaper recently to try and get a copy of the theme tune that I wrote. They wrote back and invited me on a tour of their facilities (some 200 miles away). I need to get in contact with them again to see if they will send me a tape of an early "paper". Interesting to learn though, that my theme tune held for about 2 years, when it was replaced by a tune composed by the great Richard Stilgoe. If anyone was going to replace my theme, I'm glad it was him!

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