Cue ceremonial theme, possibly played on a small trumpet, possibly my own…
So… most recently, I co-edited (with Jude Rogers) Smoke: a London Peculiar, a slightly irregular periodical featuring words and images inspired by London. Under the Smoke banner (a rather tatty old thing, but we always made sure we saluted it every morning before beginning work), we also produced Soho!, a board game inspired by the two things for which that small, historic patch of London is famous around the globe – its pubs, and its one-way system – and From The Slopes of Olympus to the Banks of the Lea, a book about London’s response to the Olympics.
Before Smoke, I ran/co-ran (with Clare Wadd) a couple of record labels, the more famous of which (I use the word relatively, unless you’re Japanese, in which case please feel free to call round and cover my naked toes with cherry blossom – it’s been too long) was called Sarah Records, and the less famous of which was called Shinkansen Recordings (don’t worry, very few people have). It would, I think, be fair to say that Sarah changed the face of modern independent music; sadly, though, the world isn’t fair.
Before Sarah, I used to edit/co-edit (with Mark Carnell) the music fanzine Are You Scared To Get Happy?, a heartfelt concoction of Pritt Stick and Letraset which successfully campaigned for the abolition of the compact disc. I also, perhaps more surprisingly, spent a year inside a small yellow box on the 11th floor of an NCP multi-storey behind the Colston Hall in Bristol. Working, I mean, not… trapped…
Before that, I was at Bristol University, where I got a degree in physics. This has mostly been of little use, but can occasionally come in handy when engaged in building nuclear weapons, space exploration and time travel, as I was telling my friend Thaaarg, Destroyer of Planets, only next Wednesday afternoon on presenting him with a new improved detonator (if you’re reading this, Thaaarg!, good luck in your fight with the ten-legged multi-dimensional bee people!).
And before that I spent eighteen years in East London getting gradually taller, which explains the otherwise inexplicable attachment to Leyton Orient FC and the fact that, like Danny Dyer, I can’t abide muppets and, like Ray Winstone, think it’s all about the in-play.
I think that’s pretty much everything. People often ask me, actually, when they find out about the magazine and the record labels and everything, whether I’ve ever met anyone famous. And the answer is yes, yes I have: Little and Large used to park their cars on my level every night when they were in panto at Bristol Hippodrome. Syd, Eddie, if you’re reading this – take it easy, fellahs! And good luck in your fight with the ten-legged multi-dimensional bee people.
If your appetite has been whetted and your fancy not just tickled but reduced to giggling like a tipsy vicar’s wife who’s just been asked if she thinks the bishopric’s too big, you can find out more about Smoke and Sarah by going to the appropriate tab (above) and more about Leyton Orient by going to Brisbane Road every other Saturday at 3pm. And if you want to know what the music sounded like, most of it’s available via the usual digital gateways*, Spotify, iTunes etc.
* Digital Gateways – not to be confused with Somerfield on-line shopping.**
** This made more sense before Somerfield got bought up by the Co-op, but I’m leaving it in for historical context.