I was never a WHAM! fan, but…

Wham! 'Bad-Boys' single cover

George Michael was truly, a gifted artist

I can categorically state, I was never a WHAM! fan; it really is that simple. But, respect should be given where respect is due, especially after an unprecedented year of deaths from within the creative arts fraternity.

George Michael was a naturally gifted songwriter of my generation and although not within my normal listening range, an artist who stood out from many of his peers, managing to escape the pop star bubble to forge a career outside of the genre and more importantly, gain the respect of the living legends he respected. More than any other death this extraordinary year, his sudden passing has strangely moved me, especially as I write more as observer than fan. Maybe his death is a harsh reminder of the mortality of my generation who dreamed our youthful optimism of the 1980s would live forever. [...] 

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First Gig

Gareth 'Gaz' Hill, rehearsing, 1981

How it all began…

Thursday 29th October 1981, it is early evening and I stand huddled in a small attic bathroom, together with six of my mid-teenage compadres. We are jocularly nervous as we prepare ourselves for the next 70 minutes in front of an already jeering, but friendly, invited audience. There is a drum solo at the end of the first song but unlike today, I have little or no fear about displaying my crude, raw talent. In fact, before the night is over, I will have shamelessly performed no less than three solo indulgences without a hint of reticence, or the restrictive self-awareness that will later come to plague me throughout adulthood. Later on that evening, I return home quietly ecstatic, telling my mum [...] 

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Phil Sung, My Personal Obituary

Red-Rocks-Hoylake-1982

Remembering Phil Sung, My Partner From Schooldays Photography

This is such tragic news, I can’t believe I’m actually writing this; but from personal experience, I know only too well that hearing about your loved one from the viewpoint of non-family members can enhance the memories that will become the lasting link to the life they lived.

I first got to know Phil at Hilbre Secondary school, a larger than life character who stood in the playground at break times, moving from side to side on his feet, hands in trouser pockets with an infectious and almost mischievous smile on his face. Phil was a natural observer with a gentle karma, happy to stand and watch playground life go by, stopping people to talk as they made their way to whatever destination the school day demanded. The first thing anyone noticed about Phil, was his obvious [...] 

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Cultivating New Orleans Music In England – The End Of An Impossible Dream

Forty4, BJ's, 2015

Some things you shouldn’t even try, but what the hell, if the recipe looks good on paper, then why shouldn’t you have a go? Unfortunately, even when the ingredients are right, the cooking is perfect and the dish is served with passion, adventurous cuisine can often fail to arouse the taste buds of regular diners.

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