This has to be a record – two updates in one month! Some time ago Judy Dyble told me I should put a load of possibly interesting old journalistic endeavors on the site. I’m not sure why I didn’t get round to this sooner. Anyway, I don’t have too many distractions at the moment so it’s been fun to have just spent a few hours starting the process – first of all locating the stuff, secondly reformatting it from defunct word-processing software and thirdly finding out when and where a given piece was published.

I wrote professionally for various UK and Irish newspapers and magazines from 1994-2001 and then lingered on with a bit of spare-time writing for a couple of magazines up to around 2006. (I still, as anyone reading the infrequent news updates will be aware, enjoy a bit of spare-time CD sleevenote writing if the project interests me.)

I’m hoping to upload pieces pretty regularly over the next few weeks, so keep checking back if it’s in any way interesting. I’ve been lucky enough to have reviewed and/or interviewed some fascinating artists – folk, blues, jazz, rock and beyond – so there’ll be a fair amount of variety. Anything I upload to the site – which we’ll put under a new ‘Journalism Archive’ button on the home page – will be pretty much as-it-was-published, with just a brief introductory note of context if necessary.

It’s proved relatively easy to locate what appears to be the bulk of my writing from 1997 onwards. The 1994-96 stuff might take a bit more archaeology, but I think a fair amount of it should exist in some electronic form. I have physical copies of, I think, all the newspaper stuff – so if there’s anything really interesting that I can’t locate in electronic form, I’ll maybe type it up again from the hard copy. I’ve long since got rid of any magazines I contributed to.  Space: it’s not the final frontier, it’s what you need in your living environment!

The first tranche of pieces (available now in the new ‘Journalism Archive’ section) are indicative of the variety:

  • A previously unpublished 5,500 word John McLaughlin feature from 1996
  • A breezy 800 word review of Fairport Convention’s 2001 Cropredy Festival from Mojo
  • A 1300 word Mojo ‘Buried Treasure’ feature on Leafhound
  • A selection of 14 concert reviews from the Irish Times 1998-2001 – circa 300 words apiece on Cliff Richard, BB King, Martin Hayes, Divine Comedy, Don McLean, Andy Irvine, Capercaillie, Stereophonics, Hubert Sumlin, Andy Williams, John Martyn, Richard Thompson, the Esbjorn Svenson Trio and a godawful Riverdance cash-in

I’ve enjoyed re-reading this stuff and, with the concert reviews especially, I’ve used Clive James’ maxim (when he was selecting his TV criticism for anthologising in a series of books) and selected stuff that still seems readable to me – maybe it just has a few nice turns of phrase or maybe it says something still valid about the artist in question, some of whom are no longer with us, or maybe it just captures a moment now passed. Thankfully so, if one is talking about Riverdance cash-ins.

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