My published-and-paid journalistic debut was a live review of New Order at Golddigger’s, Chippenham for Melody Maker in 1984. I’ve since contributed to various publications, including MOJO, Q, Guardian, The Times, Attitude, Radio Times, BBC Music, Esquire, The Vinyl Factory and The Question.
I was music editor for the first (and very different) incarnation of Heat and, at various junctures, news editor (MOJO), independent music editor (Music Week) and UK correspondent (OOR in Holland, College Music Journal in the US and the Auckland Star in New Zealand).
For a year (1992-93), I worked in A&R for Geoff Travis at Rough Trade Records (before the label was forced into hibernation, and I returned to writing)
My first book was Pulp (Pan, MacMillan, 1995), followed by Björkgraphy (Simon & Schuster, 1996).
In 2000, I edited the book series Divas, which profiled four incomparable female performers: Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand (all published by Unanimous).
Between 1999 and 2001, I shifted into editing (print + digital media, at management level) alongside freelance writing until 2013 when Facing the Other Way: The Story Of 4AD was published (by HarperCollins imprint The Friday Project).
In October 2016, ny latest book,Breaking Down The Walls Of Heartache: How Music Came Out, was published by Little, Brown imprint Constable, the history of the LGBT+ pioneers of Popular Music. The US publication (on Backbeat / Hal Leonard) is June 2017.
I’ve uploaded various features on the site to give an example of my work, but there’s 30 years+ to upload, so it’s a scattershot selection.
But for a host of articles I’ve written, go to Rock’s Back Pages.
For a host of online reviews, go to BBC Music
For more current online features, head to The Vinyl Factory.
For more personal information than anyone (including myself) could possibly need, click on this Q&A for literary journal The Writing Disorder.
Favourite albums include Television’s Marquee Moon, David Bowie’s ….Ziggy Stardust…. and Station To Station, Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, Patti Smith’s Horses, Robert Wyatt’s Rock Bottom, Laura Nyro’s New York Tendaberry, Al Green’s Belle, Big Star’s Radio City, Pavlov’s Dog’s Pampered Menial, Throwing Muses’ Throwing Muses, Radiohead’s OK Computer and John Grant’s Queen Of Denmark.
Favourite singles include David Bowie’s “Starman” , The Shangri-La’s “Past, Present And Future” and The Portsmouth Symphonia’s “Classical Mudley”.
Favourite singers include Tim Buckley, Scott Walker, Nina Simone, Laura Nyro, David Bowie, John Grant.
I have yet to read a book more challenging, satisfying and mesmerising than Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow.