Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Life Of Riley

Watching Ian Broudie on Sky's Songbook series I started thinking about what could have been, if only...

I wanted to learn the guitar in my middle teens. I got a cheap second hand semi-acoustic and my dad's mate from work (not the one who taught me to play tennis) out of the kindness of his heart gave me some lessons. He was a lovely bloke, small, slight of frame, with long red hair. He was into melodic rock and singer songwriters and played in a band which did covers of the hits of the day

I was at that age when I was very open to suggestion when it came to music. Yes were what my friends at school liked so I did, too. But there was no way I could play like Steve Howe, not in a million years.

So my guitar teacher showed me a few chords, basic strumming. And within a few weeks he got me a big notebook in which he wrote down the lyrics to some songs with the chord changes in the appropriate places. I could pretend I was Bob Dylan or James Taylor or Neil Young. We even did a duet doing Bad Company's Feel Like Making Love which was a bit strange as I wasn't ready for any of those shenanigans.

I enjoyed being taught but it wasn't much of a revelation to me. All I could do was strum and sing which got a bit boring after a while. I started writing my own songs which were rubbish. I knew they were but it was something to do to take my mind off the horrors of study.

Now, watching Ian Broudie and reading Rip It Up And Start Again I realise what could have been. If only I'd had an older brother or sister into cool music. If only I'd had some arty mates who wanted to make future music. If only I'd been brought up in Manchester or Liverpool or Sheffield or gone to art school in bloody Watford! I was in the wrong place at the right time.

Not that Ian Broudie ever wrote good songs. He just strums and writes rubbish, just like I did.

For Ian's tips on how to become a musician (including how to be in the right place at the right time, go here).


  1. Can you play Stairway to Heaven?

  2. So you strummed and wrote rubbish - believe me - Betty should be eternally grateful you didn't keep it up.

  3. Didn't keep it up?

    Interesting choice of words there, Kaz.

  4. MJ - No, but I can do Romeo & Juliet by Dire Straits.

    Kaz - But if I had I could have written a song about her.

    MJ - I haven't got my instrument out for 25 years.

  5. Pishing meself at MJ's typical comment - hers is the only blog I'm too self concious to look at in a public internet cafe. Wish I could check you out, MJ.
    Were you brought up in Kent? If so, would've hanging out with Billy Childish helped with your musical asperations?

  6. Istvanski: And here I thought you didn't like me anymore.

    I'm actually quite a sensitive hothouse flower, you know.

    wv: colera

    See what I mean?

    *vomits and faints*

  7. I think Mr Broudie was a genius popsmith who just suffered from lack of visual appeal.

  8. MJ: There's no reason for me to dislike you. I have net access on my phone which disallows me to view your stuff - I can't get past Blogger's 'adults-only barrier' on it. I miss ogling your red and black stripey legs!

  9. *rallies round and dangles stripey leg suggestively*

  10. Istvanski - I'm talking more post-punk than retro R&B.

    Rog - You would have loved my songs, then.

    MJ/Istvanski - Get a room!

  11. I think you should start again. Maybe a new career awaits?

  12. I don't think the neighbours would appreciate my attempts. Maybe when I retire I'll do it all on the computer, listening on headphones.