Friday 22 June 2018

Being a multi-genre author, by guest-blogger Lucinda E. Clarke

As promised in my last post, here guest-blogger Lucinda E. Clarke talks about some of the challenges of being a multi-genre author, and will be of interest to both readers and fellow writers.

Once upon a time, in the age of the dinosaurs when people actually paid me to write, I was commissioned by the South African Broadcasting Service (SABC), firstly for radio and later television programmes. The subjects were as diverse as splitting the atom, how to be an entrepreneur, how to fashion a toothbrush from twigs and how to feed a family of 10 on a piece of ground the size of a door.

I became a fountain of knowledge and a master of nothing. Almost any subject that comes up in everyday conversation I can think, "I once wrote a programme about that."

These were my first thoughts when Graham very kindly asked me to scribble a few words about working on more than one genre and I guess he is referring to books. But let me add that to write for radio you have to think in sounds, actors use character names frequently so you know who is talking and you can fly to Mars and plunge down the Marianas Trench for nothing using equipment found in most kitchens.

Moving to television was a huge learning curve. Now, I had a budget to consider (even stock shots can cost a small fortune), a director to please and a cameraman to instruct.

When I started writing my own books as my own boss, I revelled in the freedom. No longer did I have to time out scripts, locations and car crashes were once again free; I was in charge. What I hadn’t expected was to start again right at the bottom of the ladder.

My first effort was my "sensitive" memoir, in that it was true and revolved around my family. For this I used a pen name and waited until members of the older generation had passed on. It was easy to write physically, if not as easy mentally, as my life has been somewhat bizarre and traumatic.

 My next effort was a full-length novel – could I do it? A big step into the unknown. I based it very loosely on my own experiences of arriving to live in Africa, only I took it a step further and put my heroine through hell – what fun!

 The wrinkles in the mirror told me time was running out, so with memory fading, I rushed to record my days of media work in two volumes – it got too long for the one I planned – and suddenly I had 4 books out there.

I could have published the last 3 in my real name but it seemed too much effort to open another Facebook page, Twitter account and all the rest, so Lucinda it remained. Some very kind and possibly deluded readers liked Amie so much they urged me to write more and I’m scribbling book 5, but in the meantime, while spring cleaning under the bed, I found an old manuscript – Unhappily Ever After, a comedy set in Fairyland. I scraped the dust off and revamped it.

The weird thing is most of my media writing was comedy – many programmes were educational and I firmly believe you can impart information more easily if you make it fun. So, I enjoyed completing my comedy book – it’s very much along the lines of Tom Sharpe and I’d be tempted to write more but for one large problem: comedy has changed and to be honest I don’t understand what makes younger people laugh these days. There’s little humour in clever word play, embarrassing situations and innuendo.  I’m tempted to follow Cinderella as a newly divorcee, but I’m not sure the sales would warrant it.

Promotion across boundaries? A nightmare. I couldn’t see myself writing memoir after memoir about my hectic life; the first three said most of what there was to say and that was an end to it. OK, so I have a free reader magnet book about my riding school in Botswana, but it’s only a short book.

Overall, I’m out of sync with that’s "in". I’ve written memoirs, an old-style comedy and an adventure series – not detective books, crime novels, erotic or supernatural – but then I couldn’t stop writing if I tried, I’m hooked – a lost cause. I will write for me.

Thank you for these insightful comments, Lucinda. I shall be continuing this theme in the next post.

Monday 18 June 2018

My 3rd interview for eBook Showtime

I don't have favourites where my interviewees are concerned; it wouldn't be ethical and would show me in something of a poor light. However, this isn't to say that I don't have particular aspects of my guest authors that I greatly admire, and perhaps a good example is from my meeting with international best-selling author Lucinda E. Clarke, as is suggested in the opening of my introduction:

"To say that today's guest author is a bit of an all-rounder may be something of an understatement..."

Lucinda's done journalism, screenwriting, novels and memoirs, with eclectic mixes of humour, tragedy and pathos. I mean, how brilliant is that? She sounded just my sort of writer, which is why I jumped at the chance of meeting her.

But, as I'd already learned where online interviews are concerned, technology is all very well just so long as it's firing on all four cylinders, which is often not the case. I was in the north of England and Lucinda, on Spain's east coast, was only (only?) around 1,500 miles away, so not exactly Earth to Venus, was it? But I lost count of the times the audio got zapped or went off on a journey of its own, leaving us with little picture jerks and long freezes (less painful than it sounds). And every time that happened we had to stop and reconnect, do the pre-recording setups once again, and continue where we left off. I had almost 20GB of useless video footage.

Would you believe that it took three months to get finished? Now, you can't tell from the final cut that we are a quarter of a year older from beginning to end, can you? I'm joking! Actually, what we did was re-record it all again from scratch and this final session was done in just one take. Its success makes the headaches and frustrations pale into insignificance.

At the end of the day, it all made for getting to know each other whilst rattling on about the book business and putting the world to rights. I particularly enjoyed when Lucinda took me on a tour of her home and from out on the balcony could be seen palm trees, orange groves and, sizzling in the distance, the Mediterranean Sea. The heat was bringing me out in a sweat, even though here it was barely 20 degrees Celsius.   

In future posts I shall deal with my take on writing in more than one genre, and the next post will feature Lucinda, as guest blogger, telling how she came to be such a versatile writer. I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday 14 November 2017

eBook Showtime: my second victim

The second author to feature in my online interviews was Ann Patras, a funny lady who, in the early-80s, moved from a technologically-advanced Britain to Zambia with her husband and three young children. And thirteen crates. Of course there are challenges, both culturally and materially, such as the shortages like… no, I'll let Ann explain it to you in her books.

She has moved around over the years and now lives in Spain, and I suspect eventually she may write about all the places she has called home.

Now, to get some idea of what might come to light during our online meeting, I asked Ann to supply me with some amusing and memorable facts about herself – something I might use in my introduction. "Well, I was given a sex change between wards at a Malaga hospital in 2012," was one of the things she mentioned.

A-ha! I thought, this could be interesting. I was rather taken with the idea of her living in sunny Spain, which instantly got me playing Y Viva Espana round and round in my head (memories of the mid-70s and that rather attractive Sylvia Vrethammar who sang it). So, if I wore my Madrid cap (to set the scene) and did the intro out in the snow, surely there would be some comedic value based on the climatic contrast…?

Er, no.

For one thing, right where Ann was in Spain the temperature was miserably low (though not exactly freezing like it was here in Costa del Pennine),  and I couldn't help myself saying that today's guest author had undergone a "sex change operation", which wasn't exactly the case. And although I knew this, I just couldn't say it any differently. Well, I did say it was cold out. It was only after nine takes (that's when I lost count) that we decided to go inside for a hot drink and a shot of rum…

…but could only find some port. Anyhow, a rethink of the intro was in order, and we hadn't yet done the interview but hey, what else could possibly go wrong?

We did a practice Skype call, in which we seemed to be constantly interrupted by the audio disappearing, then the video, then freezing (no, not the weather this time), but whilst we were chatting away (as if we'd known each other for years, which was uncanny), both of Ann's dogs were outside, and one of them, JD, let herself in the house.

That's when Ann told me that she can open the door (and also the outside gate) from either side, but refuses to close them after herself. But that's okay, you see, because the other one, Marti, will then close the door. And if she doesn't quite manage it, Ann only has to say, "Now do it properly," and the dog will apply a little more weight until the latch can be heard to catch. You can see my reflection from the screen on the glass door.

This seemed like too good a treat to not use on the night of the interview, only I feared that any attempt to engineer this would appear contrived … but then on the big night it did indeed happen and without any attempt to shoehorn it in.

Here's a recent video of JD and Marti following prompts from Ann's daughter Vicki:

During their time in Zambia, Ann took many photos, but admits the film quality was lacking and the prints haven't fared well over the past 30-odd years. However, she did send me some scans to use in the interview, and I managed to squeeze some extra resolution and colour from them. A small selection was included in a short 35-second animated sequence. This little video, would you believe, made using Adobe After Effects software, took many hours to render. Apparently, long processing times are par for the course. I used it again later to show some of Ann's excellent book illustrations presented in a revolving drum.

The interview lasts around 18 minutes, so shorter than other online author videos and, we hope, more comfortable and convenient to watch. And together with the graphics and image presentations, the eBook Showtime programme lets readers see Ann as she really is: friendly, funny, and doesn't suffer fools gladly. We had one hell of a good chat and I think we both enjoyed discussing her books and generally talking shop.

Here's the interview:

and here is Ann's website:

Wednesday 18 October 2017

eBook Showtime: my first victim

My first subject for the eBook Showtime interviews wasn't that hard to find. During an online feature for the famous Facebook group We Love Memoirs, where it was me in the hot seat talking about my book How Much for a Little Screw? , I had mentioned that in my early days writing professionally I interviewed well-known celebrities in the television and music industries.

One of the people watching was interested in some of my early exploits of rubbing shoulders with such people, so I promised to send him scans of the magazine articles in which I wrote about the behind-the-scenes stories of interviewing All Creatures Great and Famous. This in turn led me to writing a small book about some of those I did in the 1970s (not all of them, but that's another story), and the person I have to thank for inspiring me to write this book is fellow author Frank Kusy.

I'd already read what I would describe as Frank's signature book, Kevin and I in India, which is an entertaining diary read of the time he descended on the sub-continent as a lone traveller and teamed-up with a complete stranger, who just happened to be called Kevin. Hence the title. This was back in 1986 and since then he's become a recognised travel writer as well as penning memoirs and children's books.

I'd have no hesitation in saying that we "clicked" as soon as Skype (eventually) got around to connecting us. It has to be said that Facetime is a better-quality and more reliable experience, but is a bit of a closed shop because it can be used only on Apple devices, so it was down to Skype for the frequent interruptions, the varying delay in delivering the video signal, and general off-quality – which all added to the element of live, immediate and unrehearsed content, so not all bad. And better than nothing.

I'd used three physical cameras to record our meeting, and this created lots of extra work and headaches. It was indeed a learning experience and later interviews were much simpler, the rule being that if it's not on the screen then don't bother to record it.

We had fun getting our cats to say hello to each other. I don't think I was recording at the time, so Sparky and Gerald's historical meeting has disappeared in the vastness of cyberspace. Maybe we can get it again because such was the wealth of material concerning Frank, and especially his countless anecdotes – such as the time he was given the death penalty in Malaysia – that we could easily make another 15-minute spot.

Anyhow, I believe that Frank, despite initially not being happy seeing himself on screen for the first time, was pleased with the end result and agreed to it going live on YouTube. And now readers can see a glimpse of the man who writes the words, has returned to India on many occasions, is steadily releasing his entertaining and humorous memoirs, and is the creator of a gangster cat named Ginger – oh, and he still has a pal named Kevin. And, I like to think, a new one named Graham.

Friday 8 September 2017

Still interviewing after 44 years (I started very young)

It doesn't sound so bad if you mumble, but even so the thought of it sends a bit of a chill down my spine – the Hammer Films sort, that is, and not a member of the pleasure-tingle variety.

These are authors of eBooks I'm now interviewing. Okay, so they also produce print copies, but the interviews are primarily aimed at those serving the digital market. The idea came about with the loss of The Book Show on the Sky Arts channel. Presented by Mariella Frostrup, it ran from 2008-2013 and featured interviews with the creative movers and shakers of the printed book world until it was simply dropped by Sky to be replaced with … nothing.

The early set was distinctive, looking like a pastel-coloured front room, with book-shaped coffee tables and a backdrop of giant book spines. Seated comfortably on a settee, the authors would chat with Mariella one could be forgiven for thinking she even flirted with some of them – and of course we were party to these conversations with such names as Rosamund Lupton, Sir Roger Moore, Terry Jones, Kate Mosse, William Boyd, to name just a few. These meetings were punctuated with short pieces filmed in the homes of, say, Nicci Gerard and Sean French, Alison Weir, Joseph O'Connor. Other pieces looked around bookshops with authors such as Ian Sinclair.  

Also, each year a studio marquee was set up at the world-famous Hay Festival and extra Book Show programmes were made where guest interviewers such as Sarah Crompton tackled authors before a live audience (I never noticed her working from a script, so awarded her 10/10 for that and her excellent way with people). Other book events, such as the Dublin Writers' Festival, were also included.

It was amazing to be invited, along with thousands of other viewers, into the homes and private spaces of these authors as they told us how they created, their likes and dislikes, their treasured preferences. And I was fascinated to see where they worked, the scenery amongst which their stories developed and gelled – hey, I even found myself looking at the details of how their bookcases were constructed and what their floors were like. Yes, a bit of the woodworker in me was spilling out, which isn't a bad thing because it shows how I was accepting these people into my life; they were, after all, speaking to me at the other end of the camera.

The show was, quite simply, superb, bringing  the authors to the readers in a way that hadn't been done before. And when, in June 2013, the broadcaster axed it, my wife and I were devastated. Strangely, about the same time, BBC2 dumped its weekly Review Show into a monthly slot on a back burner on BBC4, and The TV Book Club on Channel 4 – yet another proactive look into books and authors – had disappeared in 2012.

Now, there was no way that I could take over and finance the making of a dedicated TV book programme, but working from a computer, and with software and equipment on hand from Pin Productions, I thought it would be worth conducting online interviews with eBook authors, to bring them some exposure, to introduce them to their readers, to bring their names alive and put voices to them.

eBook Showtime was born and I grabbed the domain name right away (I've since been offered large amounts for it). Unfortunately, personal circumstances prevented me from getting it going until a couple of years later, but it's here now and in my next post I'll be talking about what it was like doing my first ever Skype interview.

*All images are screen grabs from the Sky Arts television programme and are used here for educational purposes.

Thursday 6 July 2017

Promotion in the Modern World

Snape Maltings Concert Hall
(Hikitsurisan, public domain image)

In May 2017, ten minutes or so before a choral concert at the world-famous Snape Maltings Concert Hall in Suffolk, I witnessed a man in the audience being torn off a strip by a member of the theatre staff.

The concert was far from beginning, and not even was there anyone on stage. He had been talking to his friends about the attractive wooden ceiling, shaped to fit the original use of the building in bygone times as a malt factory, and he took a photo of it. It was only an iPhone he used, so the quality wouldn't be up to much. Then a suited member of staff came halfway along the row of seats, disturbing other audience members, and chastised him. "We don't allow photos."

The unfortunate man explained, in a pleasant and friendly manner, I thought, that he wouldn't be taking photos during the concert and that he only wanted to appreciate the concert hall's ceiling. "The ceiling is copyright," he was told. "And I will ask you to delete the photo." It wasn't a request.

There were a few uneasy seconds as they stared at each other. The man's wife, tight-lipped, said, "Right," and, after the "security operative" walked away, she whispered to him not to delete it.

I sincerely hope that this clumsy and ill-judged approach didn't spoil the man's enjoyment of the recital, nor that of his friends.

It would certainly have spoilt mine.

Later that evening, photos and videos taken by other audience members began to appear on Facebook, and of the concert itself. Good on them! The man I saw was just the unlucky one. Here you have family members and friends who want memories to cherish, and this is understandable.

Exercising subtlety

Okay, so it can be annoying when you're at a gig and there's someone holding up a camera or phone, with its bright LED screen causing distraction. But these days most people – notice that I said most, not all – are aware of this, and they exercise subtlety.

But what if that man and his family and friends at Snape have decided to never again bless that concert hall with their presence? I wouldn't blame them. Why? Because it was so unnecessary. The ceiling is copyright? What a load of nonsense – it's in a place where the public have been invited, and that's a paying public, by the way, and the seating prices aren't exactly cheap; there aren't even concessions for senior citizens, nor are they exactly comfortable and many of the regulars had taken cushions with them. Whoops, I'm off the point here…

Slow suicide

I've already mentioned that photos and clips appear on social media, which leads me on to an unfortunate aspect of this senseless and archaic attitude that is bordering on the financially inept: reducing visibility on social media amounts to a slow suicide.

Younger audiences are the ones to think about; they are the future, and they have been bred with technology coming out of their ear holes. They take photos and share them. And sharing these images and videos is free marketing for both the performers and the venue – it is promotion that industry professionals couldn't even afford to finance by usual means.

As an example, I can name one international singer/songwriter who isn't paranoid and allows the taking of photos and videos at his concerts so they can be posted on Facebook and also his own website – and he thanks them for doing this! He doesn't wail about it being copyrighted material because, quite simply, these fans aren't making bootleg copies of his recordings; they are simply sharing their enjoyment of his live concerts and encouraging others to attend.

See what I mean? This kind of exposure is priceless, but if theatre staff start jumping on audience members and tearing strips off them (as I've witnessed), in the end the losers will be the artistes and the venues.


Of course, the final choice as to whether photos are allowed is down to the artiste concerned. Ken Dodd, so I'm told, doesn't allow any of it, but then, in his very late-80s, he may not be aware – nor care too much about – the long-term benefits.

However, the oldest choral society in the world, Halifax Choral Society, does allow photos, and they indicate this when booking with the theatre concerned. But on numerous occasions, like at Snape, I have been embarrassed when seeing audience members being tackled, in some cases rather heavily-handedly, by torch-wielding usherettes at the Halifax Victoria Theatre.

Apparently, the staff assumed that photos were disallowed for everyone, by default. Not checking the booking details demonstrates a lazy attitude. Needless to say, it is unlikely I shall ever attend the Victoria Theatre again because I find the whiff of fascism quite sickening.

So the Halifax Victoria is another venue guilty of not recognising the growing trend for photos and their value in perpetuating a business. The council-run theatre has been in financial difficulty for some years; I'll say no more.

The solution is quite simple: theatre managements should actually read what the performers have specified regarding photos, and maybe announce that, should they be allowed, to please not use flash, no camera clicking sounds, and not inconvenience other audience members. Simple. Reasonable.

Then everyone can enjoy the show. The performers will have lasting images of their performances, the photographers will have lasting mementoes, and an understanding and modern-thinking venue will have repeat custom.

Tuesday 28 February 2017

A Double Anniversary

First of all, as I write it is 40 years to the day since I did the last of my 1970s' celebrity interviews (though there were further meetings with creatures, all great and famous, further down the line), so I thought this a good time to write a post to mark the anniversary.

The idea for choosing this particular one was as a result of visiting my editor in his London office on the very day I interviewed Esther Rantzen. He'd shown me some past editions of the magazine, in which was a single-shot news item about this particular person, and I just thought that doing him would be a good idea. After all, he was an iconic radio and TV presenter, extremely popular and appealed to the masses.

When trying to make contact with people in entertainment, back in those days it was even harder than it is today. There was no internet, no Googling, and in trying to find someone's phone number even an agent's there was, of course, the free Directory Enquiries, yet first of all you needed a name to ask for. Information was not available with a click or two of a mouse. Anyhow, I just happened to know somewhere that could help me make contact with the celebrity involved.

It transpired that my contact knew of a charity jog that the celebrity was doing with a friend, and so I was put in touch with him. Being a successful businessman, he was extremely well-organised and had the ability to focus on the task that was immediately to hand, so everything went smoothly. It was agreed that I could do the interview in a certain organisation's board room, where a press conference would be held at the end of the sponsored run.

The press was indeed there, so was the television news: this was a big name, with lots of public onlookers and adoring fans.

Sod's law says that if you're having a bad day, there will be watchers aplenty. It wasn't my best interview, though looking back having listened to the recording I don't think it was all that bad. It didn't help that, with my youthful over-confidence, I thought I could conduct a celebrity interview with no list of questions, though I'd done about as much research as it was then possible to do, bearing in mind my geographical location and the lack of digital technology. Even if my delivery in front of a few dozen seasoned journalists looked anything like passable, I felt somewhat frustrated and embarrassed by my own performance.

One of the onlookers was a freelance journalist on a mission for a famous women's magazine of the time, who wrote joyously about how the celebrity dealt with "the youth". Of course, I was unaware of her observations until weeks later, when the magazine was published. Had I known on the day that I was being written about in not-so-complimentary terms, I might have emigrated.

Anyhow, driving home from Leeds I was satisfied that at least I had some reasonable material with which to work just so long as the recording was okay; I don't remember taking a standby recorder with me on this occasion  but hey, as with most of my 1970s' interview trips, I made certain there was someone with whom I could share a park bench should the car break down or the weather turn foul. Although an open air bench in severe weather conditions might not be a good idea, at least it would allow more leg room than trying to sleep in a tiny MG Midget that didn't have reclining seats. It did have a hole in the floor, though, that sprayed the passenger with road puddles, Hmm, happy times.

I drove my bench-mate home, late at night and, parked outside her parents' door, with the wet soaking up her trouser legs, I proposed to her. Yes, forty years ago, 28 February 1977, I asked if she'd marry me.

I wonder if she'll ever get around to replying.

It's okay, I'm just joking. 

Never let it be said that I'm not a romantic!

Friday 4 March 2016

Gilbert O'Sullivan and Me

Please excuse the intro, but it's relevant, as you'll see. It was late summer 1971 and we were parked overlooking the new, partially-filled Scammonden Dam. In those days the British had a fascination with going out on a Sunday just to stare at water and eat an ice cream, only that particular spot didn't do ice creams, I'm sorry to say.
I was with my parents and my eighty-three-year-old grandmother. She was sitting in the front, unable to stand properly and stoically accepting the pain and discomfort of being taken for what would be her last ever outing. 

We had the radio on and I remember the BBC pop chart programme playing the song in the number 16 slot: it was We Will by Gilbert O'Sullivan, and I was struck by the haunting melody and lyrics. I'd not heard anything like that before; it was so different to any of the other music that was in the charts and it fascinated me. Little did I know that within three years I would interview the singer/songwriter, and forty-five years later we would meet again.

Those lyrics still get to me because of the pictures they put in my mind: spending time with your family after you've moved out, being treated as someone special and missed when you've gone back home. Oh, and maybe not really spending enough time with them, but they love you all the same. This is what that song is all about—to me, that is, because, as Gilbert once said, once you buy a song it's yours and your own interpretation is all that matters. It will mean different things to different people, but for me there's just so much in that particular track; it's a time bubble, describing a way of life that was bygone even when the song was written. 

I was 13 and the feelings that song evokes in me have never left. It was March 1973 when I bought his first LP, Himself, for £2.49. I liked it so much that the following week I splashed out and bought the second, Back to Front. His single from the previous October, Clair, had been a giant hit worldwide and was responsible for innumerable instances of newborn girls being called the same name. It's rather special to be so influential, don't you think? 

One of my favourite tracks from the first album is Matrimony, where Gilbert suggests running away with his girlfriend to get married, and a few years later my girlfriend and I considered doing just that. And, just like the words in the song, we were mindful of the money we'd save by not having a church wedding, and our mums and dads were not pleased. Did I say influence? Well, it wasn't so much that we were in any way swayed by the song so much as in tune with the writer. It occurs to me that his music has been there, accompanying much of my life, and while I've had other tastes over the past 40 years, such as Queen, and Travis, Gilbert's music has remained a solid base to which I've always returned.
Whenever I hear Get Down, I remember him performing this live at Batley Variety Club in 1974. My father drove me there to interview Gilbert and for over an hour we stood in the smoky night club atmosphere, watching the spectacular performance. Later that night I met the man himself (no pun intended): 27 years old, outselling Rod Stewart and Elton John. I was 16, both of us were shy, yet the interview was such a memorable experience. 

Fast-forward to 28 February 2016 and the shyness has gone from both of us, but there's still a reserved aspect to his character that I recognise from all those years ago. His appearance at Huddersfield Town Hall was the 8th of his 9-date tour to promote his latest album, Latin ala G!, and the place was packed. Okay, so the seating in the stalls was dreadful, but with music like this it didn't matter: a mix of familiar and new songs, accompanied by a five-piece band and two backing singers, all providing a superb musical experience.

Gilbert played the keyboard, in stark contrast to the grand piano at Batley, but the voice was the same, and he moved around and sang like someone forty years younger.

After the show, his sister Marie and her husband Richard were running the merchandise stall with T-shirts and CDs—including those of the early LPs. Yes, most of his back catalogue is still available. In fact, when looking at his discography online there are 24 albums listed. Here is his official website

The queue to meet him stretched back up the stairs, round the corner and up another flight. These people would ask him questions, chat about the show, get a tour book or CD signed, and have their photograph taken with him. 

My wife and I took our places, fairly well near the end, though there must have been another 20 or so people behind us. We steadily edged along and, once back in the foyer, we could see that the queue went into another room and down some more steps. From there Gilbert could be seen meeting his admiring public, each of them passing their cameras or mobile phones to a blonde lady—and no, she wasn't confiscating them: she was actually taking the photos. 

When it was our turn, I passed her our SLR digital. It was larger than the other devices she'd been using that evening, but she began expertly clicking away as I asked Gilbert about a BBC documentary that I saw back in 1972. It showed him keeping his record album covers (I remember that the Beatles figured strongly) laid out on the floor of the living room at his house in Weybridge. That way he could see them all and choose what to listen to next. Makes sense; just not so good for vaccing the carpet.
"Yeah, my room still has albums all over the floor," he said, laughing. My wife joked with him that he still had LPs? Yes, so do we.

Then I told Gilbert about my book that describes some of my exploits interviewing celebrities in the 1970s, of which he was one, and I asked who I could leave the details with.
"Just leave it with my daughter," he said, pointing to the photographer.
"Oh, are you the one who went to Leeds University?"
"No, that's the other one," she laughed. "I was Edinburgh."
I gave her my card, said goodbye to them both and stepped out into the frigid cold night air of a Yorkshire market town. It was 11.35 and it didn't look as if her father would be finished for at least another quarter of an hour or so. But I got the impression that he didn't mind. Quite simply, he believes in looking after his fans and appreciates their loyalty. Each one gets something from his music, whether it's memories, or a liking for the whimsical, sometimes heart-breaking, lyrics that gets them thinking. Gilbert O'Sullivan is a constant, someone you can rely on, still producing great melodies with amazing harmonies, and not forgetting the music that accompanies people's lives.

My eBook, All Creatures Great and Famous, which tells the story of my first meeting with Gilbert O'Sullivan, is available from Amazon for just 99p (they refuse to make it free), but is free elsewhere.