Through Christmas carols, this recording tells my story of Christmas 1974 when I lived in Thornton-Cleveleys, Lancashire.
After 36 years, I returned there on December 13th - 14th (2013) to make this record.
The weather was foul as I recorded, the rain fell in buckets and the wind from the sea blew so fierce and cold that I had to retreat to the calm of my car, where I tried to play in the most cramped of conditions. The Eden guitar is no small-fry and neither am I so, as per usual, I used what I had and did the best I possibly could under the circumstances (at one point, I gave up trying to hold a plectrum and simply hammered the fingers of both my hands onto the fretboard).
In September 1974, I was eleven years old and had started to attend a dreadful grammar school in nearby Poulton-Le-Fylde. The school was populated largely by monsters, teachers (‘masters’) of the worst and most brutal kind, and pupils whose behaviour was increasingly praised the more disgusting it became. By Christmas, I was desperate to get away from the place. I remember the bus journey from the school back to my home at the end of the last day of term and I was elated and totally relieved to be free for the next two weeks.
It is this journey that I have tried to capture in the music, 36 years later, retracing the original route. The feelings I had on the journey home that day came back to me so vividly and powerfully that once again I became the terrified little eleven-year-old who was so alone and desperate to return to the safety of his native North-East, back to Gran and Grandad, Cullercoats Methodist Church and my old accent.
I am used to facing my inner demons on a daily basis but making this record was quite a test. I’m not sure if the music is good or bad but I’m pleased that it is now made and in your ears, should you choose to listen to it.
Please note, I intend no irreverence to these sacred pieces of music.