Back in 2008 I composed a musical for Easter, following the events of the last week in the life of Jesus Christ. It was all part of the "Hope 08" churches together activities we saw that year. It was performed twice, in my church and also in a local school, by the members and soloists … Continue reading Hope Rising
A John Williams Score for every year of my life: 1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
John Williams composed three scores in 1989, the year I turned 19. One of them was the searing score for "Born on the Fourth of July", for director Oliver Stone. This was the first score Williams would provide for a Stone film, and he would follow it up with two further scores in the early … Continue reading A John Williams Score for every year of my life: 1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Work… for Pleasure
"Some of us paint for pleasure" I spoke at the monthly meeting of a local art group recently, and I spent some time talking through my experiences of selling artwork and other income streams I use to pay the bills. I'm fortunate in being able to spend so much of my working week creating, whether … Continue reading Work… for Pleasure
The Accidental Tourist
Continuing in my occasional blog entries reviewing one score by the wonderful John Williams for every year of my life, we come to 1988, the year I turned 18, and the score to The Accidental Tourist. By this year, I'd been an ardent fan for about 4 years, having discovered that the same person who … Continue reading The Accidental Tourist
What Comes First – Lyrics or Music?
One thing I am often asked as someone who writes both music and lyrics is, "What do you do first? The music or the words?" And it's not as easy a question to answer as perhaps it should be. Because it hinges on the very process of creating something, and this is a process which … Continue reading What Comes First – Lyrics or Music?
A John Williams Score for every year of my life: 1987 The Witches of Eastwick
I can't leave 1987 with just a look at "Empire of the Sun", which was the focus of my last blog entry in my ongoing look at a John Williams score for every year of my life. "The Witches of Eastwick" was the other remarkable score by Williams that year - it's just too great … Continue reading A John Williams Score for every year of my life: 1987 The Witches of Eastwick
Music Inspired by Lord of the Rings
Music Inspired by Lord of the Rings I released this, my 5th album, last week. It's been a very long time coming. I actually began working on some of the pieces on this album way back in about 1989, (always a Tolkien nut!) Then, when I heard that Peter Jackson was making the Lord of … Continue reading Music Inspired by Lord of the Rings
A John Williams Score for every Year of my Life: 1987 – Empire of the Sun
Oh no! What do I do? In 1987, the year I turned 17, John Williams released two fantastic soundtrack albums, and I truly don't know which one I love more. That year was the year of "The Witches of Eastwick" and "The Empire of the Sun". Both are phenomenal scores. I fell in love with … Continue reading A John Williams Score for every Year of my Life: 1987 – Empire of the Sun
A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 1986 – Spacecamp
The year I turned 16, a film was released which I didn't see at the time, and I'm not sure I have ever watched in its entirety. The year I was sixteen (sweet sixteen and never been kissed, but that's another story) my mother died, and I probably had other things on my mind. In … Continue reading A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 1986 – Spacecamp
A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life – 1985 – The River
OK, I'm cheating a little here. There was no score by John Williams in 1985. It was the first year since 1960 that didn't see a new score by Williams. Many of the years since that time had seen numerous scores. That tells you something about his work ethic, and how sought after he was. … Continue reading A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life – 1985 – The River
A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life – 1984 – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Steven Spielberg and George Lucas took a different direction with Indiana Jones in the sequel to 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark". For one, the film is actually a prequel, with the action taking place in 1935, mainly set in India (after a short prelude in China). This was apparently to avoid using the Nazis … Continue reading A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life – 1984 – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
A John Williams Score for Every Year of my life – 1983 Return of the Jedi
Just before Christmas I had the wonderful experience of watching The Return of the Jedi screened with a live orchestra playing the score. I'd seen the first two films in the saga in the same way a few years ago - and this one was held back a year by the pandemic. It's a curious … Continue reading A John Williams Score for Every Year of my life – 1983 Return of the Jedi
A John Williams score for every year of my life – 1982 – E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
E.T: I remember clearly going to see it for the first time, at the age of twelve. I remember seeing the posters, some of which had a boy and a... thing lying on hospital beds surrounded by plastic sheets, and I wondered what on earth I was going to see. And then the lights went … Continue reading A John Williams score for every year of my life – 1982 – E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 1981 – The Raiders of the Lost Ark
With this, the first in the series of Indiana Jones films, John Williams created yet another outstanding opus - that surrounding the wisecracking, whip-swinging, fedora-wearing hero and sometimes archaeologist, Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford may have played the titular hero (and it's a wonder that despite his resemblances and affinities to a certain smuggler in a … Continue reading A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 1981 – The Raiders of the Lost Ark
When is it Finished?
I suffer from George Lucas Syndrome. Now before you all grab your medical encyclopaedias to look that up, actually, it does exist, but not in the way I mean it. Apparently the urban meaning is "A situation in which sci-fi movies often sacrifice good-quality acting and a coherent story in order to milk in the special effects." But that's not the … Continue reading When is it Finished?
I'm sure all creatives, people who try to make a living from their creations, suffer this at some point. And it's not, by the way, confined to writers. I've been fighting with a new song all day, and it still isn't playing ball. My ideas sound hackneyed, flat. And that's just to me. I wouldn't … Continue reading Writer’s Block
A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 1980 – The Empire Strikes Back
It's a while since I wrote one of these posts on the work of my favourite composer, John Williams. I've had Covid, but that's not why. The truth is, since I left teaching to become wholly freelance with my own music and art, I haven't had a great deal of time to write. And that's … Continue reading A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 1980 – The Empire Strikes Back
My life as a Freelancer
I took a risk at Easter. I left teaching, in order to give my time to painting and to music composition. So far, it's been the best decision I could have made, because I've had more work than I know what to do with. In fact, I've been so busy doing paid work for other … Continue reading My life as a Freelancer
A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 10: 1979 – Dracula
Dracula, scored in 1979, is perhaps one of john Williams' lesser known works. It is however a mighty work, built mainly around the lush and dangerous theme Williams provided for the central character. This theme features firstly in the Main Title and Storm Sequence : https://youtu.be/SEAbPQN9mFI John Williams has said that he tries not to … Continue reading A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 10: 1979 – Dracula
The Dark Crystal – a Triumph of Design
This is not a film review. This is purely my response as an artist to the artistry at work in the design of the film, which in my view is absolutely second-to-none. Much of the film's design is down to the excellent and unique work of Brian Froud. His imaginative and organic designs are an … Continue reading The Dark Crystal – a Triumph of Design
A John Williams Work for Every Year of my Life 5 – 1974 Earthquake
For this post I want to zoom in on one part of the score to Earthquake which struck me as soon as I heard it some years ago - the main theme. It encapsulates so much of the time, with upbeat funky additions to the mix, and that wonderful soaring John Williams horn melody. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRQ19CKA21U&list=PLpN8xN3JSwkSyeJsW_gFkqqqNmlWFLorI … Continue reading A John Williams Work for Every Year of my Life 5 – 1974 Earthquake
Leaving my Mark
I always thought I'd be rich and famous by the time I was 30. I thought I'd be "discovered". And here I am, entering my second half century, and still not there. Yes, I make some money out of my paintings, out of my music. But not enough to pay the mortgage. Not enough to … Continue reading Leaving my Mark
Where does it come from?
I've been asked quite often how I go about writing a new piece of music. People it seems are often fascinated with the process a composer, especially a songwriter, go through to create something. And the answer is... I don't know. If I'm writing a song, do the lyrics come first or the music? Sometimes … Continue reading Where does it come from?