DL – ON THE OCCASION OF MY 57TH BIRTHDAY – 57 VARIETIES…
57 VARIETIES - ON THE OCCASION OF MY BIRTHDAY…
Today I reach the ripe old age of 57.
You could say I’m marking 57 Varieties of life -as the famous tin can might present it….
To backtrack….I was 7 years old when I first saw a live concert (The Dave Clark Five show), 9 when I first saw Tottenham Hotspur play, 13 when I first heard Led Zeppelin, 15 when I first started work, 18 when I saw Led Zeppelin perform five times at Earls Court, 21 when I jumped on stage with The Who, 22 when I wrote the first Tight But Loose magazine, 25 when I started going out with Janet, 27 when we married, 34 when Sam was born, 38 when Adam was born, 51 when Led Zeppelin reunited at the 02, 52 when I created TBL Publishing and went self employed, and 56 when I attended the Celebration Day film premiere in London.
A 12 month period that began with the Celebration Day euphoria and ended with two class Robert Plant live experiences has to go down as a pretty good one.
In between there have been the usual highs and lows and health issues to deal with etc that advancing years bring …
But at 57, the usual passions remain undimmed.
So once again, forgive me the indulgence but here are some DL birthday at 57 reflections:
Right at the centre of my world is of course Led Zeppelin and all its many offshoots. It remains an absolute privilege to be able to relay the world of Zep through the various TBL mediums be it this web site, the magazine or the books.
And then there’s music – always lots of it…
As I have said, before my tastes were formulated in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s and have remained pretty constant ever since.
For me it’s about albums, songs, vocalists, emotion, composition, dynamics, light and shade…and the usual suspects prevail and that means I listen to the likes of:
Led Zeppelin and related artists/The Who/The Beatles/The Rolling Stones/Rod/Faces/Bob Dylan/Nick Drake/C, S, & N, Stephen Stills,David Crosby, Graham Nash, Jethro Tull/Free/Bad Co/Yes/Fairport Convention/Sandy Denny/Joni Mitchell/ Dusty Springfield/ David Bowie/T Rex/Pete Townshend/Humble Pie/Peter Frampton/The Yardbirds/Allman Brothers/Pink Floyd/Cat Stevens/George Harrison/McCartney/Wings/Traffic/Yes/Blind Faith/Derek & The Dominoes/Donovan/Family/Ronnie Wood/Mott The Hoople/ELP/Elvis Presley/Frank Sinatra/Miles Davis/Burt Bacharach/Paul Weller/The Jam and many more.
You could say it’s a whole lotta retro but that’s the way I like it. There’s always a fair few CDs and LP’s in the ”To listen to’’ pile and more to unravel and enjoy.
Then there are LPs…
Vinyl – in recent years that has become a real passion –searching out old vinyl albums from a variety of sources, such as the nearby Hitchin market, JB’s in London, Wax Factor in Brighton and the various major record fairs is always a joy. Re connecting with vinyl is one of life’s utter delights.
A man with vinyl is a happy man…!
It’s also worth noting that working in the music retail sector for 35 years did open my ears to a lot of other music I would not have come into contact with. My appreciation of Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis was nurtured during that era. Selling over the counter all the fads of the 70s ,80s and 90s – everything from the Bay City Rollers through the Police, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Culture Club, Pet Shop Boys ,and on to the 90s Britpop Blur, Oasis etc, put me in direct line with all that and I have a quaint affection for a fair bit of that stuff –not that I own much of it but if I hear something on the radio from that time it can prompt a warm memory for sure .
I also grew up in the glory era of soul and Motown and anything from that period resonates ie Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Supremes, Jackson Five etc.
Way back in the late 70s I did enjoy the punk onslaught of which the good stuff ie Sex Pistols/Clash still sounds strong. Through my good friend Dec I was also exposed to a lot of the new wave/electronic early 80s movement such as Joy Division/New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes etc.
My collection is also littered with quirky oddities – I have a fair few speech based albums (Kennedy, Churchill, Hancock, That Was The Week That Was ) and TV and film collections and soundtracks. I also love those sampler albums from the late 70s such as Island Records You Can All Join In, Nice Enough to Eat,Bumpers etc.
The latest LP acquisitions ( from Bristol’s excellent Wanted Records)have included the Marvin,Welch & Farrah album, Nilsson Schmilsson and Dave Mason Scrapbook. You gotta have your little treats!
So music remains all encompassing. Playing it, writing about it, reading about it- That folks is my DNA.
Add to that the love of football –and following the erratic fortunes of Tottenham Hotspur and England a good old bike ride (my favoured mode of transport) and socialising in the pub with friends.
Pubs oh yes…I have a great affinity for the great British pub – and it’s not just that they serve alcohol – I love the differing atmosphere, the lay out –the sheer tradition of the British pub. Too many are closing of course which is a terrible shame. Those that remain should be coveted.
Here’s some other random DL little pleasures: Laying the various TBL projects at the esteemed Studio Mix in Bedford with Mick Lowe, early morning phone calls with Gary to chew the TBL cud, the early morning bike rides around Bedford embankment, a beer or two in The Park pub with my good friend Max, socialising in the Devonshire Arms with the good lady Janet and our friends Terry and Marian and Tom and Jacky, CD packages from John Parkin (thank you John!), hooking up with the good man Dec when he is in town and that other Earls Court vet Phil H.
You gotta value life’s little pleasures….as you get older and none of us are getting any younger -the days are to cherish and with health issues to contend with and the usual daily grind, it ain’t always easy but like the singer said this week – keep moving.
Then there’s the world of social media Facebook, Twitter etc . In spreading the TBL message this has become all important. Updating Facebook has become an essential daily ritual for me and countless others. It’s a key connection to keeping in touch with old friends and spreading the news both personal and professional.
Profssionally that means creating,marketing and selling TBL Product.
This is fundamental to our existence here as being self-employed, that’s the way I try and make a living.
It remains a challenge to spread the TBL world and encourage people to part with hard earned cash to read about the world of Led Zeppelin in all its forms. What I do endeavor to attain (with a lot of help from my friends) –notably and very importantly Gary Foy, Mike Tremaglio, Mick Lowe and contributors such as Nick Anderson, Simon Cadman, Stephen Humphries, Ian Avey, Jeff Strawman, Larry Bergmann, Rikky Rooksby, Alec Plowman etc) is a standard of content and presentation that justifies the investment.
It’s a fact of this internet age that there is a glutton of free Zep info on countless sites…however I’d like to think that those that do invest into the physical TBL product, are getting unique content that I work relentlessly hard to nurture as something special. There’s that old fashioned thrill of actually waiting for something…and knowing when that package lands on your doorstep – the waiting will be worthwhile.
I would also like to think the TBL magazine has attained a high standard these past few issues and maintaining that standard is a major objective ahead. Within all the Celebration Day activity there have been some key issues published in the past 12 months -with the Zep re issues due, further Plant activity etc there will be more ahead.
The schedule in the coming months includes the publication of the new TBL issue 36 and the long awaited updated Led Zeppelin Then As It Was at Knebworth 1979 which I am working on now. Longer term there are many other projects I am looking at, including a full scale re issue of the TBL magazines ,02 Arena book, Earls Court book etc.
As I have explained before, the one downside I have of being a virtual one man band, is that it’s difficult to spin the plates of various projects and move them as quickly as I’d like. There’s also the challenge of entering the digital market and making that a viable platform for the TBL publications at some point.
The simple fact is – if you keep buying them, I’ll keep writing them and I would like to personally thank every subscriber and buyer of TBL product this past year. Your support is very much appreciated and valued.
As I have said before, I may not be rich in monetary terms but when it comes to love and friendship…. I’d say I’m a millionaire.
I am truly blessed to be lucky enough to have a bank of close friends I’ve known since I was 17 who have shared (and continue to ) many a Zep related journey. Then there’s the extended TBL crew of many like minded souls who I have been lucky enough to share the Zep passion with over so many years -far too many to mention and they know who they are. Closer to home there’s Janet, Adam and Sam -and Janet’s Mum Bet- Their love and inspiration I am eternally grateful for…
In particular the wonderful good lady Janet of course, who has been with me every step of the way for over 30 years –indeed we celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary next year.
With the good lady Janet who has been with me since I was 25…
Later today I’m planning a lunchtime pint with the boy Adam , I’ll check in with Janet’s mum (Sam is away on hol) and later the good lady Janet and I will meet for an early evening drink with our friends Terry and Marian and Tom and Jacky and along the way one or two vinyl LP’s will find their way on to the turntable – I’ve already lined up Led Zeppelin Live on BlueBerry Hill as recorded on September 4th 1970, The Who Who’s Next, Led Zeppelin Presence, The Rolling Stones Goats Head Soup and the Bumpers Island sampler.
Then it will be back to being full on with the Knebworth book, kick starting TBL 36 and finishing the McCartney feature which needs to wrap in the next few days.
And year 58 will be underway…
Lastly…in the grand tradition of DL lists…
Dave Lewis – 57 Varieties…
Here in no particular order, are 57 varieties that have influenced my life – be them activities and places I enjoy, films, books or albums and tracks that continue to inspire me….
Dave Lewis – Thursday September 5th ,2013.
1 Family and Friends (see above)
2 Pubs ((see above)
3 Getting out on the bike (see above)
4 Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill LP
5 Reading monthly music mags- Mojo, Record Collector etc
6 Miles Davis Kind of Blue LP (timeless)
7 Tottenham Hotspur FC (Bale’s gone let’s move on!)
8 Watching football in the Fox pub
9 Record shops (Fopp/JB’s/Wax Factor etc)
10 Record Fairs (Olympia/Spitalfields etc)
11 Record Store Day (a wonderful institution)
12 Robert Plant Pictures At Eleven LP
13 Led Zeppelin For Your Life rehearsal DVD footage
14 George Harrison All Things Must Pass triple LP
15 Dave Clark Five Glad All Over single (the beginning of my love of music age 7)
16 The Who Won’t Get Fooled Again at Shepperton footage (I’m in there!)
17 Oasis Stay Young single (reminds me of the glorious mid 90′s music retail era)
18 Curry and Chinese takeaways (in moderation of course!)
19 Budgie 1970s TV series and theme (Classic stuff with Adam Faith in the lead role)
20 British Film Institute DVDs (I’m not big on films but this series of classic Britflicks is great – I have Bronco Bullfrog and Radio On lined up to watch)
21 Bob Dylan Desire LP
22 Nick Drake Five Leaves Left LP
23 David Bowie The Jean Genie Top of the Pops clip
24 Bedford River Embankment (a lovely part of our town)
25 Frank Sinatra In The Wee Small Hours LP
26 Visiting Hitchin Market
27 Peter Robinson novels –the latest being Children of the Revolution
28 Led Zeppelin performing Kashmir at the 02 Arena footage
29 Wings Band On The Run LP (this has been on a lot as I researched the McCartney feature)
30 The Rolling Stones Goats Head Soup LP (40 years gone, read the full story in Record Collector from Sept 12)
31 Glastonbury TV coverage (always an event)
32 Only Fools And Horses TV series (get’s better with repeated showings)
33 Robert Plant Come Into My Life track
34 The Yardbirds Golden Eggs LP (classic bootleg)
35 The Jam Going Underground single
36 John Paul Jones Zooma CD
37 New Order Ceremony single -spirit of 1981
38 Rod Stewart Never a Dull Moment LP
39 Facebook (you gotta love it!)
40 Spice Of Life pub (always a good London meeting place near Fopp in Charring Cross Road)
41Bruce Springsteen Born To Run single
42 Dents Road /Jubilee Park (my roots)
43 WH Smith/Sound FX/Our Price/Virgin/Zavvi -the record shops I worked in ….(’’there are places I remember’’)
44 Jimmy Page Session Man LP
45 Who Knows Where The Time Goes –Sandy Denny track
46 Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush film (another classic 1960s Brit film)
47 T Rex Electric Warrior LP
48 Mott The Hoople Roll Away the Stone Top of The Pops clip
49 Love Lived Here The Faces track
50 Led Zeppelin Studio Magik box set
51 The Beatles White Album double LP
52 Crosby Stills And Nash first LP
53 visiting Brighton (as the good lady and I did a couple of weeks back)
54 Watching football in the park on a Sunday morning
55 Elvis Presley Kentucky Rain single
56 Led Zeppelin Celebration Day box set 3 LP set
57: Robert Plant Presents Sensational Space Shifters (The recent Bristol and Wolverhampton gigs have once again proved utterly life affirming)
…and that folks is 57 Varieties of the 57 DL years as it lines up today…
DL – Thursday September 5th 2013.
Until next time…Keep listening, keep reading…
Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – September 5th , 2013.
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