School visits: Were you there?
I made my first 'author visit' in 1980 shortly after the publication of 'Stanley Bagshaw and the 14 foot wheel'. in the years that followed I travelled all over the UK - and occasionally abroad, visiting infant schools, junior schools, secondary schools, art colleges and universities. I went to special schools, schools for the visually impaired, youth clubs, and young offenders institutions. I ran workshops and gave talks to teachers, and would-be writers. in theatres, museums, libraries and bookshops - and on one memorable occasion . . .
. . . in a disused equipment shed in a Birmingham park in the middle of a raging thunderstorm.By the time I made my last visit in 2003 I'd accumulated a lot of photographs . They are happy reminders of the children and teachers I met. Here are some of them .- I'll add more from time to time)
The children in these photos will of course be adults now. Do you recognise anybody? Were you there? Is one of them you? I can't remember where some of them were taken. If you'd like to tell me you can contact me here.
These children must have been reading 'Ging-Gang-Goolie it's an Alien'. I arrived at their Derbyshire school to find that they'd
all turned into space monsters.
This was special school in Kettering. The teachers were delighted to learn that this young lad could play my mouth organ. I let him keep it. Does he still play it?
The head teacher at this primary school in Darwen, Lancs made an almost life-size doll of a Stanley and sat him on a chair in the entrance hall next to a big cardboard box with a slit in it. On top of the box was a tear-off paper pad, a pencil, some envelopes and a notice inviting children to post a letter to Stanley.
The thinking was that children who had a concern or a problem that they were reluctant to talk to a teacher about might be happy tell Stanley ,
And I was told that it worked; because they did. Brilliant!
The children seen with me above look happy enough.
I know where this was taken. Woodfield school Wigan.
But where was this ?
Stanley Bagshaw & the show-jumping mouse: I'm working on it.
It was at the publishers request that I changed the format of the last two Stanley Bagshaw books to black and white, twice as many pages but half the size. it suited 'The Frantic Film Fiasco' which was to have a lot of what I call 'turnover surprise pages'.
But I was very disappointed not just by the lack of colour, which I had accepted, but by the dull quality of the printing ; it lacked warmth and sparkle.
So now I'm doing a colour version of both books starting with 'The Showjumping Mouse', firstly as a kindle e-book and subsequently as a 'proper' book you can hold in your hand. It's taking me some time, and iI can't promise when it will be ready but watch this space - I'm working on it.
The Ippy waltz: A brass band challenge.
I wrote the introductory brass band music for the Stanley Bagshaw TV series in 1984. It was created using what was, back then, cutting edge technology. Recently I was given the opportunity to have a go at writing a piece of music for a real brass band. I did so using the GarageBand application.
It was given its first performance in a Remembrance Day concert in 2016. The concert was recorded but the band was too big for the stage; we only had one mic and it had to be stuck in the corner behind the drummer. As a consequence the recording was badly balanced. I later made it in to a YouTube video featuring my village and friends.You can watch & Listen to it here
If truth be known, although I like the happy images of village life portrayed by the video, I actually prefer to listen to my original GarageBand recording.
So here that is too -
Treasured gifts: Were they from you?
This little pottery model of Stanley was made by some children in a special-needs class and givent to me when I made a visit to their school.
But where was it and when?
This beautifully hand-painted egg was sent to me, a long time ago, buy a lady whose name I can't remember. It got damaged when we moved house but it's still on my desk, and is still much treasured
If it was you please get in touch
The Alberts were a jazz-comedy outfit with ties to both The Goon Show and the Temperance Seven, and an inspiration to the Scaffold and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. They were founded by Bruce Lacey, formerly a special effects engineer whose background included work on The Goon Show and a bubble-blowing automaton. Dressing in Victorian clothing and utilizing a variety of outré props, they gigged regularly and had a residency at Peter Cook's Establishment Club in London. Though very popular and well-liked, they appear to have recorded very little before their breakup, with one single as the Massed Alberts ("Blaze Away," coupled with "Goodbye Dolly Grey" on Parlophone) Neil Innes was briefly a member of the ensemble.....