I was born in 1966, the greatest ever year for music*, into a music-loving family with a big, diverse record collection. Before I could read I could tell which records were which from the labels and the patterns in the grooves, and I was allowed to play 'em 'cos I was so careful with 'em.
My parents' tastes ranged from Oscar Peterson to Magnum via The Eagles and The Carpenters. My big brother went through the Beatles explosion and the British Blues Boom, my big sister was steeped in 70s pop and my little brother introduced me to ska, electro and acid house.
In my teens I was a Quo/Lizzy/Queen nut, but my true love was, and still is, Slade. I just love big tunes and hooks and choruses that take up residence in your brain like housemartins in your roof, chirruping away until you can't sleep.
I grew up in Essex in the 80s, a rocker and a guitarist in an unbroken sea of one-finger-synth-players. Despite my best efforts my friends convinced me to love The Human League, Kraftwerk and Heaven 17. For a while I thought guitar music had had it's chips.
Then one day, aged 17, longhaired and wearing a Levi's jacket that my mum and I had lovingly embroidered with the crest from the back cover of Queen 2, I grudgingly stumbled into my school friend Paul Tunkin's club night, The Monkey House***, in a casino on Southend seafront. I'd been dragged to hideous 80s soul clubs in Southend before. I usually wouldn't even get in 'cos of my hair and dress sense. But this place was different. Almost pitch dark. Wall to wall goths. The heady smell of hairspray and hormones. Couldn't tell the girls from the blokes. And "This Charming Man" on the decks.
My life changed that night. I hid the jacket under a table**, and hit the dancefloor like a 6 foot 2 inch homing pidgeon.
Went home, stuck the Quo in the loft, and started hoovering up indie vinyl like a man posessed. Even worked my way back into punk, which, as an 11 year old in 1977, had previously scared the crap out of me.
So here I am in my forties, still obsessing over music. Independent music. Wilfully, ruthlessly independent music.
I ran a label called Sitting Target Music www.sittingtarget.net expressly to get my talented friends' music 'out there'. I fronted a band, The Penguin Party www.thepenguinparty.co.uk to get my creative rocks off. I currently play guitar in Jamie Williams And The Roots Collective. And now, thanks to the happy accidental intervention of indie philanthropist Brooklyn Deb, I'm getting a chance to blurt some of my enthusiasm for obscure and untainted acts out over the great medium that is the mighty Q Star Radio...
Come and join me Round At Milligan's!
* It is. It just IS. Look it up!
** My daughter wears the jacket now..
*** Paul Tunkin now runs label and club Blow Up