Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Lives & Times Bowel Cancer Charity Book Meets Gabby Logan

One of the longest quests for the book was trying to meet Gabby Logan. I initially made contact with Gabby on Twitter, and she immediately agreed to be in the book. After months of near misses, cancellations and me nagging her agent, we finally did the photograph for the book in Reading of all places being where I live, where Gabby was supporting the Great British Tennis Weekend in 2015. I met up with her towards the end of her stint, so time was against me, but she kindly chatted for a few minutes and happily posed for photos including this one with the bowel cancer tie. The chapter includes the near miss story of going to do this photo at the BBC Match of the Day studios in Manchester. Gabby was absolutely lovely, and I really appreciate her support for the book.

My mother sadly lost her long and courageous four and half year battle with bowel cancer on August 29th 2016. She died peacefully with me, my brother and sister at her bedside. My fundraising continues, and the book is now dedicated to the memory of our wonderfully brave and courageous mum. Please support this fundraising book, which is available on my website, as every sale counts both in raising money and raising awareness about bowel cancer. All proceeds raised from sales are donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Over £3250 has been raised so far.

Over the course of 18 months I met and photographed people from all walks of life to form the chapters of Lives & Times. Every single person taking part has given up their own time to do it and all funds raised go to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. As well as Gabby, others included are, Sir Steve Redgrave, Katherine Grainger, Jonathan Agnew, Nadine Dorries, Lorraine Kelly, Christopher Biggins, Matthew Wright, Freya North, Gail Porter, Alan Davies, Shaun Keaveny, Carrie Grant, Mike Read, Status Quo, The Stranglers, The Alarm, Clare Grogan and many others.

Monday, 13 November 2017

The Lives & Times Charity Book Makes The Ideal Christmas Gift

This Christmas why not treat someone to a copy of the Lives & Times fundraising book in support of the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. The paperback, and hardback, are both available on my website for £7.99 & £23.99 respectively. ALL proceeds raised from sales are donated to the charity, and it really does make the perfect stocking filler.

The book is a heartwarming and uplifting read inspired by my own mother's bowel cancer journey. Sadly Mum passed away last year after her dignified, and courageous battle with bowel cancer. As well as raising funds for the charity the book is helping to raise awareness about this awful disease. Bowel cancer is the 2nd highest cancer killer in the UK, but is one of the most treatable if detected early with a 90% survival rate. If one person gets checked out, and successfully treated as a result of reading the book then that would be my perfect Christmas present.

Lives & Times features photographs of celebrities who came together to help beat bowel cancer. Included in the book are Sir Steve Redgrave, Dame Katherine Grainger, Gabby Logan, Lorraine Kelly, Jonathan Agnew, Matthew Wright, Gail Porter, Alan Davies, Mike Read, Clare Grogan, Carrie Grant and many others. Each photo is accompanied by the anecdotal story behind the meeting. It was not just celebrities who supported the project and the book also features chapters on some amazing and fascinating everyday people. Everyone gave up their free time to take in the book. It took 18 months to complete, and contains over 100 photos and 44,000 words. To date the book, and other items on the website have raised over £3400.

Lives & Times Christmas Video

The book is available in hardback, paperback, and eBook formats, and can be purchased from www.bowelcancerfundraising.co.uk and AMAZON. To see all the ways to buy the book click here.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Lives & Times Meets David Fenton From The Vapors

A couple of years ago I went up to London to meet Dave Fenton, lead vocalist in The Vapors. They are best remembered for their worldwide smash hit single Turning Japanese. I decided to try and track him down for the book after I had spoken with Mike Read about Jimmie Jones, which was a minor hit for the band. At the time Dave was the in house lawyer for the Musician's Union, and so I took a chance and sent an email to their press office. Within an hour he'd replied in person, and 48 hours later we met up outside Westminster tube station. Dave was extremely helpful, and happy to let me choose the location. There could only be one place for me to take the photo, and that was with Big Ben in the background. The Vapors best single in my opinion was News At Ten, and the picture sleeve of the single was the classic ITV image of Big Ben striking 10 o'clock for their news programme. I will regularly have The Vapors playing on my iPod, and the other stand out song, for me, by the band is Letter From Hiro, which is just magnificent.

We were able to chat about not just the band and some of the difficulties they had the time with record companies, but life after the band finished and his life now working at the Musician's Union and the problems the bands of today face. All in all it was a fascinating experience, and a great chapter to get for the book.

David sent me a photo of himself with his copy of the book after it was published at the end of 2015. When we met David's brother was beginning treatment for lung cancer, but sadly by the time I published the book he had passed away. Another example of just how awful cancer is. My mother's bowel cancer journey also ended in great sadness. She was diagnosed in 2012, and although the operation on her bowel was successful, she had four further operations on her lungs after the cancer spread. She was coping really well, and bounced bounced very quickly each time. Towards he end of 2015 the cancer spread to her brain. I n spite of CyberKnife treatment her health declined, and she went into hospital in June 2016 following a massive seizure. She passed away peacefully on August 29th 2016. 

The Vapors at 229 The Venue 10/11/2017
When I met Dave, he gave me no indication that The Vapors had any intention of reforming, but the great news is that they are now back on the road. I got to see the band in Wolverhampton last year. It was a fantastic gig, and finally getting to see the band live, and perform the songs of my youth, was amazing. I saw them last Friday night in London, and this was definitely at step-up or 3! The band were out of this world. I will always have two stand out tracks by them, 'News At Ten' and 'Letter From Hero', and they were not surprisingly the highlights for me, but every song was top notch. Looking forward to seeing them again next March.

Lives & Times has now raised over £3250 for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK, but if detected early it can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases. To see how you can order the book, which is available as an eBook, paperback and hardback, click here. I am also pleased to say that Ed Bazalgette, The Vapors guitarist, has agreed to be in my next charity book, so I will hopefully be meeting him soon.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

From The Jam Feature In Bowel Cancer Charity Book

Seeing From The Jam perform the songs of The Jam is one of my favourite nights out in the musical diary. Recreating the arrangements with such precision and having the superb voice of Russell Hastings accompanying Bruce Foxton makes the whole thing work wonderfully well.

When I started to put the Lives & Times bowel cancer fundraising book together I wanted to get as much stuff about The Jam, past and present, in the book as I could. What price getting Paul, Bruce and Rick together for a photo? Well yes of course we can all dream. I never managed to get a response from Paul or Rick, although I did manage to get a request to Rick through his book page on Facebook. Thankfully fortune was on my side as when I approached From The Jam to be in the book I was successful. I was given a photo pass for the Reading gig on the Settings Sons 35th anniversary tour.

Normally being in the photo pit you are restricted to the first three songs of the set, so I made sure I was primed and ready. As things turned out I needn't have worried as I was able to stay in there for the whole set, which gave me unlimited photographic access up close and personal. And of course I was also able to enjoy the concert from the very front!

SUB 89 in Reading is a great venue for bands to play the town these days, and From The Jam always fill the venue to capacity. The lighting in there makes photography quite challenging, and it took me quite some time to decide on which were the best photos to consider using in the book. These two photos of Bruce and Russell made the shortlist, but not actually into the book.

As a 16 year old I saw the final tour of The Jam at Wembley in 1982. Seeing these songs again 35 years later is nothing short of an absolute joy, and my heartfelt thanks to the band for participating in the book.

I published the Lives & Times book on November 27th 2015. It has so far raised over £3250 for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. All proceeds I receive from sales of the book are donated to the charity.

I have been supporting Beating Bowel Cancer since 2012, as it was then that my mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Although the operation to remove the tumour in her bowel was successful, Mum also had secondary cancer on her left lung. This is where the primary cancer spreads to another part of the body. She had four operation over four years on her lungs. The cancer also spread to her brain, and in spite of "Cyberknife" treatment her health declined and she passed away on August 29th 2016.

Information about the Beating Bowel Cancer charity and the work that is does can be found by clicking here.

I am currently doing a new book in my mother's memory. The challenge for this one is to try and Paul and Rick to take part... Can anyone help me with this?

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Stiff Little Fingers supporting Bowel Cancer Charity Book

Back in March 2015, I travelled to Oxford to see Stiff Little Fingers play live at the O2 Academy. Having made contact with Jake a few weeks earlier, he invited me to go and photograph the band at their sound-check before the gig. This particular photo shows Jake sporting the bowel cancer tie, which I asked many of the people in the book to do a photo with to help raise awareness about bowel cancer. It was fascinating going back stage to meet the band in their dressing room, and the gig itself was absolutely brilliant with the band playing many of their classic songs alongside tracks from their most recent studio album, No Going Back. This was a great chapter to write, as not only was it a brilliant evening, but having first seen the band play live in 1987, and buying the 'At The Edge' 7" single in 1980, there is a long history of me following the band. 

At the time of the meeting my Mum had been living with bowel cancer for three years. Although she had successfully had the tumour removed from her bowel in 2012, she also had secondary cancer on her left lung, and underwent four operations over a four year period to remove nodules. On the day that Lives & Times was published in November 2015, Mum had a seizure, and the cancer had spread to her brain. She underwent CyberKnife treatment in early 2016, but more seizures followed and her condition slowly deteriorated, and she sadly passed away in August, 2016. All proceeds raised from sales of the book are donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer, and it has raised over £3250 to date.

41,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year. It is the second highest cancer killer in the UK taking 16,000 lives. Importantly, if detected early it can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases. Much more work needs to be done to raise awareness about this awful illness, to increase the numbers diagnosed early, and help reduce the number of deaths. There is still a stigma attached to anything related to bums and poo!

The book contains chapters on people from all walks of life, including the world of music, sport, television, and people affected by cancer. 

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Lives & Times Meets Blowers From Test Match Special

Photographing Henry Blowers Blofeld for the book was particularly interesting as I met him in my Mum's road! Blowers was one of the main stays on BBC Test Match Special, commentating on cricket for over 40 years before his retirement after the final summer Test against the West Indies in 2017. His unique style of commentary painting such a wonderful picture of the game will be much missed, and I wish him a long and happy retirement, although I suspect he will remain pretty busy.

Henry was appearing with the former TMS producer Peter Baxter at Norden Farm in Maidenhead, and was very happy to meet me before the performance to be photographed for the book in spite of spending all day travelling to get to the venue. He was terrific, and it was another wonderful experience and a great addition to the book.

My mother is the inspiration behind the Lives & Times book. She was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012 and after a successful operation to remove the tumour, she also had four lung operations over the next four and a half years. At the end of 2015 the cancer spread to her brain, and her health slowly deteriorated and she passed away in August 2016.

All proceeds raised from sales of Lives & Times are donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity with over £3250 raised so far. The book is also helping to raise awareness about bowel cancer. It is the second highest cancer killer in the UK claiming 16,000 each year. If detected early it can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Lives &Times Meets Dave Sharp From The Alarm

With Dave Sharp in Llandudno 2017

Dave Sharp played at The Gathering in Llandudno earlier this year, so it was really nice to have a quick chat and photo with him, and update him on the book, which has now raised over £3250 for Beating Bowel Cancer.

Dave Sharp at The Railway Inn

I met up with Dave, the original guitarist with The Alarm, at his acoustic gig at The Railway Inn, Winchester in October 2015. I had been on Dave's trail for the book ever since I had photographed Nigel Twist & Eddie Macdonald from the band a year or so before. In fact Eddie had hoped to try and get Dave to be at the meeting with Nigel, which alas didn't happen. Dave proved to be somewhat elusive, and as the publication date drew close I had pretty much given up hope of hearing anything. I was going to his gig in Winchester so I thought it was worth emailing him one final time, and I was delighted when Dave emailed back just a couple of days before the gig and he was very happy to be part of it.

I hadn't seen Dave play live for a few years, and the gig was absolutely brilliant. He is a real master craftsman... It's a great venue and I was lucky enough to see a bit of the soundcheck where Dave went to great lengths to ensure he got the sound absolutely right. This paid dividends for his set as the sound quality was superb. Dave was very enthusiastic about what I was doing and we were able to have a chat in the bar before doing the photo. He was also keen that the photos were as good as we could make them. He certainly has a creative eye and it made my job really easy. The photo I use in the book is a great black and white photo of the man.

So I managed to meet and photograph all four original members of The Alarm for the Lives & Times book. Short of getting them together in the same room this was quite an achievement and one I am really pleased about. Bowel cancer remains the 2nd highest cancer killer in the UK, and yet if caught early it is one of the most treatable cancers. All proceeds raised from sales of the book are donated to Beating Bowel Cancer. My mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012 and over the course of 4 years following her successful bowel operation, also received treatment for cancer on her left lung and cancer on the brain. Both cancers are secondaries from the original bowel cancer. Sadly Mum passed away in August 2016, but the fundraising continues now in her memory with a new book in the pipeline.