What if The Beatles had never formed?

The runaway success of American stars like Frank Sinatra, Johnny Ray and Elvis Presley ensured that by 1957 Britain’s teenage market for short, catchy songs delivered by handsome men was firmly established and clamouring for home grown talent. But if a 16-year-old tearaway from Liverpool called John Lennon had decided not to enlist the services Read More…

The Vinyl Say 019: Elvis Costello & the Attractions

In every collection there are records that get played all the time, many of them for years, decades even. Then there are those that, while no less treasured, somehow fall by the wayside to lie in wait, ripe for rediscovery. This series chronicles some of those nuggets as they resurface from my own back pages. So, put Read More…

The Vinyl Say 018: The Jam

The Jam – England I Miss You Now (Bulldog, 1991) Ever done something you probably shouldn’t have…? It was 1980 and with Going Underground entering the charts at number one The Jam couldn’t put a foot wrong. This song exists to prove they – well Paul Weller (happy 60th birthday by the way!) – at Read More…

Tyneham after 75 years of the Army

The world has changed more in the 75 years since anyone last lived in Tyneham than it had done for hundreds of years before. Even so, the village’s declining population following World War 1 had already seen the school close in 1932 and in the months before the evacuation, the introduction of tractors to Tyneham Read More…

Tony Hancock, the Lad and Dorset

‘Tony Hancock ended his life in such tragic circumstances that it seems to be forgotten he was once a young man filled with a young man’s hopes and dreams and aspirations and with his whole life before him,’ says Lyn Phillips who, writing as LM Evans, has published Tony Hancock: The Bournemouth Connection. ‘I wanted Read More…

Blandford Forum, fire town

As an accidental fire gutted Blandford’s historic Old Brewery in March this year, the townsfolk might well have contemplated the catastrophe that befell their forebears some 287 years ago. For if ever a town was shaped by fire it is Blandford Forum where, on 4 June 1731, almost 90 per cent of its buildings were Read More…

Arts for all our sakes

The National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies was founded 50 years ago. Now rebranded as the Arts Society, its membership is made up of local and regional societies formed by people who share a passion for the broad range of arts and are curious to find out more about artistic heritage. Dorset’s various Read More…

Beck + Sparks + Shame 28:05:2018

Solent Hall, Bournemouth International Centre Who knows how such things are decided but that Beck should play his only UK headline show of the year in an otherwise atmosphere-free former swimming pool in a conference centre overlooking the golden sands of Bournemouth on a sultry May bank holiday is one of those rare but glorious Read More…

Britain’s oldest charity – ‘We’re allowed a few quirks!’

Just over St Catherine’s Hill, beyond the River Itchen traffic flashes by bound for who knows where on the noisome, noisy M3, but less than a mile away it’s barely audible. Indeed, all that motorised mayhem seems a very long way from the gently ordered serenity of the Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Read More…

Copper-bottomed craftsman

It is hard and mucky work but what emerges from the heat and the dirt could and, indeed does, grace the finest tables in the land. For the gently spoken alchemist who emerges from his well-ordered workshop tucked away at the back of an industrial estate in Sturminster Marshall is Nick Stevenson, Her Majesty’s tinsmith. Read More…