Waiting for ‘Zappa’

I suppose most people, these days, know of Frank Zappa, though probably not too many have heard his music. My first introduction to Frank Zappa’s music came many years ago with his 1977 double-album, Zappa In New York. The opening number was his take on the theme of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du soldat, exploring the same … More Waiting for ‘Zappa’

Touring the bookstores with ‘Freyberg: A Life’s Journey’

I’ve lost count of the number of copies of Freyberg: A Life’s Journey I’ve signed in the past six weeks. Really. I’ve been out and about promoting the book, visiting bookshops, giving talks, meeting people – and signing. Mostly on weekends because that’s when customers usually buy. My publicist at Oratia, Belinda, worked hard to … More Touring the bookstores with ‘Freyberg: A Life’s Journey’

Shot by both sides – a historical experience

Does anybody remember the old ‘Magazine’ number from 1978 – ‘Shot By Both Sides’? That phrase, to me, sums up one of today’s major problems. In this world of polemic, where debate is so often reduced to two simplistic positions, somebody who doesn’t agree with either risks being attacked by both sides. I’ve run into … More Shot by both sides – a historical experience

Why writing a biography is a bit like writing a novel

The essence of a biography, at least to me, is exploring the character of a person. Merely knowing what somebody did in their life isn’t enough: we have to know why. And that, of course, is also what novellists do. This doesn’t mean that a biographer makes stuff up. On the contrary, the data is … More Why writing a biography is a bit like writing a novel