About Graham Beck

Musician/artist-Artist/musician. 'As-old-as-the-hills' keyboard player, singer-songwrter, audio artist/visual artist & synth enthusiast (how do I manage to have time to eat & sleep, let alone write a blog?!). I also 'dabble' in music production, so please let me know if I can help out.

Going Back Is The Best Way Forward

You know when I’ve brought out another new album, because all of a sudden there’s a new blog – and here it is!
Yes, the new album, entitled ‘THE BIRTH OF GRAHAM GRAHAM BECK’, sprang forth on October 13th (2023). For once, it’s not new material, but songs (and a few instrumentals) from the 1980s, when I was much-younger and keen to ‘get out there’ into the music world. Full of ‘Synth Pop’ and some ‘New Wave’ bravado, the 23 tracks seem to have stood the test of time, I think. You can hear my eagerness/energetic approach to musical life, particularly in the live recordings (when I was in the band, Penguin Fury, with Kilburn And The High Roads bass player, Charlie Sinclair).
It’s been good to ‘relive’ the 1980s, when my Graham Graham Beck persona started to develop, and realising that I always need to challenge myself in the approach to writing/recording songs that sound (fairly) fresh and exciting… and a bit different. I’m not trying to emulate the 80s, as they’ve come-and-gone, but just keeping the spirit of those times – I don’t want to head down the MOR route! Bringing out this album, apart from being a bit of a stop-gap, has helped me think about how far I’ve come since those ‘innocent days’. I’m still here doing what I do, and surprisingly, people still seem to enjoy it – whilst picking up a whole new younger audience. Nice!

New album approaches, & thoughts on writing a book…

Well, I’ve managed to start writing a second blog for this year (this is it!), so things are looking up!! I feel compelled to write it, due to my 10th solo album coming out next month (Oct. 13th 2022), & thought it was a good way of letting you know, whoever you are, what was on it.

ORDER CHAOS‘ is a very diverse album of (14) tracks, because in amongst it, it contains a couple of songs I wrote back in the late 1970’s, which are very ‘Pop-orientated’, & a tune written in 2008 (a bit more frantic). The other eleven tracks were conceived/put together between last year & this – one of them is an anthemic Pop song. The label, ‘Alternative’, has been used to describe ORDER CHAOS, since the underlying feel is much more energetic, with short spikey numbers (shortest song is 1′ 43″). Anyway, let’s not get bogged down with details…

Front cover

When uploading all the info to my Bandcamp page for the digital version (https://grahambeck.bandcamp.com/album/order-chaos), I was struggling a bit to describe it as a whole. Certainly not a concept album (!). More a diverse collection of musical styles. In the end I wrote: ‘…songs that straddle Alternative & Post Punk Post New Wave Post Pandemic Posturing…& a Jazzy-Electronic Doodle’. That seemed to sum it up, even though I had no idea what it meant. I suppose what links them all is me = a voice & a piano (plus all the other keyboards, gadgets, guitar, bass guitar & drum machines), & a sense of humour, thankfully intact after the past couple of lockdown years.

Back cover

As you can see, the lengths of the songs are much more the traditional 45rpm single length (apart from Princess Of The Sea, Arthur Brown & House Of Wax – where they’re telling stories – & don’t work when edited down). The track, Repeat, is the ‘Electronic Jazzy Doodle’.

Why ORDER CHAOS, I hear you ask? Well, looking at the front cover gives you a clue. It was very much a tongue-in-cheek moment, as some people get very agitated with mix-&-match cups & saucers (I blame the ‘shabby chic’ crowd for this). We all want some order in our lives, but chaos can come along to shake it up a bit. It’s all very healthy. Anyway, I’m quite proud of this effort of an album. I hummed & hawed over the finished mixes for several weeks, but I like to think I got there, although there’s always a case in point where a futher mix would ‘improve’ them even more. But, where do you stop?…

The full package


Yes, I know it’s a bit of a shock, but the idea of putting a book together has been on my mind for quite some time. You’re probably thinking that if I only manage two, maybe three, blogs a year, there isn’t much hope for it ever seeint the light of day. Well surprisingly, I’ve been making notes on it for years. Having always kept a diary has helped. There are short stories, poems, song lyrics of course, numerous thoughts on bits of paper, drawings, paintings & old photos. It’ll be based around my (very up-&-down) ‘musical career’, the teaching years & having been brought up in a seaside town in the 1950’s – oh, I do miss the beach & sea! There is one question though…Who on earth would want to read it? I’m hardly well-known, if at all, but it’s something I want to do, so I might as well go for it.

Back in 2002, I was interviewed by the late great Philip Wincolmlee Barnes for his independent magazine, ‘ILLEGAL MEDIA‘. He asked for a title of his quite extensive piece about me, & I came up with, ‘The Meanderings Of A Would Be Pop Star‘, which he really liked & used. The original title for my book was going to be, ‘A Book About Something, Everything & Nothing‘. That will become the sub-title, as it promises everything, something & nothing (but not necessarily in that order), & I wasn’t sure if the ‘everything’ bit would live up to it – being everything, that is. Therefore, be prepared for ‘The Meanderings…‘ in the not-too-distant future. I think it will end up like my new album, very varied, showing the different sides of me, & being held together by a rather tenuous thread. I hope that’s not going to be the review of it…

Why I’ll Never Be A Blogger

First of all, apologies for the LONG wait for this ‘written piece’. There’s been/& still is a global pandemic, & now a Russian-Ukrainian war, since my last full-blown blog (21st May 2019, apparently). I have no excuses, as there was plenty of time to write a few, & a lot of people did. However, now the wait is over, I delve into the murky world of blogging – or do I?
Many years ago, when I was still a humble art student at Hull Regional College Of Art & Design (early 1970’s), besides the practical-side of the course, there was the WRITTEN-SIDE, otherwise known as ‘Art History’.

Now, I’ve never really been a literary person, so I tended to shy away from such activities, preferring the hands-on approach to work in the studio. But, it was nigh-on impossible to dodge these duties on the degree course, as essays had to be handed-in each term (which went towards the ‘continual assessment’ approach of the course). I decided to tackle this by writing about why I COULDN’T write about the subject(s) in hand. This might seem like an odd approach to the written work, but I persevered with this strategy until I was found out. The work kept coming back to me with notes like, ‘You are not addressing the issue’, & ‘Why?’. I remember at school, using a very similar approach to English Literature & History essays. English Language proved ‘easier’ for me, as I could interpret the subject, & turn it into a sci-fi (or dream sequence) piece. The more Surreal, the better. I now realise that it doesn’t always work like that in later educational endeavours, unfortunately. Sigh… Which brings me back to this blog, ‘Why I’ll Never Be A Blogger’.

For the same reason at art college & school, I’m still trying to evade/avoid/manipulate words to explain, or write about, something else – apart from songs, I suppose, although I do like them to be a bit abstract. Habits obviously die hard (with a vengeance?) – would Bruce Willis be prode of me? Doubtful. I write in a diary every day. Maybe I outwrite myself when it comes to writing (if such a task were possible)? Yes, I’m only writing a diary for myself, so it’s probably easier than this protracted waffle. But one day, somebody else will, perhaps, read them, & puzzle over what on earth it’s all about. However,when you’re presenting something to the world (& that does sound rather over-dramatic, pompous even), you want it to come over as informative & interesting…& hopefullly entertaining. In other words, full of my personality (forget ‘the wit’), & yet giving YOU LOT OUT THERE something of value. Of course, I’ve already failed in that, because all that you’ve learnt is that I can write about why I can’t write about something. So that’s another few minutes of your life that you won’t be getting back! I suppose the same could be said of me.

To finish with, & to try & make reading all of this worthwhile, here’s a photo of an ornamental wall mask (that wards off evil spirits) I’ve recently renovated.

Was it all woth it? – not the mask. This. Hmm? Until the next blog, some time in the future!…

Things that have happened…

It seems I am destined to write a blog about once every year. It’s through no fault but my own, but things DO get in the way – like life, for instance. Anyway, I wrote the last blog in the month of February, 2018, & I thought it would kick-start a whole year of ‘bloggery’, but it didn’t…So why fight it? Ah well, the best laid plans, & all that.

What has happened since my last foray into the written word? Quite a lot, actually, including yet another album, numerous gigs & a national TV appearance (or two)! Not much then, I hear you say. Well, the start of last year, before I even wrote the preceding blog, ‘things’ were happening…In the form of a certain ITV show, ‘BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT’. Up until that point, I’d never even contemplated being on such a programme. In fact, I didn’t contact them – they contacted me! Things just seemed to escalate from there, & before I knew it, I was dressed-up & performing at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens in front of the largest audience I’d ever seen (3,000 people!). Playing a medley of my songs, with a ‘medley of stage props’ too, I got buzzed off by the panel of judges. David Walliams (one of the judges) said, ” Even by my standards of weirdness, I found that very weird”, which I took as a compliment. An interview later, with BGMT’s host, Stephen Mulhern, went okay-ish, & meant that it was broadcast on ITV2’s ‘BRITAIN’S GOT MORE TALENT’ a few months later. Local newspaper coverage followed, but no-one would recognise me, unless I had a cardboard head on! The phone never rang..(Sigh.)

Later in the year, after several gigs & recording/mixing sessions, there was a new album to promote – ‘NO GIGS ‘TIL FILEY‘. I launched it in grand style, with a few invited guests at my house, or rather, the back garden. Since it was November 5th, the CD was attached to a couple of rockets, & sent off in an un-glorious fashion – as only one rocket lit, causing it to shoot into next door’s garden. The second attempt saw the CD/rocket head towards a startled crowd, & it landed in friend & photographer Jerome Whittingham’s mug of…wait for it…Gunpowder Tea!! It made for a lively video, if nothing else.

2018’s album, ‘NO GIG’S ‘TIL FILEY’.

We move forward to this year, 2019, & I move up to my studio, which was now in the newly-constructed loft (I’ll not mention about the disruption, early mornings, noise, mess…& cost). During this time – late January, I had another call from BGT, asking if I’d like to take part in the programme again. This time, the ‘live auditions’ were down in London…At THE LONDON PALLADIUM! I couldn’t believe it, so it took me all of a second or two to say, “Well, yes!” There was only a week to prepare, & I knew I wanted to play the last song that never saw the light of day last year – because I was buzzed off before the medley ‘climaxed’. It was, ‘ACTION MAN WITH A GIRAFFE’S HEAD‘. At last, I thought to myself, this’ll do better…& it DID! Only TWO BUZZES this time, with a standing ovation! Even though it didn’t get beyond that performance/initial round, I felt really good about it, & the reaction was far better than the previous experience I’d had. If anything, it was quite overwhelming, & even the interview with Stephen Mulhern went much better. It all seemed very positive (apart from the two buzzes cast by the judges panel).

The broadcast aired three week’s ago (at roughly the same time I was playing at FILEY FOLK FESTIVAL, in The Belle Vue, which was one of those strange quirks of fate, I suppose). Anyway, it appeared on ITV2’s BRITAIN’S GOT MORE TALENT, again, but with a longer screen time with Stephen Mulhern. Everything seemed to ‘click’, & was just much more enjoyable. Maybe I’m getting used to it, who knows?

Living the dream, at The London Palladium, on Britain’s Got (More) Talent – 2019.
It appears I’m dancing. Well, I was, sort of.

As you can see from the above, it all came together (for once). What next? Well, there are more gigs on the way, & the glimmerings of another album for next year, with the tentative title, ‘SWITCHED-ON BECK‘. The title implies a more-electronic/dancey direction, & do you know(?), that’s what it’s going to be!…& I’m still waiting for that phone call.

…& about time, too!

Was it really over a year ago that I last posted a blog? I suppose that’s a hypothetical question because I know it was! It just doesn’t seem that long ago I was writing about my (then) new album, ‘Reversing Sideways In An Upward Direction’. But I was, & since then, I’ve released another solo album, ‘LEISURE LAND’ – please note the capital letters. I have now started recording my fifth, yes fifth(!), solo album, entitled ‘No Gigs ‘Til Filey’. When will it all stop?…& is that another hypothetical question? Who knows, but I just keep going…If only this blog would ‘keep going’!

Now then, to use a local phrase, the last album came out on my birthday last year (Oct. 13th 2017), & I intend to have the same launch date for the next one. Well, it’s easy to remember then, especially when I get asked, & it’s a date to work towards. Does that make me self-motivational? ‘LEISURE LAND’ took me off in a slightly different direction with my music. I’ve been told that it’s a bit darker, & not like my usual ‘Bonzo Dog Do-Dah Band-type music’. Trying not to think about it, it could be a good thing, or not. It’s selling okay, & all the comments have been positive, so that’s all to the good. It’s time to move on, though, & build on that album’s ‘directional newness’.

It followed the theme, although I didn’t realise whilst putting it together, of our leisure time & how we spend it (from wasting it away in amusement arcades, to relaxing & dreaming on the banks of The Humber – with a song dedicated to the new, plastic-like £5 & £10 notes, ‘Slippery Money’). The whole album just fell into place, with a few instrumentals added, to give it a bit of variety…& I do love instrumentals! Without words, you’re suddenly free of ‘structure’, & anything can go! I like that.

‘No Gigs ‘Til Filey’ has yet to form properly. There are no plans, no direction, & no boundaries, I suppose. The first batch of songs are coming along, with titles such as, ‘The Bingo Caller Of Doom’ (obviously another amusment arcade-related subject, written after the previous album was recorded), ‘Opulent Corner Bath’, ‘There’s A Monkey In The Clog Tree’ & ‘A Love Song To A Urinal’. There’s everything from ethereal moodiness to big band dance music. Maybe the direction is that there isn’t a direction?! Plumbing certainly comes into it, but only on two songs…Or at least, that’s what I thought, as weirdly enough, there is going to be another ‘instrumental (or two) with some words that are sung in a melodic fashion’, & one of them is ‘The Missing Sink’! It seems that during the course of writing this blog, the project is starting to become clearer. But, let’s not get carried away with ourselves – or more accurately, ‘myself’ – as it could be a red herring/dead end. No matter, things are going well enough, so I shall just keep on keeping on!!…


There has been a lot of things happening behind the scenes (literally) recently. Hull’s ‘City Of Culture 2017’ year passed off really well, exhausting just about everyone involved in it – & even those not. Gigs are in the pipeline, & there are a few before Filey (Folk Festival). It’s time to start rehearsing the new songs, as well as recording them. I best stop writing this blog, then!

PS: I like to keep my blogs short.

Another New Year, new blog, new photo & a few new paragraphs…

Well, it’s been quite a while since I last posted on the ‘bloggery’ (it looked better with two ‘g’s’ rather than one). It was 18th April 2015 – & that’s nearly two years ago! Blimey (!), a lot’s happened since then. There’s been another album of songs, ‘REVERSING SIDEWAYS IN AN UPWARD DIRECTION’, which was released on 9th October last year, to an unsuspecting/unprepared general public (although I lie a bit about that, as it had been announced in advance, but I think most people had forgotten about it by the time it came out). It’s sold quite well, as I realise I’m a ‘niche artist’ (as well as being a ‘nice artist), so the shifting of numerous ‘units’, as they say in the music world, isn’t part of the agenda. However, it;’s doing okay thank you very much, & thank you to all those who have parted with their hard-earned cash to ‘dip into my world’! But, at only £5, who could resist such a little beauty? It’s had some good reviews, & tracks have been played on local, & national, radio (including BBC6Music – Tom Robinson Show!), so I’m very pleased with what’s happened so far. Have a look in ‘the shop’ on my website for purchasing a copy, if you so desire. I just need to get a few more festival gigs booked for this year to promote it, & I’ll be making some headway. It’s now time to start a new paragraph…

As soon as I finished the album, ideas started flowing about possible new ideas for songs. I seem to be on a bit of a creative flow at the moment, hence I’ve been recording again, & I’ve have amassed eight tracks so far, three of which are more-finished than the rest. Their titles are: ‘Do The Bosch’, ‘Technology – How Does It Make You Feel?’ & ‘A Quiet Evening In’. Now, this album started out as an instrumental project, & I was going to ask other musicians to help out. However, it has now become…A solo instrumental album with words – some of which are sung in a melodic fashion. I just couldn’t stop myself! So, later this year, another GGB album will be launched, with the working title of, ‘Leisure Land’. That’s all I have to say on the subject (for now).

If you’ve read my blogs before, & let’s face it, there hasn’t been very many (blogs, or readers), you might have noticed that the header photo has changed. The original photo used (above), was taken by artist/musician/sound-maker & friend, Sunshine Gray (originally in the 1980’s band, Gloria Mundi, & later, Eddie & Sunshine). Alas, she is no longer with us, but her work lives on via the internet. You can see/hear her sound installations at: www.sunshinegray.co.uk/ Unfortunately, a lot of people are no longer with us – stars of stage, screen, writers & yet more friends. Each week sees another celebrity bite the dust, & at the time of writing this, we have lost actor John Hurt & actress Mary Tyler Moore. You can’t dwell on the past, so this has triggered a ‘time for a change’. The new photo was taken in the midst of a guitar-playing/recording session, earlier this week (yes, you guessed it, for the new album!). During an idle moment (when I was probably thinking about something profound), I looked down at all the different-coloured leads, cables, foot pedals, effect units etc., & thought, ‘That looks like a photo I could use on my blog page. Oh yes, my blog page – the page that should have blogs on it!’ It was then that I decided to start writing this blog…& here it is!! There’s no time like the present.

When is a blog not a blog?…& Is nostalgia a thing of the past?

When is a blog not a blog?…

Questions, questions! The other day I thought it seemed a long time since I’d written a blog, & then I realised…It had been a long time since I wrote a blog! TWO YEARS AGO!! Yes, a whole two years! What had I been doing all this time? Cogitating? Vegetating? Speculating? Thinking? (there are lots of other ‘ings’ I could include here, but I’ll stop while I’ve still got your attention – if indeed, I’ve got it at all? Hello, is anyone there?….). To prove I have been doing something, below is a draft blog started last year when I was writing a song (entitled ‘I Like Nothing’), that prompted thoughts about the past but never completed/posted. Incidentally, I have been busy writing, recording, mixing my 2nd album., LO-TECH MUSIC FOR HI-TECH PEOPLE, available here, there & everywhere, including my humble little website. Please contact me if you’d like a copy – & at only £5:00, how can you resist? (Photo below.)

Finished Lo-tec music CD Cover

Anyway, a blog is only a blog when you post it. So, here it is, & at last I’m back & a-blogging!….

Is Nostalgia a thing of the past?

When I was at art college, many moons ago, we were constantly told to surround ourselves with our likes/passions/past/roots – the things that made us tick. My particular inspirations at the time were the seaside & monster magazines. The idea was to collect & build an archive that said a lot about the individual – what we were, where we’d come from & what helped to shape our work. It was basically, our source material. Over the (many) years, this idea of storing stuff has become part of me, that & the idea of what links us to the past.

A lot of my songs are about memories. I keep diaries to help retain those memories, but do today’s ‘younger generation’ (& I’m already starting to feel old by writing that!) manage to collect moments & momentos in the same way, especially with instant communication & social networks – which are permanent, yet volatile.

MP3s & other media sound files are all very well, but they are not associated with memories (i.e. where were they bought from – like a location), as they’re all ‘virtual. The ‘sounds’ are just collected, & usually in a random order – unlike record albums/CDs that are built up over weeks, months & years, & carefully selected to make up a library of different bands/genres etc. They all mean something to the owner. My first CD player (which, surprise, surprise, I still have, & is in good working order) had a ‘Random Selection’ button on it, that immediately gave you the album in a disconcerting order. I thought at the time, why mess around with something that’s been carefully put together in the studio, selecting tracks that follow-on from each other? Would I buy a painting, cut it up & then reassemble it on my living room wall? I don’t think so.

‘Young people’ have grown up not knowing ‘the album’, the idea of a concept, so they will very rarely play an entire album that follows through an idea, a theme, a direction. All MP3 collections are like the ‘sampler albums’ from years ago, only much more disjointed – but they’re not thought through, so the tracks don’t really sit together very well….If at all! Of course, MP3s can get ‘lost’, as they are not tangible objects (only the MP3 player is). You can’t hold an audio file, & it doesn’t have a front or back cover – certainly no images. There is also the important ‘tactile experience’ of physically handling the product (lovely LP’s for instance, that have to be lifted onto a record deck, & then turned over at the end of side one! Ooohhhh, lovely!). I might be ‘old school’,  but I know which format I’d prefer. Give me a 3-D object any day.

Whatever happened to rebellious youth?

Having recently played at a ‘Keeping It Peel – John Peel Day’ event, I remembered about some notes I’d written on bits of paper, with the above title, ‘Whatever Happened To Rebellious Youth’. Once I’d found them, I then remembered that I hadn’t written a blog for several months (25th May, to be exact!…..Damn!!). So, here’s the late, lamented follow-up blog……..

To keep this blog pain-free, I’m including some images to help break up the text – think of it like an illustrated book, only much, much shorter (so short in fact, that it wouldn’t even equate to a brief chapter…Or maybe I’m doing myself an injustice?).

I was called a ‘mature punk’ in a review of my live performance, when supporting Alan Clayson, a short while ago. Well, I quite like that…..& yes, if you must know, I did used to have short, bright red hair & dress like a skinny deckchair attendant wearing a variety of stripey deckchair covers, with hints of macho leather here & there. From a distance, I looked a bit like a very thin Briget Riley painting. Alas, that vivid hair colour treatment has taken it’s toll on my hair/head, but I still maintain a bit of ‘spikey-ness up top’ – retaining some integrity, I hope.


Me (circa 1985) – complete with ‘macho leather look’

So, returning to my original question, what has happened to ‘rebellious youth’? The book, ‘Like Punk Never Happened’, by Dave Rimmer, (published by Faber & Faber) discusses how ‘New Pop’ in the 1980’s took over from Punk, & eventually the record business again started calling the shots, rather than the artists/bands – who had suddenly lost control of their careers; their goals; their direction, & ultimately, their destinations. It became industry-led. Music had lost it’s ‘soul’, & ended up corporate. Punk had originally broken down the boundaries & taken control, showing that anyone could do it (& in some cases, unfortunately, some did!).

2013-11-05 15.26.11

However, all good things come/came to an end. The music had gone full circle. The big companies were in control once more. Well, the same seems to have happened to todays ‘scene’ (old-fashioned word, that…A bit like ‘hip’, which you realise later in life is more to do with ‘replacement’, rather than ‘a trend’). Record labels are still looking out for their own versions of successful acts, & consequently we get plagued with sound-a-likes of bands/solo artists we’d rather not have heard in the first place. Oh woe! I shan’t mention names, but there are the singer-songwriters who sound as though their vocal chords have been strangulated, & consequently sing in high, wimpish, nasally, washy tones, that lack clarity of pronunciation. I’m not sure why some singers bother to write words, when you can’t even make sense of them…& it’s not as though they’re belting them out, either (they’re usually quite quiet, gentle songs)! Other acts/bands try to have a ‘jolly good foot stompin’ feel & beat to the numbers, forgetting that the songs need content, too…….Well, both genres are my pet hates, anyhow! So, before I sound like an embittered man, the point of all this rambling leads me onto the crux of this blog (if you’re still with me??), & that is, where is today’s rebellious youth?

Open mic nights are a chance for new talent to show off their wares. Alas, some of the time (although there are several exceptions) there are performers emulating present limp stars – that make for a very MOR experience. If I wanted that, I’d stay at home & listen to BBC Radio 1 (thankfully, I don’t…..I couldn’t!). It’s either a stereo-typical pop performer, or it’s regressive old school. Now, there’s nothing wrong with looking back to the past, but for gawd’s sake, reinterpret the song/style/era, not just copy it – I even heard a straightforward version of ‘Streets Of London’ earlier this year! Believe it or not, there are some people out there who still haven’t forgiven Bob Dylan for taking up the electric guitar. I say, ‘Get over it!’. It doesn’t seem right, young performers playing so ‘safe’ with their choice of numbers. They’ve listened to their parents very cosy record collection, & picked out stuff that came & went years ago. It’s all too easy listening…..Too Val Doonican (if you don’t know who that is, Wikipedia it). We need to move on. Emulate to innovate!!

John Peel was a great advocate in wanting ‘to be challenged’ by the music he was listening to. The book based on his reviews & articles, ‘John Peel, The Olivetti Chronicles’ (published by Corgi Books), shows how much he liked to be confronted by new styles & radical approaches in music….& in life, generally. Were he still alive, he’d be happy to hear something fresh & original – who wouldn’t? However, it does feel, yet again, that ‘Punk never happened’. Since, the further we get from the book’s ethos, the more crucial it should be to rebel musically………..

2013-11-05 15.35.12



Good things come to those that (work at it, & then) wait….possibly

Having recently finished recording/producing/mixing, & then physically getting my new (very first) solo album, ‘A Bathful Of Nasturtiums’, ‘out there’ to the general public, it was with a sense of satisfaction that I actually made my deadline date. I felt good. Everything was in place for the launch at Filey Folk Festival (see previous blog). The problem was, due to my lack of folky-ness, it didn’t sell any albums. So, all I had to do now was PROMOTE IT!! But how? I decided to start with local radio, & booked a spot on BBC Radio Humberside (the David Burns Show), followed by Vixen Radio (a community radio station, with ‘The Foxes Den’ show). I played several open mic nights, that alerted people to the songs & the album – & the fact that several local musicians had helped out too. A few copies were going here & there, which was great…..& word of mouth also spread the news. But what next??

Initially, I sent out a few promotional copies, including a couple to reviewers, but apart from the two radio stations & a reply from one reviewer, I’d heard nothing. Then suddenly, there in my Inbox, was a copy of a forthcoming review, written by Alan Clayson! As this was my very first solo attempt, it was all a bit daunting. Would he be kind, brutal, honest, not honest but polite, or any combination of these things? When I started to read it, I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was good. It was VERY GOOD! It was an uplifting experience, that made the making of the album really worthwhile. I was sent into a strange sort of euphoric state. Yes!!! So, I suppose I ought to let you read the glowing review. Here it is……

no2 Bath texture 12.3x12.3 copy

Graham Graham Beck

A Bathful Of Nasturtiums


‘A Song For Those Not Listening’, the third track in, ought to be compulsory listening for the critic who either skip-listens or doesn’t bother at all with most of the musical flotsam-and-jetsam that washes up round his word processor every week – because if A Bathful Of Nasturtiums is treated so, he’ll be overlooking perhaps 2013’s most entertaining album thus far.

Its maker, Graham Graham [sic] Beck was at art college in Hull at the same time a Wreckless Eric with whom he formed Ruby and the Takeaways. When the group sundered, Eric achieved qualified pop fame while Graham Graham continued to waver and spring between music and art – which may be why part of the appeal of A Bathful Of Nasturtiums is the tactile sensation of looking at and handling a package that actually contains a cut-out-and-keep Batman mask (germane to the CD’s ‘I Am The Batman’ finale’) and a sachet of grass seeds (‘All Praise To The Manicured Lawn’).

Of the twelve listed tracks, my fave rave at present is ‘Fig Roll Overkill’ in which a sense of longing as much as the wretchedness of addiction to this biscuit pervades. Conversely, following ‘I Am The Batman’, there’s five untitled instrumental minutes of uneasy listening that I found more obscurely captivating. These, however, are but two of many startling and witty expressions of commendable sentiment framed in diverting, highly detailed and often quirky arrangements.  Moreover, if no Scott Walker, Beck’s understated approach to, say, ‘The Fag End From Hell’ or nostalgic ‘Unreliable Memories’ is as loaded as the most Joe Cocker-esque vocal explosion.  He’s no slouch as a keyboard player either. Finally, as Janice Nicholls – the girl who used to pass judgement on the latest releases in the ‘Spin A Disc’ section of Thank Your Lucky Stars – often said, it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.

Alan Clayson


Now, you can possibly imagine how I felt, having read it & then re-read it, & then re-reread it in case I had misread it (was it all some weird, illusionary, mystical experience?) . But no, there it was in black & white in my inbox. It’s given me, & my confidence, a boost. I feel as though, at last, I’m doing something right! Now all I’ve got to do is convince other people……





Better late than never…(Fresh From Filey Folk Festival)

This post was going to be entitled just ‘Fresh From Filey Folk Festival’, but due to the vagaries/quirks/annoyances/really, really frustrating, & stupid things that happen online (yell, scream at computer, tear hair out – & there’s not much of that left!), the internet DIDN’T deliver!! I’ve been about three days without it, & further more (& even more-annoying, if that were possible?), I haven’t been able to login to my own website or blog. Disaster! However, we’re all back to normal here, for now. So here’s the original blog that should have appeared some days ago (get it while it’s there, here or wherever…):

Fresh from Filey Folk Festival – a lot of ‘f’s there, & I’m sure there were a lot of ‘f-words’ being muttered in the audience, when I played my solo set, on the 4th May, at the aforementioned folk festival!

Traditional folk music, & after all, that was what this festival was based on, will always be ‘traditional’. You can’t sway a determined audience with ‘modern technology’ (& I was only using a 1988 keyboard!). Perhaps it was the integrated drum machine that put people off. Perhaps it was my less-than-traditional songs, or the way I presented them. Perhaps it was my not-too-serious approach to playing at such a festival.

I’ve nothing against traditional folk – I quite like some of it. Without it, music wouldn’t be where it was today. Then again, without trad. jazz, rock ‘n roll, 1960’s pop, disco, punk, new wave, techno etc. etc. (I realise I’ve missed out quite a few genres here), music still wouldn’t be where it is today. If I can be tolerant towards all musical styles, then why can’t the purists? It’s a bit like the ‘Classical crowd’ who always shun/dismiss anything beyond early 1900 as being too radical. Perhaps folkies are still in shock over Bob Dylan taking up the electric guitar. Well, it makes you wonder.

2013-05-07-1865Filey Bay.

When I played a short set the other night (post-festival) in Hull, the barman said that my songs reminded him of Jake Thackery – which is ironic, since he was a folk singer, popular in the 1960’s & 70’s, & toured around the folk club circuit at the time!!

2013-05-04-1664Metallic lobster – Filey seafront.

I suppose with me starting off my set at Filey F. F. by saying, “Look. I know this is a folk festival, so I might as well be honest with you, I don’t play folk music. But if you pretend I’m playing ‘folk’, you might quite like it?!” With this endearing statement, a few members of the audience left. Several more left after a couple of numbers. However, to their credit, numerous people stayed, & were really appreciative – particularly the younger audience (several even tapped their feet!). But unfortunately, it doesn’t sell albums – at least, not my new solo album….’A Bathful Of Nasturtiums’, if you’re interested (available from my website – plug, plug!)…at: http://www.graham-graham-beck.co.uk/buy-online-graham-beck-store.php#!/~/product/category=4013858&id=23572351

2013-05-04-1689Buckets & spades – it must be the seaside!

Two phrases came to mind when I was in the middle of my set: ‘Folk isn’t necessarily a four-letter word’, & ‘There’s nowt so queer as folk’. Luckily, I said neither. I know honesty is the best policy, but at times, I do wonder….

I’ll be back at the festival again next year, determined to play, but maybe take along my piano instead & ‘folkify’ my songs instead. I rise to the challenge!

2013-05-06-1859The caravan I stayed in for the festival, north of Filey (my first-ever ‘caravan experience’).

2013-05-07-1868Calm, peaceful, quiet, relaxing & quite deserted – Filey beach & sea, having just had a ‘nice cup of tea’ & biscuits, before heading back to the city….& home.