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THE NINETIES


In 1987 I left Australia and moved to the Isle of Man. It was a move that was more than half inspired by the romantic notion of living on an island which had resisted progress and remained charmingly old-fashioned; Manx people had no need to lock either their cars or their front doors, there had only been one murder in the past fifty years and the local papers filled their pages with reports of traffic offences and charity fund-raising events. It was a place where you made your own fun, especially through the winter months, and so I returned to playing music after a long absence.

The folk/rock band Belladonna played many pub gigs around the island, some of them during the busy TT motorcycle racing season. The band consisted of Dawn Ashton, John Herdman, Peter Woodman and myself.



With Strange But True I was able to experiment with songwriting. After four years of playing together, which included stand-out gigs at the iconic Bushy's Pub (before it was demolished) as well as local festivals - the Celtic Yn Chruinnaght, and the annual Big Wheel Blues Festival - we put together a CD of our tunes. SBT consisted of George Hughes, Andy Radcliffe, Roger Leece and Carol Lefevre, with occasional contributions from other local musicians.



Sometime in that decade I was approached by a band who were planning a Pink Floyd Tribute concert. Pigs On The Wing were rehearsing on the top floor of a semi-derelict building in the main Strand, ambitiously putting together a show which consisted of playing the whole of The Dark Side of the Moon. The Pigs were terrific young musicians and had no problem reproducing most of the material, with the exception of the female vocals on Great Gig in the Sky. After a couple of experimental rehearsals, I took on the task of performing Great Gig with them through some memorable TT shows at the Villa Marina, nights of spectacular lighting effects and huge sound that constitute some of the best fun I've ever had.