Song 24 of my “31 Songs”.

From the Welcome to My Nightmare album.

I often listened to this in my university days while I was writing stories for my creative writing course.

I heard this song again after seeing the Alice Cooper interview I posted about a week ago.



God, Drugs and Rock & Roll

During my years at university studying creative writing (early 1990s), I often listened to Alice Cooper as I wrote my short stories.

Here is a side of Cooper not often recognised.
His faith. His experiences in the music industry. His celebrity friendships. Golf.

And more…

Bliss Processional

One of the books I’m reading now is Royal: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Robert Lacey.

It’s an old book (pub 2002) that I’ve had for many years, seemingly now out of print.

The book brought to mind this piece of music that I first heard on an LP I own (and can no longer play due to a lack of a turntable).


Processional, written by Arthur Bliss for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.


Fireball XL5

Another blast from my past, a song by Russell Crowe’s ex father in law, Don Spencer (in his younger days) and number 19 on my personal list of “31 songs”.

This TV show theme song was one of the first records my parents bought for me.

Musical Tastes of Fictional Characters

One thing I’m enjoying when I read Stephen Booth’s books is the occasional musical reference. It seems like his Detective Constable Ben Cooper (maybe even Booth himself?) shares my musical taste.

I think it was in Booth’s first book Black Dog* that Cooper listened to the Waterboys, and in the book I’m currently reading, Blind to the Bones, Cooper has borrowed another CD from my collection: Green Blade Rising by the Levellers.

Here’s a track from the album.

Ben Cooper poked around for a CD to play on the way back to Edendale in his Toyota. He found a recent Levellers album and was pleased by the title Green Blade Rising.

On the way out of the village, he noticed two men with a tractor and a length of rope near the pool in the river. Another man was standing in the water in PVC waders. He was already pretty well covered in duckweed as he struggled to attach the rope to one of the boards that floated on the surface of the pool.

‘Strange,’ said Cooper to himself. And he tapped his fingers to the Levellers as he drove out of Withens



see correction here

A Dedicated Man, Peter Robinson

In the second of Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks series, the body of Harry Steadman,  a respected and widely liked local historian, is discovered partially buried beneath a dry stone wall.

Why would a man like that be murdered?


Alan Banks is convinced that the answer to the crime lies somewhere in the past, within the man’s close relationships, so digs into the histories of those who knew the victim best.

The start of this book suffers from the same issues I raised with Robinson’s first Banks book: an apparent breast fixation. In this case I found the descriptions in the first couple of pages more gratuitous than those in the previous book – where at least there was a relevance to them within the plot.

Fortunately the rest of the book doesn’t continue in that vein.

The case of  Steadman’s murder had enough twists and turns and unpredictability to make me want to keep reading. But the mystery isn’t the only appealing factor. I enjoy the continuing connection that books like this give to their leading characters.

An important part of Alan Banks’ character is his love of music, and the books have regular references to his eclectic tastes .

The video below is a rendition of a song that one of the book’s characters, a folk singer, performs at a pub concert attended by DCI Banks.