I’m an Englishman who became an Australian before moving back to the UK, in Nottingham, at the tail-end of the 2010s. I had no serious, formal music education, but was fortunate enough to be taught by someone who loved music and who thought well enough of my tenor voice. From that relatively-early introduction to Britten and Vivaldi came a love of choral singing (and a desire to be in the tenor spotlight!) that propelled me to the dizzy heights of singing in a Cambridge college choir, singing in Lugano and Adelaide cathedral choirs and, finally, reaching the zenith of my singing career in the gloriously Baroque High Anglo-Catholicism that was Christ Church St. Laurence, Sydney, with quite possibly the finest parish choir on the planet. I apparently made an American tourist cry with my rendition of the St. John Passion on Easter Sunday (in a good way, not because I was singing horribly flat or something!): I suspect that’s my personal claim to fame. Though I’m also an author in the Library of Congress Catalogue (for database theory, not racy bodice-rippers, I fear!), but that never meant as much to me as that personally-attested tribute.
In my mid-fifties, I’m fortunate enough to have been able to retire early, thanks to a judicious land-buy in early 2000s Sydney’s outback (the city sadly grew to the point where I was going to become a suburb of it once more, which wasn’t the original plan at all!). I was aware of advancing years, time running out, and never having visited Rome or Venice or Prague or… basically anyway, really. Clearly, the southern hemisphere life was not one I was entirely comfortable with, from a cultural perspective: and thus, with my land development windfall profits and a desire to explore Europe before I karked it for good, I decided to move back to the UK -though I soon found out that an Australian land boom produced profits that would only buy you something north of Watford. Thus, I ended up buying an art deco property in Nottingham (of which there are a bazillion hereabouts, so it’s not quite the spectacular discovery it might sound like!) But buoyed with my Australian land-deal profits, and my natural aversion to actually having to work for a living, I’ve been fortunate to spend most of my days in the last half-dozen years indulging my passion for ‘classical’ (or ‘serious’ or ‘art’) music. I like pretty much anything from Arensky to Zemlinsky, though I have a somewhat curious aversion to most of the music written in the 19th century, unless it’s opera! I probably need to do something about that… 🙂
My main musical ‘loves’ are Benjamin Britten, Johann Sebastian Bach and Ralph Vaughan Williams …though not necessarily in that order!
This website will probably be a bit of a weird mixture of the technical that I’m professionally used to doing (so, operating systems, databases, computers…. that sort of thing) and the musical, for which I lack all expertise, but have enthusiasm in abundance. 🙂 As I discover new composers, new works, or new ways of listening to old favourites, I’ll somehow strive to document it here with what I hope will approach ‘intelligent thoughtfulness’.
I am told that to be ‘barking mad’ is to exhibit a ‘likeable eccentricity’. My allegedly-eccentric enthusiasm for a particular type of music is the reason for this site’s choice of name. I trust that none of the alternative connotations of the term (such as ‘apoplectic’, ‘besides oneself with rage’ or ‘unhinged’) will be made manifest on these pages, but you can never be too sure!! Elgar can do that to a man, you know…
Though (junk-filtered!) comments are available for any and all articles and posts, I can also and always be contacted at [email protected] and would happily welcome thoughtful, constructive feedback.