Hello to anyone who may be reading this, you may have noticed that I’ve dropped off Facebook and Twitter (although I still have Instagram, mostly because I forgot about that one), so it probably also seems that I’ve dropped off the face of the earth to some.
Almost six years ago, I shifted from complete self-employment to take on a full time data input job in the criminal justice sector. I was 33 and we had just acquired a dog, so I knew I couldn’t live hand to mouth anymore – although the years where I managed to get by just on touring with Thea, a few casual jobs and a sound engineering gig at the Cambridge Folk Festival will always be happy ones for me. I even had an allotment with my fellow musician friend Steph Walker and for a couple of years there, we got a good harvest going. I doubt I will have the opportunity to recreate that until retirement now, so I’m fortunate to have done it.
Entering the full-time working world after years of self-employment meant that my CV looked a bit sparse. I didn’t want to stick with just a data input job for the rest of my life, even to build up the life I have now with my wife, our own house, two cats and the catalytic pooch. My degree was in Performing Arts and around 10 years out of date. Criminal justice has a legal element to it and I found myself drawn towards the law as a potential new path. Interesting enough to draw my attention, varied enough to keep it. I signed up for a part-time course at Manchester Metropolitan University and spent two years studying in the evenings and weekends to complete the Graduate Diploma in Law. Who knew I could convert my performing arts degree into the equivalent of an undergraduate law degree?
During those two years, I got married, moved house, got promoted at work and became a partner in a new business – a barber shop that my wife manages in Farnworth, Bolton called ‘Franny and Clyde’s’. There is a long story there, but if you want to know a bit about Clyde, he is the subject of my song ‘Mucho Gusto’. We took on the shop after he passed away.
I graduated with a Commendation and left it a year to decide if I wanted to go further down the professional training route, or if I would be happy having gained a new qualification and all the knowledge that goes with it. It took me six months to break and sign up for the next course – the legal practice course for solicitors. Many people do this course with a ‘training contract’ in the bag; the final stage of training to fully qualify as a solicitor. The place I want to go to doesn’t do them, because it’s a public sector organisation, so I have taken a leap of faith in taking on the course. So far, so good and I am loving every minute of it. Business law was the focus of the first term and I’ve been able to apply so much of what I have learnt to the shop – to the point we have now taken on our first employee and I am now running payroll as well as doing the accounts and tax.
Why am I telling you my life story? It may help to explain why I have dropped off the scene in terms of music recently. I still have one ear on music and you will see the occasional gig pop up on here, but until the end of August 2021, most of the time I’m not at work will be spent studying to complete the LLM/LPC and get that professional qualification under my belt. Matt Hill (Quiet Loner) is also doing his best to keep one of my feet in music, and I’m very grateful to him for organising gigs and inviting me to play them with him.
I do have a plan to introduce an acoustic gig here and there at the barber shop, so keep an eye out for that. Franny and Clydes is on Facebook so please do bob over to the page and give us your support. Fran works her socks off there and is excellent at what she does. If we put on any music, it will be on the page there.
Until next time, friends.