From my earliest days I had an interest in electronics and built a 1 valve radio in my grandmother’s kitchen. At school I built crystal radios and listened to Radio Luxembourg on headphones under the bedclothes.
On leaving school I joined a local radio and television shop to train as a maintenance engineer but soon found that I already knew more than the chap who was teaching me.
I joined the BBC in 1965 and trained as a wireman and toolmaker. In 1966 I was transferred to Engineering and trained at the BBC’s training department at Woodnorton near Evesham. In spring 1967 I was sent to External Broadcasting at Bush House in The Strand where I was a Technical Assistant until 1970. I left because of a re-arrangement of engineering staff at Bush House that would have made me an operational (balance) engineer instead of a technician. Although I liked music I felt that my talents lay in the design and maintenance of electronic equipment and not in the actual act of recording. Besides, the reality of sitting for 10 hours monitoring Arabic and Russian transmissions was frustrating.
I went freelance for about 1 year until I joined CTS in Wembley. (The big studio behind the stadium, now pulled down due to the re-development of the area). I learnt about modern multitrack recording techniques there and trained on Studer A80, B62 and Ampex tape machines. We had Sound Techniques consoles which were gradually replaced by Neves. I was fired for wearing tartan trousers (really!) and went back to freelance work.
I taught myself to service colour televisions as they were complex at that stage and there were few competent engineers. I also worked in a few small studios doing their regular maintenance. I rebuilt one, Sounds Aquarian, originally an 8 track studio, into a 24 track studio. I also took on the maintenance of Regents Park Recording Company, then a modern 24 track studio with a Trident TSM console and a 3M M79 tape machine. I had other regular maintenance clients at the time.
In 1979 I was requested by Cliff Adams to become technical head of Olympic Sound Studios. One of my clients had recommended me as he was looking for a new chief engineer and was having trouble finding one. Despite the technical problems they had at the time, I took the job and stayed until 1985 by which time it had become a reliable facility. I then became a regular consultant until they were bought by Virgin. Apart from clearing all of the faults from the complex, which were many (!), the Chelsea studio was re-fitted and the acoustics were improved.
Since then I have built several recording studios, some from scratch and some extensively modified. Far more frequently I am called in to sort out the problems in studios built by other engineers where they cannot succeed in reaching the required specification of the installation.
My biggest project was the design and build of a major recording facility in New York for Henry Hirsch and Takeshi Kobayashi. I worked with the acoustic designer, the architects and the clients for 3 years. I overhauled the mixing console (the Olympic Studio 1 console), fitted Massenburg automation, supervised the wiring of the studio (all fully plugable on EDAC connectors), and oversaw the entire project. I fought for the best solutions to all of the problems we came up against and left the 2500 square foot studio with a full wiring schedule and a fully equipped workshop. Problems solved included interference from the art gallery next door (lights controlled by thyrister dimmers), RF from the medium wave transmitters across the river in New Jersey, solving the problems with the air conditioning, panel doors supplied that resonated and had to be deadened, blocked drains causing flooding with a New York downpour together woth all the usual problems one gets with a new studio.
I have many personal interests which include Architecture, Art, Astrology (Life member NCGR), Car Maintenance, Cooking, Cosmology, Films and Film History, Food and Food History, Gardening, Graphology, Horology, History, Literature, Motorcycling (Life member of MAG), Music (Baroque, Blues, Classical, Folk, Jazz, Popular, Ragtime, Renaissance, Rock’n’Roll, Romantics, 1920s to 1940s Dance bands), Poetry, Palmistry, Philosophy, Photography, Theatre, Theosophy, Travelling, Vegetarian Diets, Wine, Woodwork.
I play (not very well) guitar and ukulele. I studied piano at school but stopped by 1965. I can still read music but have lost most of my abilities to play!
I have many skills that I can bring into action. I am good at metalwork and I can weld with both gas and electric. I can strip an engine or a gearbox and rebuild them properly. I have built garage doors, cupboards, cabinets etc. from scratch, handcutting mortise and tenon joints, rabbets and dovetails. I have an extensive range of both hand and power tools for use in woodwork and building/demolition.
In addition, I used to run a small astrological publishing company (Regulus Publishing Company Limited) which ran for just over 20 years. It was dissolved upon my divorce.
I am a vegetarian (although I do now eat a small amount of fish) and I do not smoke.