Friday, 29 January 2016

Mike Peters, Eddie Macdonald, Dave Sharp & Nigel Twist From The Alarm Feature In Bowel Cancer Charity Book

To see how you can order the Lives & Times fundraising book for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity click here.

One of my ambitions when I started doing the book was to try and photograph the four members, Mike Peters, Eddie Macdonald, Nigel Twist and Dave Sharp, from The Alarm. This was never going to be an easy challenge especially with Twist living in the United States. I knew it would be virtually impossible to get the band back together in the same room, as they hadn't appeared together on stage since the Bands Reunited concert back in 2003. I set about contacting the guys to see if I could meet and photograph them. Over the course of 12 months I completed this task, and it is one of my proudest achievements in the Lives& Times bowel cancer charity book. I will explain why these meetings account for three chapters and not four.

The first member I approached was Eddie, and I was delighted when he immediately came back with a yes. It took some time for us to arrange a meeting, but fate was on my side as he was seeing Twist in London while Twist was over for a rare visit from the States. I met them close to Oxford Street and it was a fascinating experience. It was also the 11th anniversary of the Bands Reunited performance at The Scala. Eddie has been a terrific supporter of the project and he recently sent me a photo of himself with his copy of the book.

It's currently a busy time for Eddie as his new band, Smalltown Glory, release their debut EP The Tenement Commandments Vol. 1, which is available on Pledge Music. It's a fantastic collection of five brand new songs and a new 2016 recording of, Third Light, the classic Alarm song. It's a welcome return to the music scene for Eddie and you can buy the EP here.

At the end of January I went to Llandudno in North Wales making my annual trip to see Mike at The Gathering. Mike is currently battling cancer for a third time, but his fight with Leukemia wasn't going to stop him hosting and appearing at this annual event which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2017. My regular trips to see Mike play live gave me plenty of potential for photographing him. His wife Jules said it would be no problem doing a photograph with him, so it was a case of trying to sort out where and when. I ended up doing the photo at Abbey Road, where I took part in The Scriptures recording sessions. It was an amazing day, which was basically taking part in the recording of the world's longest song! It really was a once in a lifetime experience.

As I neared completing the book I still hadn't managed to make contact with Dave. I was going to see him play at Winchester, so I made one final attempt to contact him the week before the gig, and fortune was smiling on me as Dave messaged me saying he would be happy to meet me. This was another great experience as I got to see the sound-check before meeting and photographing him. I got to have a great chat with Dave before taking his photo, and to round off a great evening the gig was stunning.

Like many fans of The Alarm I have followed the band for over 30 years, and I have some wonderful memories. Tracking down the guys for the book probably tops the lot, well maybe except for the very first time I saw the band at The Marquee in 1983.

The book came out on November 27th, and since publication it has made over £800 for the charity. It contains over 50 chapters, 100+ photos, and 40,000 words. My mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012. She underwent surgery to have the tumour removed, which was successful. However over the last four years the cancer has spread to her left lung, this is known as metastasis. She has had three operations to remove cancerous nodules, and in October we found out another nodule had appeared on the lung. Just before Mum was due to have her operation we found out that the cancer had spread. She has recently undergone "Cyberknife" treatment and now attention has turned back to the lung, which will hopefully be operated on in the next few weeks. In spite of all this she continues to be a fighter and is determined to get through this latest round of treatment.

Please support me in this fundraising venture and help beat bowel cancer. Watch the video below of my weekend at The Gathering.

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