Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Lives & Times Meets Mike Peters From The Alarm

In 1983 I had a little transistor radio in my bedroom and I would listen to the John Peel show on Radio One. It was on his show that I first heard The Stand by The Alarm, which was the song that has had the single most influence on my musical life. I went to my local record shop and ordered the 7" and 12" versions straightaway, and a few weeks later myself and three friends travelled up to the old Marquee Club in London to see what remains for me the best gig I have ever been to. These four men with their wild hair and acoustic guitars making a sound that you would have thought impossible. And so began a lifelong love of the music by The Alarm and all who sail in her. Thirty-three years later it is a strong as ever. Mike is pictured above with his copy of the book on The Stranglers Black & White tour where The Alarm are supporting.

I was delighted to meet and photograph all four original members of the band for the Lives & Times book. I was very grateful for the help that Mike's wife Jules gave me in setting up the photo. I was fortunate enough to be able to take the picture at the world famous Abbey Road recording studio. I was there to take part in the recording sessions of The Scriptures, a fundraising project to record the world's longest song. Not only did I pledge to write a verse for the song, but I also got to play guitar. To see how that went you will have to buy a copy of the book. 

Mike is currently in his own battle, fighting cancer for a third time. He is the co founder of the Love Hope Strength Foundation, which is the world's leading rock and roll cancer foundation. Over 125,000 people have signed up to the international bone marrow registry, which over 2,000 potentially life saving matches found. To find out more about the charity click here.

My mother has been fighting bowel cancer since 2012, and has had five major operations. Although the first operation to remove a section of her bowel was successful she has since had secondary cancer where the bowel cancer has spread to other parts of her body. Her left lung has born the brunt of this with four operations, the most recent one being in March when they took out the lower lob of her left lung. More bad news came just before Christmas when she had a seizure, and it was discovered the cancer has spread to her brain. She underwent treatment for that in January which appears to have dealt with one of the two lesions. Unfortunately the other has grown in size and will require more treatment. In fact, when I took the photographs of Mike at Abbey Road, Mum was in remission and it was only a few weeks later at her six monthly check up did we find out that the cancer had returned. 

From my own point of view, apart from supporting Mum through all her treatment, it made me all the more determined to complete the book, and also to make it into something special, and that was as good as it could be, and that could raise as much money as possible for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. To date the book has raised just over £1300, and I am eternally grateful to everyone who has supported the book. To see how you can order the book, which is available as an eBook, paperback and hardback, click here

It was at Abbey Road where I got to meet and chat with Dave Spragg, a Love Hope Strength volunteer, and great friend of Mike and the rest of the current Alarm line-up. Sadly Dave recently passed away having lost his own long battle with bowel cancer. It really is such a horrible disease...

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