Peter Doherty, A Likely Lad

A big fan of the rock n roll yarn, I picked up Peter Doherty’s book A Likely Lad in a Ranelagh gift shop (Rosalins) just off Edenvale Road where I used to live in the mid 90’s. I was strolling down memory lane as you do, a few weeks back and came across the shop (42 Dunville Ave, Dublin 6, D06 VX34).

Playa de Palma, Mallorca, Spain

Off to Playa de Palma on the 12th of May, I packed the book away for the holiday read and was delighted I did. Whats probably most surprising is the level of detail Doherty recalls of his many adventures while at the time being under the influence of various substances. I was aware of him from The Libertines and Babyshambles bands but didn’t really know his music prior to buying his debut solo Grace/ Wastelands produced by Stephen Street which I loved. A great collection of songs.

A good read
Grace / Wastelands

Since reading his memoir, Ive started to listen to his other solo albums. The early stuff has past me by at this stage but Im really into the solo stuff. Hamburg Demonstrations, the follow up to Grace/Wastelands is spectacular. Very mature songwriting, great production by Johann Scheerer and the sound of the band including violin is so loose it’s just perfect.

Hamburg Demonstrations

His latest album ‘The Fantasy Life of Poetry And Crime’ with Frèderic Lo is a piano based collection and easily his best work yet.

There has been a hell of a lot written about the man, a tabloid regular, his battles with addiction, his brushes with the law maybe far more than has been written about his creative output but when I think Peter Doherty, the words that spring to mind are musician, songwriter, singer, poet, painter, maybe even Jack The Lad but mostly I think Artist. His work speaks for itself. I really enjoyed reading A Likely Lad and learned a few new things I didn’t know including he has started his own record label (strap originals) and has a hotel / recording studio in Margate (The Albion Rooms).

More recently, he has toured UK and Ireland to huge audiences with the Battered Songbook. Like his pal Amy Winehouse, he may have had his fair share of troubles but his resilience, determination, family and friends have kept him where he belongs, on stage singing original songs.

#peterdoherty #alikelylad #book #goodread

Coffee & Dylan (on vinyl)

One of the strangest and most unexpected openers of an album Ive ever heard ‘All The Tired Horses’, is still a stand out track although it only has two lines sung by a female choir and not Dylan himself. Amazing!

Coffee & Dylan

Listening to these songs now and looking at the album artwork, I can’t help thinking ‘what the hell was Dylan going through’ when he made this…its not like any other Dylan album really, well except maybe one of The Bootleg Series. Scrapped together with covers, instrumentals and some live out take originals this one is probably for the completists and was never gonna win Dylan any new fans but I think that was exactly the point. At the time, Dylan was fed up with his public image and apparently wanted to deliberately piss some people off with this collection. That said, it contains some great takes including an epic version of Blue Moon, and the few tracks with cello and violin are amazing. Overall, its a very country sounding album like Nashville Skyline which is very alright by me.

Self Portrait album credits

Produced by Bob Johnston and Released June 8, 1970

Recorded April 24, 1969 – March 30, 1970, his tenth studio album and his second double album after BLONDE ON BLONDE at the time of release it received negative reviews but still reached No 1 in the UK and No 4 in the US.

I can’t help thinking, if this was a single 10 or 12 track album, with the standouts instead of the 24 track double, would it have received all the negative reviews.

Self Portrait back

In defence of the bad reviews, Marc Bolan had this to say “Please, all the people who write bitterly of a lost star, remember that with maturity comes change, as surely as death follows life”.

Album artwork

#album #coffee #bobdylan #selfportraitalbum #recordcollection #vinyl #doublealbum #columbiarecords #vinylrecord

All The Tired Horses from the re-issue Another Self Portrait

From a Cough to a Cancer

Throughout 2021-2022, I hadn’t been feeling great and had developed a dry cough that annoyingly wouldn’t go away. It lasted months and eventually I went to the GP for advice. I had an idea that the cough might be connected to my stomach problems.

For decades, since I was a child, I suffered with burning pains in my stomach. When I was 11 years of age, my mother took me to the family doctor in Beaumont, North Dublin who said “he has all the symptoms of someone with a hiatus hernia but only old people usually get that, he’s far too young..” This was dismissed at the time. I don’t know what they thought it was.

Little did we know but his prognosis was actually spot on. It was years later as I had scans that I was properly diagnosed with hiatus hernia which meant my stomach was producing too much acid and causing the lining to burn away due to a broken muscle which normally controls the flow of acid. Very painful.

On one occasion, as I drove down the road the pain was so bad I remember I had to pull the car over and get out. I was doubled over. I thought my stomach was going to explode. Most times when I drank cold milk the pain would dissipate. I suffered with this pain mostly throughout my twenties before it was properly diagnosed after a scan. It would get particularly bad when I was stressed or if I drank alcohol sometimes. This could be controlled by taking an ant acid tablet everyday for the rest of my life.

During the 90’s, I visited a specialist consultant with regular visits and scans every couple of years. I was encouraged to take the tablet and to ‘change my life style’. At the time, I was a smoker and occasional drinker. I worked in a fast paced sports retail chain and didn’t take much notice of my health. Looking back, I consumed too many cigarettes, cans of coke and mars bars for snacks. Until one day after one of these scans, my consultant sat me down in his office and with a serious look on his face said “David, your scans are back and the results are not good. From this day on you dont smoke or drink !” I looked at him in disbelief thinking in my head “yeah, right” but as I left the office, it soon dawned on me how serious the situation was and I decided to quit smoking there and then. Quitting smoking after 13 years wasn’t easy particularly as I did it cold turkey.

Back to 2022 and the cough. My first visit to the GP lead to nothing, even though I asked ‘should I have another endoscopy?’ I was told, I would be wasting the hospitals time, the cough was not connected to my stomach.

Roll on 6 months later and I visit a different doctor with the same cough in the same GP office who agreed to an endoscopy as a precaution. The scope was scheduled for July.

A month later, while out walking on my lunch break, I received a call on my mobile from a nurse in the Hospital who said they ‘found something’ in the scope and could I come in the following week to discuss. Alarm bells went off Big Time but I told no one except my line manager in work of this call as I had to take time off and I secretly arranged the visit with the hospital. I thought, until everything was 100% confirmed, there was no need to alarm and worry anyone.

Discussing the July endoscopy report, in his office, the surgeon accompanied by two nurses explained the results did not look good as they had seen a growth which he concluded was going to need further investigation but they were confident the polyp’s were carcinogenic from what they could see. I had to ask him “does this mean I have cancer?” to which he replied “Yes, from what we can see”.

He went on to explain that I would need to have another follow up endoscopy with his team which would confirm what they suspected. In the event, it was cancer then we would have two options 1) a procedure to remove it using an endoscope depending on maturity or 2) an oesophagectomy. Although keyhole surgery, this procedure would be radical he explained using a diagram on the wall. Although I felt sick, I took this information rather calmly and left his office agreeing to the follow up endoscopy.

Three weeks later, I walked into Beaumont Hospital for my second endoscopy of the year.

And The Healing Has Begun

Its not all bad news! Having been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer on 1st September 2022, I might be forgiven for not keeping my blog up to date hence the lack of posts here for some time.

The diagnosis came completely out of the blue and was a major shock. One minute Im walking dogs on the beach, working like a madman in cyber security, climbing mountains and hiking around Ireland, the next minute Im sitting in a surgeons office hearing I only have one option on offer – an oesophagectomy (major surgery to remove cancer and my food pipe.) This is life changing!

So for the past few months, Ive been away, having surgery and recovering and growing the facial hair.

While in hospital, I listened to music as always which gave me hope and strength and helped me get through it. I’ll reference some of the songs in these posts that made a huge difference to recovery for me. Id never been seriously ill before thankfully so this was a first for me.

Now, I feel its time to share my experience if anyone is interested do let me know. Leave a comment or email me. Maybe you know someone who has been diagnosed or maybe you have been yourself. It’s been a rough road the past few months for sure but with the help of family, friends and my amazing surgical team, its getting better every day. If my story helps someone else even in a small way to get through their journey with cancer then I don’t mind sharing my experience with you. Stay tuned lovely people…

Bead acoustic rehearsal video

Recorded earlier this year in Troubadour Studios, Dublin. Myself and Tommy run through a few Bead originals. Click the image above for YouTube link.


Acoustic rehearsals