BIOGRAPHY – John Martyn

A BIOGRAPHY of folk star John Martyn, seven years in the making, has just been published. The author, Lee Barry, contacted me about the book after he saw a photo I had taken of Martyn and asked if he could use it. The image from the singer-songwriter s g

A BIOGRAPHY of folk star John Martyn, seven years in the making, has just been published.

The author, Lee Barry, contacted me about the book after he saw a photo I had taken of Martyn and asked if he could use it. The image from the singer-songwriter's gig at the Cambridge Corn Exchange in May 2005 was used on the front cover of the book, Grace & Danger.

Interested by the process of writing a music biography I asked the author how he had come to be so in love with Martyn's music.

He said: "My first introduction to John's music was in my teens when I caught a live performance late one evening on TV. I was intrigued by the sound he created with his guitar. It was mesmerising and I had no idea who this guy was until I bought the Radio Times the following day to check the TV listings.

"Within a short space of time I had acquired his albums Solid Air, One World and Sunday's Child. I knew this music was for me."

To date he has seen Martyn play live more than 20 times and had a brief, although not altogether pleasant, encounter with the star.

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"I had the misfortune of meeting John backstage at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire, during the Glasgow Walker tour. Impatient to be kept waiting by Martyn's then manager, Joe Hennessy, I made my way towards Martyn to introduce myself.

"As I approached, Martyn looked right into my eyes and mumbled incoherently, which I took as some humorous comment, and proceeded to shake his hand enthusiastically. Martyn recoiled in terror, as not being a multi-linguist, I failed to understand he was telling me not to shake his hand as he was suffering from a dislocated shoulder.

"Subsequently, all future attempts to allow Martyn some input into the biography were ignored and our paths never crossed again."

The book will soon be in high street bookshops and can currently be found at www.lulu.com. However, Almost Famous has one copy - signed by the author - to be won. To be in with a chance of winning e-mail the answer to the following simple question to chris@boland1.plus.com

Question: Name the local venue at which the cover photograph was taken.

CHRIS BOLAND

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