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Matt Kent Photography


writing

SCRAWL 

Ok, I'm going to be a trend bucker. It seems that everyone and their dog these days wants to tell you about their lives, what sort of day they've had, what they had for breakfast, what book they're reading or what DVD they've just watched, all in the form of a blog. Sorry, but to me that's BORING...and of course slightly misguided by the individual in thinking that anyone's actually bothered. So, with that in mind, rest assured that this area won't be telling you anything about my dinner last night, hob nobbing or anything like that. It's just simply going to be about stuff I've written and hope to write and based around the photos I'm taking. No doubt the odd rant against authority will creep in somewhere too.

For years now I've written countless first chapters of novels - I was outdoing Guy Richie in the cockernee lads tales when he was still in posh school - comedy scripts (yes, I do have a sense of humour) and even satirical comics (contributing to the Bunco and IOFC for years - wish I still had copies) but it never got very far. The first real written work I managed to get out was Naked Eye, the Who fanzine that I produced from early 1996. The magazine was born from the Who Convention I had helped organise the previous September, along with Andy Neill, Mark Donovan, Peter Norris, Paul Southeran and Keith Badman. We managed to pull off a bit of a coup by persuading Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle to play a two hour set with a band that was to include future Who members Zak Starkey and Simon Townshend. A coup indeed. The timing was perfect, with Britpop gaining speed - in the audience was Noel Gallagher, Elastica, Someone from Blur and many other up and coming musos - and it was right to pay tribute to the band that many cited as the godfathers of that movement. The show was a massive success and building on that momentum myself and Mark decided to approach the Who's management about starting a fan club and were surprised when they instantly agreed.

The first issue of Naked Eye was set for publication in Jan 1996, in time for the opening of Tommy - The Musical in London's West End and.....and...we'd managed to secure an interview with Pete Townshend. I remember arriving at the rehearsal rooms in North Acton with trepidation. I had met Pete a few times before, notably at the Tommy movie premiere in London and at the Who's Who exhibition opening day, which was also to be the only time I'd get to meet Keith Moon, who sadly died the following month. They were just nervous 'hello Pete' things though, this was an INTERVIEW! I was told that Pete had fitted the interview in during lunch so wasn't expecting much but got, in the end around 2 hours. I think it was the longest interview Pete had given in about 15 years and he was very gracious and helpful. The magazine was launched and received the Record Collector fanzine of the month (an accolade it regularly won). I tried to put out four issues a year but with few other contributors, it was difficult to keep that going and, all in all, a dozen issues were published (although I still have the unissued number 13 sitting on my computer).

The writing was pretty poor to be honest and hopefully (fingers crossed) that's something I've improved upon. But it didn't seem to matter then. I approached it with a very punk attitude and really didn't care too much about the literary aspects. The object was getting news out about the band and to help in whatever small way I could in getting them recognition and, hopefully, in my naive little mind, back together. In the meantime Andy Neill and I talked about writing a definitive Who book. We felt that although many books on the band had been published they all lacked something. We approached the Who's manager Bill Curbishley in 1997 with the idea and, after consulting the band members, he agreed that it was a good idea and one he looked forward to seeing come to fruition. We did too but at times it seemed that it never would. After initial talks with UK publishers, which came to nought, we just ploughed on and basically finished the book without having a publisher on board. A fortuitous lunch meeting between Tony Fletcher (who had just seen his 'Dear Boy' book on Keith Moon published) and Barnes and Noble's CEO Steve Riggio solved our problem. Steve, a huge Who fan, expressed to Tony how he wanted to publish a definitive Who book, and Tony, knowing ours was there, ready and waiting, put our names forward. The rest is history. The book 'Anyway Anyhow Anywhere - The Complete Chronicle of The Who 1958 - 1978' was released in the US on June 26 2002. It was supposed to tie in with the start of the band's North American tour but, as many of you will know, came on the eve of John Entwistle's death in Los Vegas. I was close to John and he also contributed greatly to the book (as did Roger and Pete) and his death took away the gloss of having the book published. I wasn't able to do any press for the book because of that and Andy had to do all that from the UK. The book though was a great success, selling out its initial print run quite rapidly. Barnes and Noble did a fantastic job publishing the book and were very supportive of mine and Andy's very English (Andy won't forgive me for saying that as he's not from England!) whims. The book has been reprinted a number of times, including a Japanese language edition, the first on The Who in the Japanese language.

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The publishing of the book opened up doors for both of us and Andy ploughed on with the writing more than me. I dedicated most of my time to the day job and my writing concentrated mainly on the websites and record liner notes. On tour with the band I often provided diary notes (which, unfortunately I don't have copies of - do now thanks to Genevieve!). I just didn't seem to find the time to do much else, although there are even more notebooks full of unfinished first chapters, comedy shows and so forth lying around in filing cases. I've decided though the time is right to start putting pen to paper and am sketching out a book around my time as a backroom boy with the band and working with Pete. I'm hoping that something tangible will come of that in 2011. I've already had a few people sniffing around which is very promising. I'm also working on a big project for 2009 that I've already begun working on which is very exciting (and still working on in 2011!!!). Hopefully, there will be more news about that in the months to come. I'm also still trying (eternally trying) to write that killer comedy series, along with my friend Steve and brother Pat. But I always seem to find something else to do....sounds like writers block to me. However, November 2010 saw the publication of my second book on the band, The Who Revealed, which is published in the UK by Flame Tree publishing.

I've written or contributed to various magazine articles on the band for publications such as Classic Rock, Record Collector, Q, MOJO etc and I'll try and dig these out and put them on the site. I've also provided commentary for Ross Halfin's two great books of photos on the Who published by Genesis. I tend to forget a lot of what I've written (the same with the photographs that have been used in many magazines, but I can't always remember which ones!) but as I'm now going through a period of transition in my life I will sit back and try to find them all and will post them here in due course.