Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Phoenix Rises!

LHS UK lead volunteer Lydia Franklin's second book "Racing The Phoenix" is now available in both physical and kindle editions from Amazon.

The book covers the fundraising journey that Lydia undertook earlier this year cycling solo from North To South New Zealand and "it is also a story about Love Hope and Strength, the places it leads you and the people you meet along the way. Ultimately however, it is a story about life and how we must make the most of every opportunity we have."

Foreword by Jules Jones Peters.

Get your copy now HERE!

Thursday, 6 October 2016

James Stevenson confirmed for new charity book

James is the second Alarm band member to confirm they will be taking part in Tim Darvell's new charity book. James joins Smiley in the upcoming book that will raise money to combat bowel cancer (see previous post).

More news to follow!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

A life remembered and an ongoing mission.

Many of you will know Tim Darvell who has been raising funds to help combat bowel cancer through his "Lives & Times" charity book which featured all members of the original Alarm and was published last year.

Sadly Jennifer, Tims mother, who had been diagnosed with the disease in 2012, passed away peacefully in her sleep on August the 29th with her family by her side.

Tim has sworn to continue his fight and honour his mothers memory and has already started gathering the people that will feature in the next volume of his book series. The first Alarm connection to be announced is the inclusion of Smiley...whether any more Alarm members past or present will be featured you will have to keep an eye out for announcements from Tim.

Information and his previous books can be found at

Our thoughts are with Tim and his family at this time.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Moments In Time

Ian Wilson is currently writing a book about his time in the music industry and the early years of The Alarm. Mike & Eddie have already agreed to help and Ian is hopeful for the participation of both Dave and Nigel, so fingers crossed!

BUT......he needs YOUR help too!

He would love to hear from you if you saw the band between 1981-1983 especially if you caught any of the U2 "War" tour gigs in the US in '83. So if you have a story to tell, pictures to share or anything of interest please get in touch with Ian at the following email address :

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Smiley guests with Spiderfence!

We all know that Smiley shares his immense drumming skills with a wide range of bands and projects and sometimes it's hard to be able to get hold of some of these recordings as they are direct from the bands themselves etc. In April the 3 track self titled EP by Spiderfence hit the virtual shelves of Bandcamp and it features Smiley on 2 songs.

The other thing about Spiderfence that will mean a lot to many Alarm fans is it is the brainchild of Randy Kerkman (guitar & vocals) who many will know from attending the Gathering which is another good reason to support this project. Bass duties come from Scott Kerr from the punk ska band Five Iron Frenzy and Randy tags their style as alternative gothpop while also name checking the Psychedelic Furs. I can certainly hear those influences and more and would recommend you check it out for yourselves, it's a very good EP!

The whole 3 track EP is available to stream or to buy by clicking HERE for only $3, that's pretty good even in these post Brexit exchange rate days!

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Smalltown Glory Website Launches

Now the successful Pledge campaign is drawing to a close Smalltown Glory have launched their new website which contains info on the band, photos, videos, a blog and a web store. For those that missed the Pledge version of "The Tenement Commandments Vol. 1" EP it is available in the store alongside T-Shirts and a band print.

Check it out and add it to your favourites HERE! (or click on the link on the right side of this site!)

Monday, 29 February 2016

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Mike, Dave, Eddie, Twist & Smiley in charity book.

Eddie with his copy of "Lives & Times"
Alarm fan Tim Darvell has released "Lives & Times" a portrait photographic charity book raising money and awareness for Bowel Cancer charities, the reason this is of particular interest here is that it features Mike, Dave Sharp, Eddie MacDonald, Nigel "Twist" and Smiley. So over to Tim for a bit more info....

"I have been fundraising for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity since my Mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012. She had successful surgery to remove part of her bowel but over the last four years the cancer has spread. She has had three lung operations to remove cancerous nodules. Just before Christmas the cancer spread to her brain so she underwent "Cyberknife" treatment. We will know in a month or two how successful that has been. Next week she will have the fourth operation on her left lung when they will remove the lower lob as more nodules have appeared.

When I decided to start the book a couple of years ago I wondered if it would be possible to meet the members of my favourite band, The Alarm. The first member I approached was Eddie and he got things started with an immediate yes. He then arranged for me to meet him and Nige when Nige was over from the States at the end of 2014. I photographed Mike & Jules at The Scriptures recording sessions at Abbey Road. Jules was very helpful in making that happen. I had just about given up on getting Dave but right at the death he came through and I had a great meeting with him before his gig at Winchester last year. Smiley appears in two chapters as not only was he in the Mike Peters chapter but I also got to photograph From The Jam in Reading when he was drumming for them.

The book took me 18 months to complete and all the proceeds I receive from sales are donated to the charity. To date it has raised about £875. I have had some fantastic support from fellow Alarm fans buying the book. Bowel cancer is the second highest cancer killer in the UK."

You can choose your preferred format and order the book by clicking  HERE! 

Monday, 1 February 2016

RT-Zed site gets a face lift!

Steve Grantley's RT-Zed web site has had a rather nice face lift. Steve has also revealed that a follow up to "Zed Hed" is under way promising  "to take the electronica of "Return To Zero" and combine it with the more organic "Zed Hed" plus adding a Dub element..."

That's definitely going to be one to look out for and in the meantime make sure you check out the new site

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

One Challenge At A Time....New Zealand

In 2013 Lydia Franklin cycled 2400 miles along Route 66 from Chicago to L.A. raising money and awareness for Love Hope Strength as she went. She updated a blog along the way which was later used as the basis for her first book "Putting The Metal To The Pedal" which was an enlightening and empowering glimpse into what she went through on that gruelling journey.

Since that time Lydia has been planning her next challenge, again for LHS, and at the beginning of February she will be cycling the length of New Zealand (not known as being the flattest country in the world!) starting at Cape Reinga on the 1st and ending in Bluff hopefully on the 27th. As with her previous challenge there will also be an end of the road gig (see poster for details).

She will once again be documenting her trip on her One Challenge At A Time blog page which you can find HERE!

For Facebook click HERE!

You can also sponsor/donate etc at her Just Giving page which you can find HERE!

Share the info above with as many friends & family as you can take many shapes and I know Lydia will appreciate any messages she gets along the way!

Monday, 4 January 2016

Eddie Macdonald Interview "Smalltown Glory" Pledge launch.

Eddie Macdonald has been absent from music for a long time but that is about to change with the unvieling of his new band Smalltown Glory and an EP ready to launch via Pledge Music this month! So lets find out what's going on as I talk to Eddie himself ....

You’ve described Smalltown Glory as not a comeback but a rebirth, why have you chosen now to return to music?

After Mike left the band, it was a stressful period of change in my life and I had to make my own way and find a new direction. In my time away from the music world I still kept writing songs but only playing for close friends and family. I have to thank my wife Christina who encouraged me to move forward with this project. I had written 10 new songs in one go and she encouraged me to go into a studio and record them acoustically to see how they sounded, so I did just that.
Why record them acoustically? We always had a principle that served us well in the Alarm. If the song sounded good as an acoustic version, then the chances are the song was strong and would work, so we’d continue. Using that methodology, I used to work up the song and bring to Mike and then we work on it together. This is how the majority of songs were created. Funnily enough, I came across a box the other day with all the acoustic versions of early songs on cassette that later became Alarm classics and some of the titles were really out there…

“New band, new sound and new energy.”  I love this quote! How you would describe the band’s sound?

There is one thing for sure, you can’t beat performing in a band – I am so lucky to have friends like Paul and Charlie – they are such good and honest guys and keep me in check and down to earth with ideas. When I played the songs to Paul he gave them the thumbs up but there was still all lot of work to do and having known him for ages it occurred to me that we should work together, as I’ve never considered myself a singer. Paul has a great voice and having watched him live he always delivers. Both he and Charlie had played in a covers band but with original material they set themselves apart and showed their true potential. It sums up how I feel, whatever it is in life, health permitting, you’re never to old too try something new and give it your all.
Regarding the sound of the band, that has been dictated by the songs. I have always believed this is the right way to go and can’t see any reason to change.

Who would you say has influenced your direction for Smalltown Glory, have your influences changed much since you first started out?

The one addition was that of 12 string guitars, I’ve always been a fan of the Byrds, Beatles and The Smiths and it really suits our sound.

You have always had a “social justice” element to your lyrics, with everything that is going on in the world currently can we expect this heritage to continue?

That’s true, I now have the experience to write about subjects close to my heart – some writers travel and scan the world in search of beliefs and subjects to write about but personally we write about things that move us and things we experience, whether it be love, loss, dreams, aspirations – and subjects close to my heart like protecting our older generation.
The band features Paul Evans on guitar & vocals and Charlie Fowler on Bass, what can you tell us about them?

I have known these guys for years and actually put them together in a covers band – Charlie also played with me in Westway (Charity Clash Band), both being Clash fans growing up, that was like going back to school, great fun and we raised a few quid!
Paul is a talented songwriter in his own right and it will be really exciting watching him develop new material now we’re up and running. Paul is a massive Small Faces and Weller fanatic but also liked the Alarm, although he never admitted to owning any albums, I will keep digging on that one.

Nigel “Twist” features on the EP I believe, were you worried about asking him and indeed having a fellow Alarm member on board for a new project?

Twist is the nicest guy in the world and a kick-ass drummer plus he was into the songs, what is there not to like about our mini reunion?

Have you found a permanent drummer for STG now?

Not yet, I think the next record will dictate what drumming style we are looking for, always on a first record you are getting on your feet and feeling things out – Dan Buskell played a great part on drums as well and we mixed up a few takes to get the best out of performance.

Why have you chosen to play guitar rather than bass in Smalltown Glory?

It may not be common knowledge, but when I got together with Mike to form Seventeen I played guitar and he played bass, and when Dave joined it stayed the same. When we had done a few gigs it was suggested that Dave and I should toss a coin and decide who should take over bass to free Mike up to front the band. Believe me when I say this, thankfully I lost and Dave won the six-string prize. But, this time round you’ll have to fight me to relinquish the 1/12 strings.

Is there a set release date yet and are you planning anything special for the launch?

We launch today (January 5th 2016), via our PledgeMusic campaign and the EP will available to download from January 22nd 2016. There are lots of items that people can view and purchase and after two years from outset it’s finally here. I am proud to say we have made our own record, produced it ourselves, funded it and even launched our own record label to release it, Birth Records.

Have you any plans for live dates? 

There is talk of live dates in 2016, I’m not sure at the moment, don’t want to be presumptuous but hopefully as momentum grows there will be some demand for gigs and we can augment our line-up accordingly. We have Dave Blackman on keyboards and we’re looking to add more musicians as we expand.

What are your ambitions for Smalltown Glory?

To make and record and play gigs that I would be proud of, I have always had a fan’s viewpoint as the reason I always wanted to be in a band was cemented at the age of 12, when I ran away from home to follow Slade. That band changed my life, and when the Clash and the Jam came into my line of sight the future was written.