Greetings to my few subscribers after a 6 year rest! Rest assured a more colorful artistic endeavor is on the way – I am hoping to collaborate on literature and Music projects using my vocals for singing, spoken word as well as my songs and lyrics/ poems set to music by myself and primarily Esther Hopkins. (Hopkins is related to a member of the Dudley Moore Trio…Pete Morgan-I have to mention that as A Moore fan!)
Hopkins was taught by the incredible Nainita Desai at Goldsmiths.
The project will be launched later in 2021 post (Hopefully) the Pandemic. Please do spread the word that I will be un – retiring this blog! Less for literature or hobbies…more for MUSIC! BOTH MINE AND OTHERS!
My last gigs pre COVID were Hugh Cornwell of the Stranglers who i briefly met along with Lightening Seeds at Watchet Music Fest and Hawkwind Live at the Royal Albert hall where i briefly said Hi and a forgettable bye in passing to the Mighty Boosh’s Noel Fielding who was chatting to a boozed up Hawkwind fan, Fielding looked stoned as was I as he attempted a comical getaway from the star struck drunk.
In recent times when the late great KEN RUSSELL’s widow commended my efforts to get the 1970’s biopic of the romantic poets released (which is still unreleased because of an odd copyright ban – My writing on the film was featured in the Coleridge Society journal – the friends bulletin”) It felt like a sign . Not least because of Kens amazing music movies on Elgar and The Who- Tommy. TOMMY (Which was on TV as i lay near death in hospital after i suffered my heart attack and seemed apt) remains my fave rock opera and inspired by it I am. Ken had set his film many years ago in Alfoxden House in Somerset- a fave haunt of mine – which faced complete ruin. My little film i wrote and presented on the house had seen me previously work with RICHARD HILL (Who studied under George Solti and Leonard Bernstien) who allowed me to use his BEN KINGSLEY narrated music IMAGES OF KUBLA KHAN in my campaign movie to save poet COLERIDGE’S Alfoxton house in Somerset from ruin.
As you can see from my acting and music links to my singing – i love my music (https://www.starnow.co.uk/benmanning). As a music journalist in Bournemouth in the 1990s i met endless famous bands – Ocean Colour Scene, Ride, Blur and as a local journalist I interviewed Paul Weller Collaborator Carleen Anderson and bands like Yes and Blur.
As a child i was in school bands performing arts courses and as a small child i was in a Siouxsie and the Banchees video via carona stage school.
My performing arts degree led to a place at Bournemouth Arts university – the top arts school in Europe. Whilst there I managed and even did a bit of backing vocals in studio and percussion for Giles Gooden and his band Alfie who had been featured in a national Ad campaign so i had a short stint at managing with mixed results. Though when I met Paul Weller briefly in a pub in Goodge st around the corner from where he was recording, he was very encouraging as I nervously asked for an autograph… I then did a global entertainment music industry course On the HMS President meeting and volunteering for E.D Berman’s charity based on board. Ed’s major theatre charity was formed with Sir Tom Stoppard in the 1970’s to help poor kids embrace the Arts. On the course i met James Wilkinson of the BETA BAND who played Trumpet for them. He and the band played Live at Glastonbury 2000 and we shared a flat and planned musical world domination. They played just before David Bowie on the other main stage . It was through him I met Esther Hopkins Who studied at royal college of music with the grand daughter of Olivier Messaen and pianist Graeme Thewlis with whom she collaborates (Pet Shop Boys).
As a music mad young man i met Paul Weller and Neil Innes many times (I was featured at Glasto fest 94 at a weller gig on the cover of the Times!) salvaging signed set lists and drumsticks as well as sharing a beer with many a legend! I discovered music via opera and motown at the age of 3 with a record player. sadly my dyslexia and various health issues held me back from music but i hope to express myself
I performed at Beautiful Days Music and Poetry festival in Devon sharing the stage with major bands. My singing is available on soundcloud.