Song Man: To hear Ask Me No Questions / Bad Part Of Town, the single recorded for Song Man, go to myspace.com/thedoublefantasy
Will Hodgkinson learned to play guitar at the not so tender age of 34. Now, bolstered by the truism that with three chords you can write a song, he sets out to do just that, aiming to present his creation to the world by cutting a 45rpm single at London's famed Toe Rag Studios.
Armed with a singing voice that makes children cry and a sense of melody that could best be described as challenging, Will takes off on his songwriting journey. He receives lessons and advice from, among others, Keith Richards, Ray Davies, English folk queen Shirley Collins and a brilliant recluse called Lawrence. Then, on a mission to find a song from his wife to sing, he travels to New York to meet the hippy-era singer Bridget St John. In search of further inspiration Will decides to travel to the mysterious Scottish island of Eigg with his reluctant songwriting partner Doyle — but what will Liam Watson, Toe Rag's fearsome producer, make of the pair's efforts?
Taking in the history of modern song from The Carmina Burana to modern pop, Song Man gets to the heart of why three minutes of music can always encapsulate what it means to be alive.
Guitar Man: An amateur guitar fanatic's journey of discovery
A brilliantly funny and illuminating story of a grown man coming to grips with the guitar. The guitar, after a dip in popularity during the 80s, is now once again the instrument of choice for modern popular music. It is portable, it has history, it will always be hip…
Why has this instrument become such a household classic? Will Hodgkinson, a nascent guitar player, with only an afternoon's experience bashing on a friend's guitar at the age of 16, set out to find out. Along the way he hoped to teach himself a few chords too. At the end of his odyssey he decided that he would test his newfound knowledge by playing before a live audience.
On his trip he chats to Bert Jansch, who patiently explains to him how to play the folk classic ‘Anji’, British guitar hero Johnny Marr and reclusive folk guitar legend Davey Graham. He travels to America and with a hurricane brewing he visits Roger McGuinn from the Byrds in his suburban home in Orlando, in the spirit of Robert Johnson he travels to the Deep South and drops in on T Model Ford, an old bluesman living in Mississippi, and meets Les Paul after a deeply disappointing gig in New York.
With a dawning realisation that his own talents may be severely limited, his fellow band-members reluctant to practice, and his wife and children increasingly bored by his new obsession, Will wonders whether the gig that he has planned, in front of 200 of his friends and colleagues, not to mention paying members of the public, may all have been a terrible mistake.
Gloriously readable, highly amusing, hugely informative and always entertaining, Will Hodgkinson gets to the root of modern music’s and his own obsession with the guitar.
Will Hodgkinson was born in Newcastle and now lives in London with his wife and two children. He has written for The Guardian, Mojo, Vogue, The Daily Telegraph, The Idler and Wallpaper and has made a documentary for BBC Radio 3 on Brazil's 60s pop revolution. Guitar Man, his first book, is published by Bloomsbury in March 2006.
- Status: Married
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- Height: 0' 1"
- Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
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- Smoke / Drink: No / Yes
- Occupation: Journalist