remember so well The Summer Of Love - 1967. I was not a
hippie myself and I was not in San Francisco. The picture on
the left showing me in Golden Gate Park was taken fifty-one
years later in 2018. As I posed for the picture I was the
only hippie in hippie park !
In the summer of 1967 I had just left school and was working
as a management trainee in a large Birmingham department
store. Management trainees were not
allowed to be hippies ! Haircuts had to be strictly for
business as you can see from the young version of Yours
Truly on the right ! Yes there were some fabulous
songs that summer and I remember them all so well.
I am again, aged here nine years and a pupil at Banners Gate
County Primary School in The Royal Borough of Sutton
Coldfield. No, I wasn't boring but school was. All of the
teachers had high level qualifications in being boring.
Probably the most boring of all teachers at Banners Gate
County Primary School was Mrs Edgerton who taught Music.
Taught is an exaggeration ! There was the weekly hymn
practice for assemblies but Music beyond that was only taut
to to the girls, we lads had to sit at the back of the class
and behave ourselves while the girls played the recorder and
were taught to read music.
I started a revolution which changed all that !
I persuaded my Nan to buy me a descant recorder. I taught
myself to play and to ad music, it was not difficult.
Having accomplished that I took my recorder into the music
class, plonked myself on the front row and demanded to be
included. The one hundred and sixty-seven year old Mrs
Edgerton was no match for nine year old Dave Ashford. Other
boys said I was a cissy but one by one they joined me a
Music at Banners Gate County Primary School was no longer a
This story and other schoolboy adventures be read in my
schoolboy autobiography, Things Were Different In My Day.
Things were different at secondary school, mine was an all
boys school so there were no girls in music classes at
Boldmere High School for Boys. Music as central to school
life and I loved it. It was at Boldmere I came to love
I was taught to score read music for an orchestra, taught
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - A Little Night Music
or as we lads called it A Little Bit Of NUT Music.
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik was an easy way to
learn, it is a string:
First and Second Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass. Having
learned to master the technique we were then taught the full
orchestra using Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.
We were also set the task of composing music
ourselves. We were given a piece of homework to
write music for a single verse of a song. I could
not do this no matter how I tried. I cheated, my
granddad did it for me ! I nearly died when my
granddad's song was picked out as the best homework
submission and played to the entire class.
second composition homework was set to write a new
tune for a hymn. I chose Songs Of Praise The Angels
Songs of praise the angels sang,
Heaven with alleluias rang
When creation was begun,
When God spoke and it was done.
Again my composition was picked out as the best piece of
homework and was given to the Headmaster. It was a mixture
of embarrassment and pride when he announced to the entire
school in assembly: "We shall now sing hymn number whatever
it was to the tune Ashford !"
This was at the time when The Beatles were taking the music
world by storm. It was the girls who screamed with
Beatlemania, ours was an all boys school and boys did not
sort of thing. Teachers would constantly tell us that Paul
McCartney had sat his GCE A Levels before becoming a pop
star, we should concentrate on our studies. As a teenager
classical music, rather than pop music, was my thing.
I learned to play the trumpet,
again I was self-taught. I loved playing The Trumpet
Voluntary, it's a grand piece of music but the
fingering on the trumpet is so easy. Here's Andre
Reiu's Orchestra playing The Trumpet Voluntary
composed by Jeremiah Clark.
After taking my GCE O Level in
Music I left school to become a management trainee
at Lewis's Department Store in Birmingham. Leaving
school I discovered two things: girls and pop music
in that 1967 Summer of Love.
My career as a retail magnate was
short-lived. After two years, aged only 18, I left
to become an unqualified teacher in a boys
preparatory school. I was in charge of PE and games.
When the headmaster learned of my love for music he
put me in charge of teaching the entire school to
play the recorder. I was then, aged 19, given
overall responsibility for teaching music.
With the boys at Chetwynd House Preparatory School I
discovered and fell in love with Gilbert and Sullivan.
Actually that is not quite true. At school the deputy
headmaster, Mr D C Wilde - Wilde by name and wild by nature
- took the O Level music class to watch him conduct The
Solihull Gilbert and Sullivan Society perform Pirates of
It was not Pirates of Penzance I
filled my music classes at Chetwynd House with but
The Mikado. I took the boys to watch a performance
of Gilbert and Sullivan's most popular opera.
Opera ? Classical music
scholars - snobs - will tell you that Gilbert and
Sullivan is not true opera but comic opera or
operetta. I told thge boys at Chetwynd House it as
GIGGLE Opera as it was so funny.
To this day I love Gilbert and
My Great Uncle George was a
highly successful businessman. His wife, my Great
Aunt Alice, did all the social things wealthy
middleclass ladies did instead of going out to work.
One of the things she did was to sing in the
Birmingham Choral Society. Uncle George me to watch
her sing in Birmingham Town Hall performing Handel's
I can still picture Aunt Alice in her white evening gown
singing The Hallelujah Chorus.
The following week I purchased
the LP of Handel's Messiah, got a copy of the score
from Birmingham Library and conducted it on my
In 1971 I moved to the New City
of Milton Keynes to attend teacher training
college. Newly qualified I spent four terms in a
middle school before joining Leon Secondary School.
I was in the right place at the right time to be
given a giant promotion to Head of Year.
The headmaster, DE B Bradshaw
every Tuesday evening ran the lower school disco. He
hired a local disco but decided it would be a good
thing to buy the equipment and run it all ourselves.
There could also be a lunchtime disco to keep the
kids out of trouble in the playground. By the way Mr
Ashford you will be in charge of all this.
So Leon Disco was born.
became famous for our 24 hour disco marathons. The first was
a sponsored event to support a brand new charity opening in
Milton Keynes - Willen Hospice.
Yes, Leon Disco is part of Milton Keynes history.
Fast forward quite a few decades...
Anyone who has ever been in my car will know they have to
move all the CD's before they can sit down.
My daughter Rebekah would say: "I don't mind if you play
your music Dad." Mind or not I would play it.
I once had the boss of Ronald McDonald in the car. A clever
man he had done his research before meeting me. Getting into
my car he said: "It's true what they say, you do love music
I drifted into becoming Audience Development Manager for a
community radio station but it just was not my style so I
resigned after only three months.
I then had an idea to start my own radio station
broadcasting into social media. It could have worked but
that was not Destiny's plan. In January 2017 I had a chance
encounter with a young man, Joshua Morgan. A friendship grew
between himself and his partner and I. I thought that Josh
had a similarity of face with Marty Wilde.
Josh told me how old he was I could not believe him
and christened him The Eternal Teenager. Watch Josh
singing his theme song -Teenager In Love !
Disco had given me my own theme song - The Oldest
Swinger In Town !
Josh and his partner, Jelena - Mrs Josh, worked
with me in more community music events than I can
remember. Take a look at our galleries pages:
I joined Radio CRMK and ended up
presenting five early morning shows. On
Christmas Day morning Josh and Mrs Josh joined me in
the studio to co-present the show.
Josh dabbled with co-presenting
shows on the station but now he and I are jointly
bringing our international audience a five hour
weekly show - START THE WEEK.
Yes, I love classical music and
will be slipping a classical music interlude into
the show each week. I am a great fan of retro pop
and have introduced my friend to music of quality.
is favourite - Like I Do sung by Maureen Evans. That
comes from 1962 when I was 11 years old and Josh was
MINUS thirty-nine years old !
So there you go, that's me - Dave
Ashford aka The Geriatric DJ - my musical life
I wonder if any of you are asking
yourselves what is my favourite piece of music.
Those who know me do not need to wonder, you know
The greatest piece of music ever written is Bridge Over
Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel. Sorry Mr Mozart,
sorry Mr Beethoven, you did write some great music but
nothing comes close to Bridge Over Troubled Water. Take away
the music and you a left with a powerful poem. Divorce the
words from the music and you are left with a haunting
melody. Watch out Josh, I will be playing this a lot on our
radio show !