I 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.

Here 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 single-sex subject.

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 classical music.

I was taught to score read music for an orchestra, taught using Mozart's 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.

The second composition homework was set to write a new tune for a hymn. I chose Songs Of Praise The Angels Sang:

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 Penzance.

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 Sullivan.

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 Messiah.

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 record player.

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.

We 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.
When 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 !

Leon 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.

This 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 story.

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 answer.

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 !

David Ashford & Joshua Morgan 2019

www.geriatricdj.com www.eternalteenager.online