News Archive 2005
> News Archive - 2005
22nd December 2005
Guestbook Changes: I
have updated the software that runs the guestbook, which caused me a
few problems initially. You may have noticed that the guestbook was
unavailable for a few days as a result. The notes said that all the
previous settings would be retained. This was not quite true and the
version I had been using was a lot older than the new version was expecting
(if it ain't broke ...).
Leaving messages within guestbooks is a good way for web
designers to cheat when trying to improve their web site's ranking within
search engines like Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc. As a result this I have
introduced some changes to the guestbook, which I hope will note spoil
genuine visitors enjoyment. Changes made include users entering a code
given when leaving a message - this is to prevent message programs automatically
leaving messages. I have also blocked the ability for web addresses
(or URL's) to be put into the message - another ploy by those wanting
to increase their search ranking.
On a positive note, the guestbook now has access to smileys.
There are a whole range of images to choose from. Who will be the first
to leave a message using them?
I will review how these changes are working at the beginning
of April 2006. In the meantime, if they cause YOU a problem please let
me know by sending me an e-mail using the button on the navigation section
on the left.
Merry Christmas and a Happy
New Year: It is that time of year again when the British drink
more than normal and say thinks like "you're my best mate"
in a drunken slur. They also say "never again" only to starting
drinking again within two weeks, join health clubs (attending just the
once), etc. If you are also celebrating leave the car keys at home.
To everyone, take care. See you all again soon.
29th November 2005
New Article: I have
written an article, called "Spence Music and Beyond", on how
this web site got created. I actually wrote it a few months back but
have held off "publishing" it. I hope you enjoy it and find
it interesting. It may even inspire you to create your own site! Go
Music and Beyond"
30th October 2005
Tribute to a Friend: In
an item unrelated to Spence Music, I learned this morning that my good
friend and neighbour, Francesca Gray, died from heart failure yesterday
afternoon. This was the result of a complication of the bone cancer
she was diagnosed with three years ago. During the brief time Sue and
I knew Fran she was supportive, a good listener and always gave timely
advice when needed. At the age of 49 she was not old but leaves behind
her mother (Mary), sister (Susie), daughter (Ciara), grand-son (Alex)
and her three cats (Willow, Holly and Ellie). My deepest sympathies
go to her family, her many friends and to those bloody cats! We will
miss you, Granny Franny.
18th October 2005 Updated
Spam Scam and Virus Attachments: Within
a few hours of my last update I started receiving bogus emails sent
to my SpenceMusic and my personal domains with a zip file attached.
If you have subscribed to the SpenceMusic newsletter you may also have
received a few of them. As a result of this
I took action to prevent anymore bogus emails being sent to the newsletter
group and also issued a warning to the newsletter group advising recipients
- these bogus emails do not come from me - as I always
use my name
- do NOT to open the zip file attached
As a subscriber to the newsletter group these bogus emails
should now have stopped. However, my mailbox is still being attacked
as I am still receiving emails, some of these contain a virus, every
5 minutes. As of writing this I have received in excess of 120 bogus
Spam emails with a 24 hour period. Fortunately my anti-viral software
is handling this.
For more information about this click on the following
link. Spam Scam
18th October 2005
RockZone: I received
an e-mail from DJAOR, a Brian Spence fan from Portugal (Brian has loads
of fans there) telling me about a compilation record with a Brian Spence
tracks on that I was unaware about - "2001 - A
Catedral do Rock". This has now been added to the compilation
to the Compilation page.
However, what is more exciting is that DJAOR works for
a Portuguese Radio Station, that plays AOR (adult-orientated rock) music
such as Brian Spence. He had asked Brian if he would provide a station
id for them and Brian was happy to help. DJAOR being a great guy has
given us a copy of the two station ids that Brian did. These can be
found on the Downloads page. Go
to RockZone Station IDs
25th September 2005
Another Survey: Following
hard on the heals of the last survey (see 15th September) I am starting
a new survey of Brian Spence fans, and with it a new survey page. The
new survey asks "What is your favourite Brian Spence single?"
We all have our favourites, mine often change with my moods and other
I have also created a survey page, where all the surveys
will be found. The link in the navigation bar now points to this page.
If you want to go straight there to register a vote just click here.
Go to Survey Page.
15th September 2005
Baggins Reunited: During
a recent visit back to his old home city of Edinburgh, in Scotland,
Brian met up with some old friends of his. It has been a long, long
time since he has seen his old band mates Dev, Fid and Colin from Bilbo
On the right with Brian is Jimmy Devlin (bass player
and once time head honcho for Polydor Records and now boss at River
Records). In the other picture (below), Brian
can be seen with Colin Chisholm (left) and Gordon (Fid) Liddle (middle).
Fid became a sheriff (a judge in Scottish ) after the members of Bilbo
went their separate ways. Colin
uses his media experience for Men In Childcare, helping to bring men
into the childcare environment and to promote men as positive role models
In both pictures everyone looks happy and comfortable. Hopefully
these meetings will lead to reunion and a gig by Bilbo Baggins. I for
one would look forward to that and I would be willing to travel the
length of Britain to see any gigs (good, bad or indifferent) that they
did. Where was Gordon McIntosh in these pictures? Like Brian, Tosh now
lives in London. I understand that Brian and him are still in contact,
so a potential reunion of the former group is not totally out of the
New Survey: The above news
brings up an interesting question for Brian Spence fans. Bilbo Baggins
(which included Brian Spence) have not played together for over 25 years.
Assuming money was not a problem, time off from work was agreed, baby-sitters
were sorted, etc. Would you go to a reunion gig of Bilbo Baggins? Vote
1st September 2005
Shop at Spence Music: Following
an e-mail from Paul of Bedfordshire, England, asking where he could
get a copy of The Wish's album "Postcards" I discovered that
Brian has a limited supply of them. After sending me a relatively small
amount of money Paul is now the proud owner of Postcards signed by Brian
After further discussions with Brian you too can now
buy a copy of Postcards through the Spence Music web site. Just click
on the "Shop"
link in the navigation section (or the link at the end of this section),
send me the right money and Brian will send you a copy too - although
there is no guarantee that yours will be signed (Technical Note: I do
forward the money onto Brian - I don't just trouser the cash).
17th August 2005
Ocean Deep: A few weeks
back Steve Khan asked if I could pass an e-mail onto Brian, which I
was happy to do. Steve worked with Brian on a (potential) single, called
"Ocean Deep", for Ray
Caruana. Steve also worked with Brian on the Fax-U single called
"I Who Have Nothing" featuring Debbie McKenna. I asked Steve
if he would write for the Spence Music website about how he started
working with Brian and Debbie and something about the music. He was
happy to do so (or so he told me) and the result is a fascinating article
which, I feel, includes a small insight into the real Brian Spence -
when I read about toasted cheese sandwiches I laughed. To read the piece
go to the Article section or click on the following link. Go
to Ocean Deep.
30th July 2005
Holiday: This is not an
update on where I have been on my annual break but about a DVD Brian
gave me a couple of weeks back. On the DVD was Whizz Kid and Debbie
(Whizz Kid and The Angel) performing Madonna's "Holiday".
The video was filmed in Brighton over Brian music with great rapping
from Whizz Kid, with Debbie doing the chorus and more familiar parts.
It was filmed by a cameraman friend of Brian's (unnamed) about four
years ago and it has taken this long to be edited together, by Brian,
due to other projects getting in the way. There is a great rapport between
the two and music is infectious. Brian is rightly proud of this production.
7th July 2005
Spence mp3 Chart:
Back in January I had fun reviewing the favourite Spence tracks based
on hits to the Spence Music mp3 download page. So much that I thought
I would do it again.
The following information is based on hits (see the note
below for a definition of a "hit") of the mp3 files over a
six month period - 1st January to 30th June 2004.
Hits Per Track Top 10 - The number of hits is shown in the
- Und W-w-w-wer Küßt Mich (1100) by Wolfgang
- I Will Call You Family (917) from Brothers
- Hear It From The Heart (525) from Brothers
- Back Door (327) from Brothers
- Will You Never Be My Friend (248) from Brothers
- America (208) by Bilbo
- She's Gonna Win (200) by Bilbo
- The Sha Na Na Na Song (193) by Bilbo Baggins
- Hibs Heroes (173) by Colin Chisholm
- Reputation (162) from Reputation
As I said back in January a "Hit" is when a file
is requested. That is to say "She's Gonna Win" by Bilbo was
requested 200 times within the six months of the analysis. It does not
mean that 200 different people have downloaded the file or that the
file has been downloaded 200 times, although the download has been started
200 times. I hope that is clear.
The album "Brothers" obvious did quiet well here,
but so did all of the tracks by Bilbo Baggins as 9 out of the next 10
tracks were by them.
By totaling up these hits for each track, grouping them
into the various sections of the download page, your "favourite
album" can be identified as follows:
Hits Per Album
Other artists was helped by a large number of hits for
Wolfgang Petry's "Und W-w-w-wer Küßt Mich", which
uses Bilbo Baggins' "She's Gonna Win" as the music.
- Brothers (2351)
- Bilbo Baggins (1809)
- Other Artists (1329)
- Reputation (284)
- Chisholm and Spence (132)
- Non-Album Tracks - includes the interviews (60)
One of my favourites, "Reputation" does
not do as well as I believe it should, but that is the nature of favourite
tracks. I also believe that some of Brian's best music has yet to appear
on an album, for instance "Get Up, Get Out", "When She
Runs" and "Travellin' Man" (the track as it was meant
to be heard, not any of the remixes) which is fantastic - IMHO. Why
not give it a go, I'll even place a link here to help you. Decent version
30th June 2005
Spence Adverts: I found
a couple of adverts for Brian's solo work in old issues of Sounds newspaper
recently. After scanning them I created a new page for them to be viewed
at. If you have any adverts for Brian, Bilbo, etc. please let me know,
I would love to show them here. Either click on the link on the navigation
bar or click here to view
4th June 2005
More Friends Reunited: After
the last update about two old friends of Brian's getting in touch with
him again, another old friend wanted to contact him. This time it was
Jimmy Devlin, who was a band member of Bilbo Baggins with Brian. After
Bilbo Baggins Dev went on to manage Simple Minds and then became Managing
Director of Polydor
18th May 2005
Friends Reunited: Spence
Music is rapidly becoming the web site though which old pals of Brian's
get in contact with him again. When I spoke to Brian recently he told
me of two past associates, Gordon
Liddle and Alan
Davison, who reunited with him after losing contact for 12 years
and 25 years, both in the same week. Fid and Alan found him through
Spence Music making this web sites Brian's personal Friends Reunited.
The Making of MacGregor's Trap:
got in contact to tell me about their review of the Edinburgh Festival
Fringe's MacGregor's Trap I told Brian about it. After only a few days
later I received an email from Dominic
Marshall who was the chap who had the pleasure of directing "The
Trap". I asked Dom to write about his involvement in this production,
which he was very happy to do. Not only did he write about the experience
but he also provided promotions photographs, taken by Brian's brother
The article is fantastically interesting piece, written
by someone who obviously has great affection for MacGregor's Trap and
Brian. It is also an exclusive to Spence Music (I think that is the
first time I have said that). The article can be found via the Articles
page or clicking on the following link. The
Making of The Trap.
1st May 2005
Kerrang! Review: I run this
web site called Spence Music, it's about Brian Spence, a musician. When
I write things here some bias creeps in, however, I try and keep it
to a minimum. I like Brian, his music, etc. I would not run this web
site if I didn't.
So when I recently received a review of Brian Spence's album
"Brothers" from a 1986 edition of Kerrang! magazine I was
looking forward to reading it. However, after reading it I thought "that's
just wrong!". I don't tend to get worried about reviews. Everyone
is entitled to their opinion, and some of the reviewers actually like
music. So I left it a few days (to calm down), reread it and I thought
"that's just wrong!".
The reviewer says that Brian "thinks" he could
be Brian Adams or Rick Springfield. I have heard this opinion before
- normally on eBay by people trying to sell Brian Spence CD's or vinyl
- however, I have never thought the comparison worked. I saw Mr. Adams
in concert, and bought his album too, soon after buying the "Brothers"
album came out. I didn't think Mr. Spence sounded like Mr. Adams (or
the other way around).
I bought another copy of "Brothers" for a friend
of mine, following a split from a girl friend. After a couple of weeks
he said to me "When you gave me this album I wondered why you bought
this for me. Now I have heard it I know why." My friend used to
read Kerrang!, and would have read the review. It had obviously coloured
his view of the album and so did not buy it for himself.
I never buy, or chose not to buy, on the basis of a single
review. The reviewer may be having a bad day, or they may have to meet
a quota (only allowed so many 5*'s reviews in an issue, so many 4*'s,
etc.). Listen to the music yourself and then make your own decision.
However, lack of consistency amongst reviews really does
get my goat - reviews that praise but give a low rating, along with
reviews that stink but give a good rating. This review fits into that
latter group. I recommend you play "Brothers", as you read
the review, and enjoy listening to a fantastic album.
All this angst from a review nearly 19 years old. Calm down,
it's only a review!
here to read the review.
19th April 2005
E-mail Hell: I have just
discovered that all e-mails sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
have been disappearing into a void. This means that if you have sent
me an e-mail, at this address, within the last year I have not received
it. I did not reply because I was been rude, only that I did not receive
it. I have now resolved the problem, so feel free to send me any comments,
feedback, etc. to this address. I WILL reply. Please accept my apologies
to anyone who has sent me e-mails but did not receive a response.
15th April 2005
MacGregor's Trap: Whilst
checking for spam messages in the Spence Music guestbook, I spotted
a very interesting, but brief, message from Sheila Kay Jack. It read
"Retrospective review of MacGregor's Trap now on www.one4review.com".
I did say it was brief. It was so brief that I nearly deleted it as
spam. I'm glad I waited, absorbed it and then went to the site to check
What they have on this web site is a review of MacGregor's
Trap, with pictures, of Brian Spence's musical based on Robert Louis
Stevenson's "Kidnapped" from August 1995. It featured Chesney
Hawkes, Brian and his friends. A link to the actual page is here http://www.one4review.com/non_fringe_05/macg_trap_.htm
[Page is no longer available so I have removed the link].
If you have any photographs of your own from the "MacGregor's
Trap" shows please let me know. I would love to see them. Also,
if contact me if you have any memories that you would be happy to share
In the mean time I have updated the MacGregor's Trap page
with the new information that I found at the One 4 Review site. Why
not visit the page clicking here. MacGregor's
If you have signed up to receive the Spence Music Newsletter
you already know about this news item. However, if you have not, shame
on you. You could have been aware of this item much earlier.
20th March 2005
More Guestbook: The extra
guestbook messages continue. Most of them are messages along the lines
of "Great site, I learned a lot" and then have a link to a
web site selling prescription drugs, very cheaper software, American
Mortgages, body piercing, cigarettes, etc. all using a false e-mail
address. To give you an indication of the problem, the Spence Music
Guestbook has about 25 genuine messages at the present time and I have
deleted another 30 spam messages. There are a number of persistent offenders
and I will be using a method to block them in future. I want to avoid,
if I can, having to approve messages before they actually appear in
the Guestbook as I do not want to deter real fans of Brian.
The SpenceMusic Guestbook uses a method of "munging"
the e-mail address, which stops programs from reading the address and
using genuine e-mail addresses for spam. So my e-mail address, normally
email@example.com, appears as mark~AT~SpenceMusic~DOT~co~DOT~uk.
Therefore, genuine messages are welcome and protected against their
address being automatically read for spam.
What's That Song? I rarely
recommend websites, so it quite unusual that I am recommending one here
and now. I came across this website a couple of months back and I thought
it was good. I have just returned to it after a break and I still think
it is good. The web site is called "What's That Song?" and
can be found at the following link. For those of you that think you
know music try this web site. It's a music quiz site, just enter in
an artist and it will play ten tracks by that artist. All you have to
do is identify the track from a choice of four given. The only downside
is that Brian Spence and Bilbo Baggins are not in the database (yes,
I have tried) which uses Amazon.com samples.
Link does not appear to still be active - Mark
2nd March 2005
Slow off the Mark: I have
only just discovered that the track performed by Bilbo Baggins "Hold
Me" was not an original track. Being slightly slow off the bat
I now realise that this track was actually written in 1933 (that right,
nineteen thirty three) by Jack Little, Dave Oppenheim and Ira Schuster.
The track, which Bilbo released as a single in 1975 and performed on
Shang-a-Lang, the showcase for The Bay City Rollers, has also been released
as a single by Eddy Duchin & His Orchestra (1933) selling 250,000
copies and Ted Fio Rito (1933), Peggy Lee (1948), Eddy Arnold (1961),
Brenda Lee (1962), The Baskerville Hounds (1969), The Rubinoos (1979),
B. A. Robertson and Maggie Bell (1981), Charlie Sexton (1985) and trouser-splitting
P.J. Proby in 1964.
All this shows that the track was not as original as I first
thought. Slow or what?
As a result of this research lyrics have now been added
for three Bilbo Baggins tracks, Back
Sha-Na-Na-Na Song and Hold
Guest Book: You may have
noticed that I occasionally deleted messages from the Guest Book. I
have only one rule about the Guest Book, messages must be relevant to
Brian Spence, the Spence Music web site or music in general. Any messages
that suggest that they can sell codeine (or other non-music items) cheaper
than elsewhere, or recommend a great porn site, etc. will be deleted.
In addition, anyone who leaves two or more messages with two or more
different (commercial) website links will also be removed.
I have taken this step only to make the messages relevant.
I know Brian often gets e-mails about penis enlargements (he tells me
that he does not need help in this area) but that does not make it relevant.
In addition, the more links a web site has (including those in Guest
Books) the higher it's ranking with search engines. This is not because
I am being nasty to those who leave the messages I just think that their
sole purpose is to increase the sales of products I do not endorse.
16th February 2005
Start off with an apology. It has been a month since my
last update. No specific reason why, just so.
Birthday Greetings: During
the last month Brian has had another birthday (another?) on 7th February.
He is now 52 years old, but still going strong.
New Music: I
was fortunate enough to be at Brian's studio the other day when he was
engineering a track he had written with Danny (sorry, I don't know his
surname). Danny was also the singer on it and the two are hoping to
be able to sell the track to another singer. If no one picks up on it
then they are the loser for it because, to my ears, it sounded fantastic.
The photograph to the left is a picture of Brian with Danny,
taken by Debbie and kindly given to me by her. It captures a relaxing
moment the had between times in the studio.
Album Survey: The survey
to find your favourite Brian Spence album has been running for one month.
The chart to the right shows the position as I write this (after 18 votes).
The album "Brothers" has only recently gone into the lead after
being neck and neck with "Postcards", the album by The Wish.
I have been pleasantly surprised how many of you have voted
for "Postcards" and "Chisholm and Spence". For some
reason I thought that these albums may have escaped your notice. I'm
just happy that I am wrong.
17th January 2005
Only Music: A new interesting
article from 1987, published in America on OM - Only Music magazine
can be found on the articles page. The article interviews Brian prior
to a USA tour with Nik Kershaw and discusses Brian's freedom with Polydor
and his image. Go
What Is Your Most Popular Track
and Album? As you many of you may have noticed, there is a survey
in the navigation section asking "What
is your favourite Brian Spence album?"
However, I thought it would also be interesting to see what
is your favourite track based on hits on the Download page. The following
information is based on hits (see the note below for a definition of
a "hit") of the mp3 files over a six month period - 1st July
to 31st December 2004.
Hits Per Track Top 10 - The number of hits is shown in the
- Heart It From The Heart (247) from Brothers
- Will You Never Be My Friend (195) from Brothers
- Making Up For Lost Time (181) from Brothers
- Und W-w-w-wer Küßt Mich (167) Wolfgang Petry
from Other Artists
- She's Gonna Win (149) from Bilbo
- I Will Call You Family (102) from Brothers
- Reputation (87) from Reputation
- Wondering How To Cry (83) from Brothers
- Reputation - Extended Version (80) from Non-Album Tracks
- Hear It From The Heart - Extended Version (78) from Non-Album
Definition of a "Hit" is when a file is requested.
That is to say "She's Gonna Win" by Bilbo was requested 149
times within the six months of the analysis. It does not mean that 149
different people have downloaded the file or that the file has been
downloaded 149 times, although the download has been started 149 times.
I hope that is clear.
By totaling up these hits for each track, grouping them
into the various sections of the download page, your "favourite
album" can be identified as follows:
Hits Per Album
- Brothers (1033)
- Other Artists (288)
- Non-Album Tracks (267)
- Bilbo Baggins (246)
- Reputation (168)
- Chisholm and Spence (85)
Obviously, this does not mean that the results of the favourite
album survey are a foregone conclusion. The results of the favourite
album survey will differ from the above as "Postcards" by
The Wish is included. As you know there are no downloads from this album
on the Spence Music web site as it is still readily available from The
Wish's own web site (http://www.the-wish.com/), even though the group
no longer officially exists. In addition, non-album tracks and single-only
tracks have been excluded as the survey is to find your favourite album.
Perhaps your favourite track could be the subject of a future survey.
Overall I was surprised that Reputation (both album and
track) comes so low in the download chart. It is a great album, as good
as Brothers, and yet different. Perhaps the album survey will change
the above standings.
Whilst I'm on the topic of tracks, I would like to thank
Kay of KasaMedia (who runs the German version of this site
http://www.brian-spence.de.vu/) for sending me the Wolfgang Petry
track, and Naoki Sawada (who runs a Japanese tribute to Brian at http://www.interq.or.jp/www1/onj1/br.htm)
for providing the extended versions of "Reputation" and "Hear
It From The Heart". Thanks guys.
1st January 2005
Happy New Year to everyone. I hope things went well for you
over the last few days and that you and your family and friends are safe
after the terrible things that have happen in and around the Indian Ocean.
New Look: As you can see
I have made some changes to the look of Spence Music. These are all
minor changes in the scheme of things, but my attempt to try and keep
thing fresh. The image of Brian and Debbie is their current joint publicity
shot and although many of you think of Brian as a solo artist, today
Brian and Debbie are inseparable. In addition, I have created a a survey
to find out what is your favourite Brian Spence album. The link to the
survey is near the bottom of the navigation links on the left. You only
get one vote, so make it count.
Where's The News?: Every
year I clear down this home page, which holds the news for the current
year, and move it to a page of it's own. If you want to read the news
for previous years just look of the appropriate section on the navigation
section on the left.
New Article: As
promised previously I have uploaded a review of Brian playing live from
a 1988 edition of Kerrang! music magazine. The article criticises Brian's
dress sense (so what is new?) but not the music. Read
Looking for more news? Wondering where the old news
has gone? Why not visit the news archive for more news, but older?