Porchester Press is pleased to have been commissioned to publish a heritage booklet on behalf of a Nottingham campaign group.
The Bendigo Memorial Fund aims to educate the public on the
life and achievements of William Thompson (aka Bendigo), leading to erecting a new
statue to him in Trinity Square Nottingham. The project seeks to advance the
culture, heritage and social history of his legacy.
William ‘Bendigo’ Thompson was born in Nottingham in 1811, when
Nottingham was one of the most densely populated areas in the British Empire.
The slums were rife with pestilence and disease, and life expectancy was 22,
less than half the national average. One government official even labelled
Nottingham as the ‘Worst town in England’. The people of Bendigo’s childhood home
were said to ‘be the poorest of all Queen Victoria’s children’.
Despite being illiterate and poor, Bendigo’s physique and
agility as a prize-fighter brought him success. His outspoken character and
record in the ring attracted a massive fan base, including Sir Arthur Conan
Doyle, who wrote a verse to the fighter. He went on to become the undefeated
Champion of England and is credited with introducing the ‘southpaw’ boxing
stance. Bendigo was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in
You didn’t know of Bendigo? Well that knocks me out! Who’s your board schoolteacher? What’s he been about? Chock-a-block with fairy tales, full of useless cram, And never heard of Bendigo, The Pride of Nottingham!Taken from Bendigo’s Sermon by Arthur Conan Doyle in 1909
The booklet’s title ‘Ten Bells For Bendigo’ is taken from
the tradition of the Ten-Bell Salute, given to honour a boxer or wrestler who has
died. It contains 28 pages of interesting facts, quotes and photographs.
Ten Bells For Bendigo is priced at £4.50 plus £1 postage. Proceeds from the sale of this booklet will go to the Bendigo Memorial Fund.
Written by an accomplished pianist, but also a Bowie fan too.
I am also a fan of Bowie and I have discovered music through his influences and people he has worked with. Bowie and Garson are similar in that they adapt to anything and are not frightened to try something new.
The book clearly markets itself on Garson’s work with Bowie but readers will find that having been drawn into it, the book is actually a lesson in how anyone can become a creative genius, through practice and dedication.
There are many musical references and terms which meant nothing to me, and sometimes I thought I was getting bogged down in them. I’m glad I stayed with it as by the end I really felt I understood musicianship better. I had to smile at one point when the term ‘120BPM’ was explained at the bottom of the page, and yet terms such as arpeggio and coda were not!
Those readers who do not know Bowie’s music must (before they start reading) listen to his Aladdin Sane album from 1973, in particular the title track which is mentioned regularly throughout the book. It is useful to have these songs in your head as they are spoken about.
Once the reader accepts that the book is not about Bowie but refers to him continually and that Garson is a private man who is dedicated to two things, his family and the piano. Once the reader accepts that Garson avoided the rock and roll excesses and will not be sharing any salacious stories, then then Garson’s unique career can be understood.
As my musical understanding improved gradually through the book, I also discovered more about Bowie from the years 1990 to 2005, a period of productivity that I missed out on.
Toward the end of the book, it is uplifting to learn about his work with music and healing. Where illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease can be added to the existing therapies. Garson continues to teach and pass on his skills to help others.
A fascinating book about Garson’s career. A dedicated musician who just happened to get a call from Bowie in September 1972. A collaboration that changed the face of popular music but did not change Garson as a person.
We are please to say that since the release of the print version, The Showman is getting some good reviews.
“From Chicago to London, then on to Nottingham, England, with connections to Sheffield and Italy, and finally a water-filled quarry in Leicestershire, the story of Michael Buch’s quest to find the truth gathers pace nicely, with bodies piling up discreetly all the time. The dialogue is sharp, well-written and convincing, with the characters more than believable. There are lots of colloquial references to Nottingham and the police procedures are closely observed, even the dreaded Complaints & Discipline Department getting a mention. There are frequent references to the music of the era which adds warmth and charm to the story. A great debut novel. Recommended.”
“Really enjoyed this book. I loved the way the writer gave the story a slow burn pace until the final chapter when it accelerates, hurtling you along to an unexpected conclusion. As a debut novel it is outstanding full of believable characters. Thoroughly recommend it.”
A top 1000 reviewer on Amazon has reviewed The Showman.
From Chicago to London, then on to Nottingham, England, with connections to Sheffield and Italy, and finally a water-filled quarry in Leicestershire, the story of Michael Buch’s quest to find the truth gathers pace nicely, with bodies piling up discreetly all the time. The dialogue is sharp, well-written and convincing, with the characters more than believable. There are lots of colloquial references to Nottingham and the police procedures are closely observed, even the dreaded Complaints & Discipline Department getting a mention. There are frequent references to the music of the era which adds warmth and charm to the story. A great debut novel. Recommended.
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