Storytelling, making and recording music, writing songs and books, have kept me busy for the past half century and more. I've worked all over Britain and into Europe, in community venues, theatres and schools, performing in spaces as varied as the Royal Festival Hall, a Viking longhouse in the Icelandic wastes, and St Magnus' Cathedral in Kirkwall.
For the past three decades I've lived in the Highlands. During that time, 16 years were spent as a part-time arts worker for Ross and Cromarty Council, devising and promoting schools and community initiatives like the Junior Folk Orchestra and the Merry Dancers Storytelling Project, as well as writing songs and music for community dramas Macbeth and Storm. Freelance work has included storytelling gigs from Iona to Yell, Berwick-upon-Tweed to Smoo Cave, and creating community projects like Sounding Dunadd - a quartet of seasonal performances among the ancient stones of Kilmartin Glen.
Recent books include Highland Folk Tales and Argyll Folk Tales, both published by The History Press. One-man shows have been inspired by the Arctic explorer John Rae (Longstrider), the last wolves in Scotland (The Last Wolf), and Homer's Odyssey (Warrior Blues).
1944 - 63. Born in Long Eaton, Derbyshire. Educated Grange Road Primary, Longmoor Primary, and Nottingham High School. Play oboe in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire County Youth Orchestras. Around 1960 become a regular performer at Nottingham Folk Workshop, and form duo with Carole Butler. We appear regularly on Midlands TV.
1963 - 66. Leeds University to study English Literature. Carole and I, now married, start to become known nationally as folk singers. We appear on a Transatlantic sampler The Second Wave in 1965. Edit University's folk music magazine Abe.
1966 - 69. Postgraduate research at Leeds on folk music of the Yorkshire Dales. Co-organiser of Royal Sovereign, and Brig folk clubs, Leeds. Continue touring with Carole.
1969 - 70. Lecturer in English and Music at Stevenage College of F. E. Carole and I record He Came from the Mountains for Bill Leader's Trailer label.
1970 - 72. We form folk-rock band Mr Fox, and make two albums - Mr Fox and The Gipsy - for Transatlantic Records. Tour Britain playing folk clubs, concert halls and festivals.
1972 - 75. Mr Fox beaks up, Carole and I part. Move back from Stevenage to Yorkshire and team up with mandolin and guitar player Nick Strutt to make Bob Pegg and Nick Strutt, and The Shipbuilder, followed by solo album Ancient Maps, all for Transatlantic.
1975 - 83. Move to West Yorkshire Pennines to work as oral historian at The Arvon Foundation, Heptonstall. Continue working as touring songwriter/performer throughout Britain, together with work for the Poetry Society Poets in Schools scheme. Commissions from Leeds University, Ilkley Literature Festival, Hebden Bridge Arts Festival, BBC TV Play for Today, Granada TV, Yorkshire TV. Film score for Ken Loach's Black Jack.
1983 - 89. Move to North Yorkshire as writer in residence for Cleveland. Organiser of Legal and General Songsearch national songwriting competition, based in Kendal in Cumbria. Annual music tutor for Scottish Highland Youth Theatre. Tour Britain extensively as one half of The Beasties with Julie Ann Fullarton, working on community and schools projects involving music, storytelling, theatre and visual art.
1989 - 2008. Move to Highlands. Become part-time arts worker in Ross and Cromarty organising schools and community events including the Junior Folk Orchestra, the Merry Dancers Storytelling Project, and Tales at Martinmas storytelling festival in partnership with Mairi MacArthur. Tour Scotland, including Northern and Western Isles, as storyteller. Regular 3-5 week tours of schools in the north of England with Roots and Flutes musical instrument show. Write scores for community plays Macbeth and Storm.
2008 - present. Freelancing. Storytelling work continues with visits to Iceland and Sweden, and publication of two collections - Highland and Argyll folk tales. Museum projects, including Sounding Dunadd for Kilmartin House, and creating story maps with five museums in the Highlands. Return to folk club performance after break of 35 years. Devise and record story/music soundtrack for NC500.