in conversation with ex Greedsville songwriter & guitarist Clive Jackson.

Clive is a singer/songwriter who released two solo albums, Life Off Line (2015) and Rocket Science in (2019). He is currently working on a new album for release this year.

A veteran of rock bands who were part of the Newcastle music scene in the 1990’s, he was a member of Greedsville who released an album in 1994.

Clive Jackson.

The main thing that motivated me to get a guitar and become a songwriter was when John Lennon died in 1980, they played tons of Beatles songs on T.V and Radio. I was already aware of a lot of it, but when I heard A Day in The Life on ITN news, I was hooked. 

I joined various bands in the 80s, one being Twelve Angry Penguins – it was the era of daft band names! Then I was guitarist in a band called Dark Roads, and in 1991 we recorded a demo at Linx Studio with Mond Cowie (ex Angelic Upstarts) engineering. I was really pleased with my vocals, song writing and guitar work on that but unfortunately within six weeks everyone left Newcastle!

The drummer went to be a policeman in Leeds, the other guitarist went to live with his girlfriend in Wakefield and the bassist moved to Scotland to manage a hotel. In the midst of all that I got a phone call from Andy Carpenter who was bassist in Greedsville.

We sort of knew each other because we rehearsed in the same place, the 244 Rock club on Westgate Road here in Newcastle. There was a car repair shop in the back and in front was an old navy club, it was a very underground set up.

I handed Andy the Dark Roads demo and he asked me to join Greedsville as a song writer, that worked out and I became rhythm guitarist. Other bands on the scene were XLR8R, Strange Thing, 2000 and Roswell.

Greedsville promo pic.

We gigged a lot and played in Newcastle, Hull and Leeds, we went down to London Marquee seven times. I had a full-time job in the Civil Service so ended up using all my annual leave when we had to travel to gigs in London. We couldn’t knock back gigs in the capital.

Sometimes I had to arrange a half day here, and a full day there. For one London gig work wouldn’t give me a half day. I pleaded with them as we had reviewers from Kerrang and NME coming along, it was important, one gig could make all the difference.

So, I decided to get the train from Newcastle to Kings Cross, legged it to the Marquee, did the gig, ran off stage, missed the last train so jumped on the all-night bus from Victoria – still sweating and stinking with my stage clothes on. It was a long night as the bus stopped off everywhere.

Finally got home, showered, then made it to work just in time. But I was knackered, more of this wasn’t doing my health any good.

Greedsville live at London’s Marquee.

Around the early 90s we met a London guy called Sean Worrall who reviewed our demo, he ran a fanzine called The Organ and was connected to record companies. He would promote showcase gigs at the Marquee or Camden Monarch where A&R guys would turn up. Sean set up one for us.

There was Geffen records, EMI and MCA hanging at the back of the hall. It wasn’t like a gig more like a jury with them not clapping. Sadly, nothing came of it.

Then London Records saw us play in The Broken Doll, Newcastle and paid for a 4-track demo which we recorded in Hi Level studio. They asked us to ‘grunge’ the sound up.

Then we recorded a rough demo on a four track recorder in the Greedsville rehearsal room. Sean took it to MCA and the first song on it, one I’d written, was more like what they were looking for.

But the rest of the band didn’t want to go in that direction. At the time we were being compared to REM and Roxy Music – quite a wide spectrum.

The Greedsville manager was Sue Wilkinson, who has just retired from the BBC. In the 90s she was running Generator here in the North East, she got us loads of publicity, articles and reviews in the press, plus radio and TV slots on local and national TV.

She got us on Tyne Tees, you can watch it on You Tube, Greedsville – Local ITV News, UK (Tyne Tees Television) 21st June 1993. That’s footage from a showcase gig at Newcastle’s Riverside. Ian Penman (Ravendale, music journalist) is also on who was a really nice guy and supportive of the North East music scene. Sadly, he passed away not long ago.

One time we were on the bill at Camden Monarch with Skunk Anansie. There was a chalk board outside the venue with the bands names on – they were billed as Skunk and Nancy and we were Green Sleeves!

I was staring at the board when their singer Skin, she is beautiful by the way, came up to me and asked if I was in Green Sleeves. I said ‘it’s Greedsville’ we were both laughing at the mistakes. They got a record deal. We didn’t.

Our guy in London, Sean Worrall backed off in the end because he explained to us that he’d met the record companies, they’d sent A&R men, heard the demos, he felt that he’d done all he could. It was an amicable parting, no hard feelings he’d just run out of road for us.

There was still a lot of Newcastle connections around that time, like Kev Ridley, engineer at Linx Studio. There was a band I knew called For Gods Sake with guitarist Steve Wallace, there was Steve Charley the Canadian, he was studio engineer for a while. There were connections to the Music for Nations label with Venom and Skyclad.

Then Greedsville signed to North East independent record label Bleeding Hearts run by Eric Cook and Tony Bray, Eric was manager of Venom and Tony was the drummer.

What happened was Sue Wilkinson got a call from Eric Cook asking would Greedsville be interested in a deal? ‘Great’ we all said. At the time we were recording in Trinity Heights studio run by Fred Purser (ex Penetration and Tygers of Pan Tang).

The singer Pete Turner was involved in all the conversations between Eric Cook and Sue Wilkinson, and the rest of the band, including myself, were all present at meetings when major decisions were made. The contract was for distribution in Europe and Asia, we had it checked out and it was ok. We signed on the dotted line around 1994.

We had originally planned to record an EP with four songs but with the deal happening it turned into an album. We recorded in three studios – Linx, Trinity Heights and a place in Chester le Street with Frankie Gibbon. It was all mixed and mastered at Fred’s Trinity studio.

Eventually we released The Casino Royale Collection. We made 10,000 copies and it was on sale in shops like Our Price and Virgin stores.

Greedsville album released in 1994.

We were due to play in Middlesbrough, then onto the Heineken Music Festival in Gateshead Stadium. But a few weeks before that we played in London and on the way back in the van our drummer Doug Hayes said he was leaving.

So, we quickly had to get someone else in, that was Graham Hattam. We were really up against it, but Graham learned quick in a small time frame and the Heineken gig went well. The Stranglers and Jools Holland big band were also on, it was a great time and Sue got us lots of press.

But we started to lose momentum, Britpop had taken over, the band were falling apart. In 1996 it was all over for Greedsville.

Looking back the 90s had loads of different bands playing folk, blues, metal, psychedelia, it wasn’t just one genre. That’s one of the many reasons I think the A&R thing didn’t really happen here.

In one night, they would see a band dressed like they were in a pantomime, others playing Frank Zappa, and in the next pub there would be a full on metal band playing. There just wasn’t a load of bands playing one type of music where they could watch and give a definite yes or no, or maybe sign a band to a development deal.

Back then we sold around 5-6,000 albums but never received a penny. The Greedsville album is still on sale now through outlets like Amazon. If people are getting something out of listening to the songs that’s great – but did I make a living out of the music business? Absolutely not. 

In the digital age copyright goes out the window. I do get royalty cheques now and then from my latest solo albums, the last was from Spotify for around $400.

There’s lots more to add to the Clive Jackson story, and that will be added to the blog later, but for more information check the official website:

Clive Jackson | singer-song-writer (clivejackson8.wixsite.com)

Alikivi   February 2023.


part two of a conversation with author & former Newcastle United footballer, Paul Ferris.

My sister used to manage Rosie’s Bar next to Newcastle United’s ground and often talked about the time when Kevin Keegan became manager and the effect he had on not just the team, but the whole city.

She remembers fans singing ‘living in a Keegan wonderland’ and some players and staff popping into the pub for a sherbet or two.

When I went back to Newcastle as a physio in 1993, we used to have a drink in Rosie’s bar on a Wednesday night. It wasn’t the most glamourous pub but it had a great jukebox and we used to hoy in a fiver to hear great music.

I got to know Alan Shearer well after helping him through a bad injury. The work I did with him in winter ‘97 was the best I’d done for the club. Better than anything I’d ever accomplished as a player.

Paul running with Alan Shearer for the first time after he dislocated his ankle (pic Belfast Telegraph).

I used to go for a few drinks with Rob Lee and Gary Speed, we became good friends and I used to drag Alan Shearer and Gary Speed to U2 gigs. I’d be great in a music quiz cos I’m a music nut. I love listening to 10,000 Maniacs and Natalie Merchant but my all-time favourites are Van Morrison and U2.

One day Alan came in with a couple of tickets for U2 who were due to play Earls Court in London. We were playing Chelsea on the Saturday so a Friday night gig would be great.

He kindly paid to get the train down, booked a hotel and VIP lounge tickets on the Elevation tour. When we got there, he went to the bar to get some drinks but I heard U2 come on stage so shouted ‘Alan, Alan, they’re on’ I couldn’t wait so just left him and raced in to see the start of the concert.

Ten minutes later Alan walked in with two pints shouting ‘I paid for your train, I paid for your hotel, I bought your tickets and you just left us standing there!’ I did feel a little guilty but I didn’t want to miss the start, this is what we came for!

It was around 2003 I was on holiday with my family and had six missed calls on my phone, a few from Alan Shearer and some from Gary Speed. Alan shouted ‘pick the f***ing phone up’.  Loud music was blaring in the background. In another message Gary shouted ‘we’re with Bono!’

When I saw Alan later in a Health & Fitness Club, he said that night they were in a club with Bono and he wanted to talk to me. Then he got out a pair of dark wrap-around sunglasses the type Bono wears on stage, and he and The Edge had signed them on each lens.

Alan gave them to me saying ‘go on take them man I know you really like the band’. ‘No, they were for you’ I said. He pushed them into my hands and I have to say I took them under duress as they were signed to Alan.

As I was driving out of the Club car park, I got a call from Alan who was in the car in front of me ‘take those f***ing glasses off I can see you in the mirror!’ Honestly, I wanted to try them on for just a wee look.

Paul and I met a few days after Newcastle reached their first cup final since 1999, inevitably our talk turns to Football today.

Coaches used to be experienced former players but now some of them only played in lower leagues. But they all have their badges. Mourinho worked for Bobby Robson and is steeped in football, Arsene Wenger revolutionized the game.

At Arsenal he had giant athletes in the middle of the park – Vieira and Petit. At the back Keown and Adams, if you ask Alan Shearer his toughest games were probably against those two. Then up front was Thierry Henri, another giant.

Newcastle back four with the exception of Trippier, are giants. Eddie Howe is doing a great job with the club, he’s reaching a higher level sooner than expected. They are great to watch with little triangles of Trippier, Almiron and Guimaraes.

Plus, a Geordie in the team, Sean Longstaff, scoring two the other day. For Dan Burn, another Geordie, the feeling of scoring his first goal in the Carabao cup semi-final against Southampton must have been immense. The feeling must be amazing, it was for me when I first scored, and I’m an Irishman!

But the pressures on Newcastle managers are enormous. I was there when it was a pre-season friendly and Jack Charlton was in the dug-out. Around 5,000 fans in the Gallowgate end shouting ‘Charlton out’.

Bobby Robson loved being Newcastle manager it was just part of who he was. He was like a wise friend really, after training when all the players had gone, he would pop into the medical room and say ‘do ya fancy a cup of tea’ and talk about anything.

I loved the stories he’d tell about Barcelona, his family and coming back to the North East. He was so proud of coming back he bought a house near where he was born. You could see why players loved him.

In 2016 Paul turned to writing his memories from on and off the pitch and growing up during Ireland’s darkest days. Packed with real warts an’ all stories, his book is much more than just another sporting memoir.

Both my books out now The Boy on the Shed and The Magic in the Tin have been non-fiction memoirs and done well. I’ve also written a fictional manuscript called An Ugly Game about abuse in football, that has heavier themes in it. I’m starting to refer to it as An Ugly Manuscript because it is yet to be picked up by a publisher.

Now I’m writing a fictional book called The Man in One Nineteen which is a line from a song by Natalie Merchant. The book is teaming with musical references from songs I’ve loved.

The main story is the guy is dying and looking back on his life. He had a girlfriend who he referred to as having hair like Suzi Quatro and a face like Noddy Holder. But when they meet again in his 20’s she has turned into the gorgeous Stevie Nicks.

It’s a very intimate journey even though you never get to know his name or where he’s from. Is it Newcastle, New York or Sydney? I just hope it gets released, my agent has sent it to publishers Bloomsbury who have first option on it.

When writing I’m very conscious of grabbing you from the start with the first sentence and finishing strongly. If I can get some emotion from you, some laughter and engage with you, I think you will remember the book.

Alikivi   February 2023

Links to books:

The Boy on the Shed
The Magic in the Tin


Part one of a conversation with author & former Newcastle United footballer, Paul Ferris.

Paul Ferris outside St James’ Park, Newcastle (pic Irish Times).

Football is all about sticking the ball in the back of the net.

My first and only goal for Newcastle was at the Gallowgate end against Bradford in the League Cup. There was a deafening noise as the crowd banged on the metal advertising boards.

As we celebrated Neil McDonald came over to me and asked ‘are you alright’? I swear I couldn’t breathe. The sound of the ball hitting the back of the net is beautiful.

Paul Ferris was born in 1965 in Lisburn near Belfast, Northern Ireland. Living with his Catholic family on mostly a Protestant housing estate, he survived a childhood that was framed by Irelands dark but recent past.

It was my mum who said you need to go across the water, there’s nothing here for you. She just wanted the best for me. I left in October 1981 right in the middle of the IRA hunger strike, it was a very toxic time.

As a professional footballer and physiotherapist Paul had an 18- year career at Newcastle United. Between 1981 and 1985 he was the youngest ever first team player and in 1993 he joined the medical staff where he stayed until 2006. He was also part of the management team in 2009.

As physio I was there under Cox, Keegan, Robson, Dalglish, Gullit, Souness but left when Roeder came in as I was committed to do my Law work – but that’s another story for another time.

In 2018 his best-selling memoir The Boy on the Shed was published to critical acclaim, and the follow up The Magic in the Tin, about his fight with prostate cancer, was released in 2022. (links below).

Both my books have been non-fiction memoirs and have done well, but now I’m currently writing a fictional book.

We’ll find out more of Paul’s writing career in part two, but here he talks candidly about his time as a professional footballer.

When I was a kid in Northern Ireland in the 70s, I only knew one Newcastle fan and that was Kieran my brother-in-law, he told me all about players like Malcolm McDonald, David Craig and Liam McFaul.

It was mostly Liverpool or Manchester United supporters – that was the George Best connection as he was a Belfast boy. I was a Liverpool fan so Kevin Keegan was without doubt the first football hero that I had.

I used to go and watch the Home Championship games cos that’s when you got to see the big players. At Windsor Park in Belfast, I couldn’t see much being small so I would take a stool to stand on to see players like Kevin Keegan.

You see lists of greatest ever players and some of them he’s not even in, when I think he most definitely was one of the best.

My very first team I signed for was Bolton at 14, that was the team of Peter Reid and Sam Allardyce. It was for two years with a guaranteed apprenticeship but the management got sacked and I ended with nowhere to go.

I was playing for the Irish under 18 youth team and they mentioned two teams I should try out for – Everton and Newcastle. But didn’t enjoy my time in Liverpool so came to Newcastle where it was more friendly. At least they said hello to you in the street.

It was still a wrench leaving. There were flights only two days a week and a pay phone in the hall of my digs – it felt a long way from home.

Newcastle boarding a plane for Bermuda in 1985. Paul in the centre of the photo with Paul Gascoigne (and prize mullet) on his right (pic Evening Chronicle).

In 1982 I was 16 and made my Newcastle debut away from home, my home debut was against QPR in the second division. 14,000 people at a run-down stadium with a city in the doldrums and a lot of economic hardship and unemployment.

Then manager Arthur Cox signed Kevin Keegan who was twice European footballer of the year. I remember the assistant coach telling the team who we’d signed, we all said ‘f*** off, no chance!’ But then he arrived, as a shy lad it was quite daunting to see your boyhood hero.

He was not only a great footballer and charismatic, but he transformed the whole outlook of the city. He also gave it a boost when he came back as manager and won promotion in 1993.

Newcastle manager Arthur Cox was great, he was honest and straight with you, just no nonsense really. But he had the sensitivity as well and asked me how my parents were doing because he knew I was a young boy away from home.

Even now in his 80s he contacts me to ask how I’m doing as he knows I’ve had some health issues. He’s also read both my books which he enjoyed.

Some great footballers came to St James’ Park. I remember watching a European cup night and Newcastle were playing French side Bastia who included Johnny Rep.

The Dutch team of ’74 was a big part of my awakening to great footballers. On TV you would see Johan Cruyff, Johnny Rep and Neeskins. Football was better to watch in those days there was more chances created, more jeopardy in the game.

When I was young, I was told to hug the touchline, get the ball, take the full back on and take him on again, then get the ball in the box. You might lose the ball few times but it was exciting to watch.

Paul scoring his only goal for Newcastle United (pic The Times).

On my debut as a 16 year old we were playing Blackburn away and I replaced Chris Waddle. As I ran onto the pitch the crowd were singing my name. I got so excited taking on the full back he took the ball off me and a few passes later it ended in a goal for them. We got beat 4-1.

Coaching has changed now, players are told not to take people on because losing the ball is a risky business, better to pass and move keeping possession.

During the 1980s football entered its dark days with hooliganism on the rise. One time Newcastle where at Leeds. Today you have a coaching staff and kit men, but back then I was 13th man and responsible for carrying the kit in to the ground.

We were walking into Elland Road and the police officers were holding back the baying Leeds fans. The noise was deafening. We nearly got inside when a fist came out of the crowd and smacked me in the mouth. I got in the changing room with blood all over. I was told it was pointless reporting it to the police as I couldn’t identify who threw the punch.

During the game Kevin Keegan was taking a corner when he got hit on the head with a coin. Both teams were taken off, in the end the police told us to get out there and finish the game or there’ll be hell on.

So at the end of the 90 minutes we quickly got in the changing room, showered and left. As the coach was leaving we took the first corner and a brick comes through the window.

Read part two of Football Bloody Football where Paul talks about his writing career, Bobby Robson, nights out with Alan Shearer and what he thinks of Newcastle United now.

Alikivi   February 2023

Link to books:

The Boy on the Shed
The Magic in the Tin