Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: read by Janice Owen for International Women’s Day.

This year, I’m planning to give Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player a major re-boot by publishing it with Troubadour books.  I’ve been fortunate to meet a Derby based illustrator, Paul Warren, who has provided a fantastic set of images for the book which you can see on the campaign page here.

I’ve also been very lucky to involve Janice Owen who has generously donated his time and skills to support the campaign.

Janice Owen is a mother, writer and an ageing tennis player. For Janice International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on gender parity and women’s rights, on how far women have come, advocacy for what is still needed, and action to continue breaking down barriers. Since her schooldays in Kendal Janice has celebrated International Women’s Day, recognising the achievements of women, from different backgrounds and cultures, in the social, economic, cultural, and political spheres.

Russia unknowingly set the trend on March 8th 1913, declaring the day, a public holiday and officially creating International Women’s Day. However in 1917 with men at war and with women at home dealing with hardships, food shortages and a government with selective hearing, tens of thousands of Russian women took to the streets demanding change. The unified cry for help paved the way for Russian women to be granted voting rights.

Represented by shades of purple and green, so apt for the English lawn tennis game, not to mention the cause of suffragettes of the past, the present and the future, including those WASPI women fighting for pensions. In a fast paced world of change, the game of tennis, for women, is no stranger to the fight for rights.

The Battle of the Sexes in 1973 saw a Billie Jean King victory over Bobby Rigg and was the catalyst for change in women’s tennis landscape, with Billie Jean King establishing the Women’s Tennis Association in that year. The tennis skirt is said to be the principal driver for revenue generation, with the women’s game outselling before that of the men’s. Politicians are no strangers to the court, with Donald Trump calling for another Battle of the Sexes to Make Tennis Great Again offering a $1m prize for a match between either of the William’s sisters and John McEnroe.

With Venus Williams at the height of her game, she declined the dual due to her overwhelming diary commitments. On the home turf of Wimbledon, Serena Williams argued for equal pay, persuading Tony Blair to support the cause. Janice reflects on her schooldays in the 1970’s, as a golden era for women’s rights crusaders within the sport of tennis. Young women in her school were forming their dreams, of life ahead with a world of possibilities beckoning. Building dreams, identifying first steps towards their goals and assessing the challenges in their respective journeys. In the words of Serena Williams, “Imagine you’re a little girl. You’re growing up. You practice as hard as you can, with girls, with boys. You have a dream. You fight, you work, you sacrifice to get to this stage. You work as hard as anyone you know. And then you get to this stage, and you’re told you’re not the same as a boy.”

Navigating it all is challenging with pressure both on and off the court to accomplish their dreams, and those of their children in all arenas of life. Imagine as a mother, as an athlete and as a coach your shared dreams with your children and you could be wearing the trainers of Judy Murray, motherhood with unexpected challenges, and unequalled pride. Janice sees International Women’s Day as a strengthened call to accelerate global efforts to reach true gender parity in a fast paced world of change where expectations for women continue to rise alongside lip service.

Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: read by Alby James.

This year, I’m planning to give Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player a major re-boot by publishing it with Troubadour books.  I’ve been fortunate to meet a Derby based illustrator, Paul Warren, who has provided a fantastic set of images for the book which you can see on the campaign page here.

I’ve also been very lucky to involve Alby James who has generously donated his time and skills to support the campaign.

Alby James was born and raised in north London and is one of five children of immigrants from Jamaica who arrived in the UK in 1950. He attended local schools in Crouch End up to GCEs and Southgate Tech for A-levels, where he became politically active. He became president of the student union in his second year and went to the University of East Anglia from 1974-77 to study international development.

This is where he also cut his teeth as an artistic director for the theatre during his 2 years as president of the Student Drama Society. After a 15-year first career as a theatre director, (including nine years as artistic director of Temba Theatre Company, which toured nationally in the UK and in Europe) Temba, working in co-production with many London-based and regional theatres, helped establish cultural diversity in the treatment of the classics and a more mixed repertoire in the programming in British theatres.

Alby moved into film and television in the mid-90s and has since worked predominantly as a producer and script executive for films and TV series, occasionally writing and running training course for writers, directors and producers. He has been instrumental in helping the new South Africa to upskill members of the formerly disadvantaged communities in South Africa to be able to have careers in the industry as well as writers and writer/directors in Russia. Currently, he is working with the film industry to improve the opportunities for the UK’s black filmmakers and for them to co-produce with international partners.

Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: read by Jason Biggs.

This year, I’m planning to give Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player a major re-boot by publishing it with Troubadour books.  I’ve been fortunate to meet a Derby based illustrator, Paul Warren, who has provided a fantastic set of images for the book which you can see on the campaign page here.

I’ve also been very lucky to involve Jason Biggs who has generously donated his time and skills to support the campaign.

Jason was born in Kensington London in 1968, the same year The Beatles released their double White Album, ironically this album becoming Jason’s all-time favourite. Growing up in Leeds from the age of 4 until 7 he soon found himself hanging around The Manor in Oxfordshire gegging in on Mike Oldfield while he was recording Tubular Bells.

He partied with Richard Branson and was living what seemed to be an idyllic life. His father was then forced to sell shares and suddenly Jason finds himself on the streets of South Shields, living with his grandmother in what seemed like a very threatening neighbourhood. It was tough, he took the knocks, kept it secret and then through a series of life changing events found himself at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts at the beginning of 1996.

Jason isn’t yet sure how he got there but thinks it may have something to do with a National Express bus, he may never find out. Until then he’ll continue working with the community, using his arts to help foster a better world for us all. He also plays in a 5-piece band, Mervin Gersh, check them out on YoutubeJ.

Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: read by Anand Torrents.

This year, I’m planning to give Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player a major re-boot by publishing it with Troubadour books.  I’ve been fortunate to meet a Derby based illustrator, Paul Warren, who has provided a fantastic set of images for the book which you can see on the campaign page here.

I’ve also been very lucky to involve Anand Torrents who has generously donated his time and skills to support the campaign.

Anand Torrents Is a Gestalt therapist certified by the Institut Gestalt of Barcelona, (2015) and holds a degree in Philosophy (1994), issued by the UAB (Autonomous University of Barcelona). He was born in Barcelona in 1968; a traveler at heart, he has always worked in connection with education in his native Catalonia, and abroad (India, USA, etc). Anand is deeply interested in: Language diversity, Emotional intelligence, Multiculturalism, Outdoors pedagogy… and now tennis! Anand holds a Master’s Degree in Psychopedagogy, specializing in the adult population and he feels lucky to be currently working as a trainer of trainers in international projects; where he incidentally met Nick Owen… the rest is history…

L’Anand Torrents és un terapeuta Gestalt format per l’Institut Gestalt de Barcelona (2015) i és llicenciat en Filosofia (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 1994). Va néixer a Barcelona el 1968; viatger empedreït, sempre ha treballat en relació amb l’educació a la seva Catalunya natal i a l’estranger (Índia, EUA, etc.). L’Anand està profundament interessat en: la diversitat lingüística, la intel·ligència emocional, el multiculturalisme, la pedagogia mediambiental … i ara el tennis! L’Anand té un màster en psicopedagogia, especialitzat en la població adulta i se sent afortunat de treballar actualment com a formador de formadors en projectes internacionals; on va conèixer casualment en Nick Owen … la resta és història ..

Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: read by Rez Kabir.

This year, I’m planning to give Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player a major re-boot by publishing it with Troubadour books.  I’ve been fortunate to meet a Derby based illustrator, Paul Warren, who has provided a fantastic set of images for the book which you can see on the campaign page here.

I’ve also been very lucky to involve  Rez Kabir who has generously donated his time and skills to support the campaign.

Rez Kabir is an actor and storyteller, born in Bangladesh and is known for his work on stage and screen. He has also appeared on TV and radio. He is artistic director of Tamarind Theatre Co and a founder member and executive producer of Mukul & Ghetto Tigers based in London. He trained with Tara Arts, Man Mela, Little Angel Theatre and Mukul & Ghetto Tigers.

Over the years, he has worked to support and develop new and emerging artists, teaching theatre practice and vocal training through his ‘Next Stage’ training programmes. He is passionate about stories and storytelling, and promotes learning through reading and conducts education workshops for children and families. This he feels is important in order to create new stories and story-makers and enriching lives. He also promotes diversity and inclusion and connects with communities helping them to have greater engagement and participation with the arts.

Highlights include playing Uri Savir (u/s) in the play Oslo by Tony Award winning writer; JT Rogers (Royal National Theatre/Lincoln Center) and Westend transfer at Harold Pinter theatre. Mr Shah in East is East by Ayub Khan Din directed by Suba Das (Nottingham Playhouse/Northern Stage) Kiterunner adapted by Matthew Spangler (toured UK and Ireland including Gaiety Theatre Dublin. Pericles in Pericles Prince of Tyre (Michael Judge) NIE Theatre. The King in Phantom Queen FIPA (Hi Ching). Tybalt/ Friar/ Nurse); Romeo & Juliet (M Ahmed) Mukul & Ghetto Tigers, a bi lingual production in Palagaan style toured India and Tagore’s University (Shanteniketan/Jadapur Uni). The Postman play Government Inspector (N Gogal) Tara toured Australia and New Zealand.

Film credits include The Infiltrator (Brad Furman) with Bryan Cranston, Zohra (Kemal Akhtar winner of Best Film award Race & Media, Best film Tonques on Fire Festival. The Innkeeper in Aghori by Tarun Jasani (soon to be released). Personal projects legend of the Black Lotus (Tamarind), Umrao Jaan Circle of Light (Tamarind/MGT), Wizard of the Moon (Hardial Rai) Zero Culture Co, The Bat/Two Headed Bird for Womad, Oxford Wilderness Festival and All Point East. Playing the Maharajah in Gauhar Jaan (T.Jasani) for SOBD theatre Festival.

Last year he completed films Phutto (Carlos Eduardo), Banglatown (IMotion productions) and Limbo Inna London (B Bahi) Zane Productions.

Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: read by David Llewellyn.

This year, I’m planning to give Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player a major re-boot by publishing it with Troubadour books.  I’ve been fortunate to meet a Derby based illustrator, Paul Warren, who has provided a fantastic set of images for the book which you can see on the campaign page here.

I’ve also been very lucky to involve  David Llewellyn  as a reader for the campaign who has generously donated his time and skill to the campaign by reading the text for the promotional video for the campaign.

David  is an ageing tennis player, an exotic gardener and pataphysician who managed to convince his employers, if not his colleagues, that he was a suitable person to lead the Drama Department at Liverpool John Moores University of Bums on Seats and Dodgy Building Projects for the best part of thirty years until his recent retirement. Lacking sufficient teeth these days to articulate his consonants with any clarity he agreed to record Nick’s Introduction after special pleading. The dark details of which must remain secret  until all people alive or dead are indeed.

 

Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: read by Tayo Aluko

This year, I’m planning to give Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player a major re-boot by publishing it with Troubadour books.  I’ve been fortunate to meet a Derby based illustrator, Paul Warren, who has provided a fantastic set of images for the book which you can see on the campaign page here.

I’ve also been very lucky to involve Tayo Aluko who has generously donated his time and skill to the campaign by reading the text for the promotional video for the campaign

Tayo  was born in Nigeria and now lives in Liverpool. Previously an architect, he is now a professional playwright, actor and singer. He has fronted orchestras as baritone soloist in concert halls, and performed lead roles in opera, musicals and oratorio. His two plays, CALL MR ROBESON and JUST AN ORDINARY LAWYER have been performed around the UK and internationally for many years, and both received four star reviews from the Guardian.

He has been published in The Guardian, The Morning Star, NERVE Magazine, Modern Ghana and Searchlight Magazine. He was one of a group of ten “outstanding writers of colour” (including the 2019 Booker Prize joint winner) invited to write and perform responses to artefacts held in Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum in 2019. His third play will be inspired by the life and music of the Black British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

You can read more about him here.

Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: the readers

This year, I’m planning to give Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player a major re-boot by publishing it with Troubadour books.  I’ve been fortunate to meet a Derby based illustrator, Paul Warren, who has provided a fantastic set of images for the book which you can see on the campaign page here.

I’ve also been very lucky to involve a gang of readers who have generously donated their time and skill to the campaign by reading the text for the promotional video for the campaign.  They are Alby JamesAnand Torrents, Candace Lott, David Llewellyn, David RobertsonJackie P. Gardner, Janice OwenJason Biggs, Jessie Antonellis-JohnRez Kabir and Tayo Aluko. and will be joined by other members of the club very soon.

When Paul Warren, the Confessions illustrator and I first met, we soon realised we were both fans of the Derby born musician, Kevin Coyne. I had seen Kevin several times, and Paul was lucky enough to be one of his best friends and study with him at the Derby College of Art.

We both thought it would be terrific if Kevin’s role in our lives could be acknowledged in the Confessions… book and so were delighted when Helmi, Kevin’s wife, allowed us to use of Kevin’s song, Mad Boy, as the accompanying song for Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player. If you’re listening up there, Kevin, we hope we’ve done you proud.

Kevin’s two sons, Robert and Eugene, are also donating tracks to the campaign. 

Robert  plays guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and sings. For this campaign, he has donated ‘May I Be The First’.

He and Eugene appeared on some of Kevin’s recordings including Tough And Sweet (1993) and Sugar Candy Taxi (1999). As a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, Robert eventually joined Kevin’s band and contributed to several further albums, including Room Full of Fools (2000), Carnival (2002), Donut City (2004) and One Day In Chicago (2005, with Jon Langford and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts).

You can see more about his work here.

Martin Milner is a long standing colleague from my work in Wallasey, UK.  He too has kindly donated one of his songs, ‘The Story is Told’ as the backing track for the promotional video of Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player:

 

Reasons to (start up your) Biz cheerful (part 3)

Reasons to (start up your) biz cheerful (Part 3)

Why don’t you get right out of bed?,

Why don’t you get right out of bed? (x5)

Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3)

Son of Richard Branson

Looking rather handsome

Never ending dreaming

Liverpool visioning,

driving up your missioning

Scribble out your plans

Partnerships sole traders

putting on your waders

Ignoring all the fakers

Blue chips on the rich list

Internet top lists

with your SEOs

Printing all your t shirts, stopping where it hurts

Dressing up in suits, office flirts

Dressing to impress, dining to invest

Investing your time, paying no fines

Designing handsome logos, customers going loco

dance an office pogo

Cash flow and income,

spending all you’ve got

Fascinating knots,

balancing the sheets

Reasons to biz Cheerful (Part 3) x 3

Reasons to be Cheerful – one, two, three

Reasons to biz Cheerful (Part 3)

Martha Lane fox, Changing your socks

Mending the locks, Calling the shots

A bit of grin and bear it a bit of come and share it

You’re welcome, do come again, red reminders

Too small for VAT, PAYE

Going all legit, no nasty shocks

The never ending day, emails all the way,

Working in your car, driving afar

thrashing your laptop, Sit down take a break?

you’re having a laugh!

Looking for investors, all other tasters

Splitting the difference, taking lots of punts,

spotting opportunities,

Facing up to dragons

Duncan Bannatyne, Hilary Devey,

Theo Paphitis, Deborah Meaden,

Peter Jones

Reasons to biz Cheerful (Part 3) x 3

Reasons to be Cheerful – one, two, three

Immense thanks of course to Ian Dury.