And the rest …

Babe Magnet: The Early Years


You can buy CDs and downloads at our online shop.

What else? It becomes difficult to remember all the random stuff I’ve done, so I’ll undoubtedly keeping adding more here as it occurs!

I’ve served my debt to society on Arts Council panels and the National Executive of the English Folk Dance & Song Society. Been there, done that.

I appear to have accidentally invented what is now the on-maps name for the area of Bristol where I’m back living – Clifton Village. Back in 1970 when drafting the wording for a poster for the legendary Bristol Troubadour club, I thought that invoking the spirit of Greenwich Village would be a good idea for the club’s address. It caught on …


Click to listen

I was among the infamous gang of 19 who “invented world music” back in London’s Empress Of Russia pub back in June 1987. Minutes here.

The gang return to the scene of the crime: the world music mafia 20 years on. Left to right standing: Chris Stapleton, Jonathan Rudnick, Robert Urbanus, Joe Boyd, Ben Mandelson, Philip Sweeney, Roger Armstrong, Simon Coe, Ian Anderson. Seated Amanda Jones, Charlie Gillett, Mark Kidel, Thomas Brooman.

In October 2015 I was very proud to receive the Gold Badge of the English Folk Dance Society. I was even more proud that it was presented to me by the legendary Shirley Collins, who then proceeded to sing me a blues version of her famous song Death And The Lady, Muddy Waters style, accompanied by my old friends Ian Kearey and Ben Mandelson (who had written and read the citation). Here we all are: left to right, Ian Kearey, Shirley Collins, myself, EFDSS chairman Alan James and Ben Mandelson.


In February 2019 was very honoured to get a Lifetime Achievement Award from Folk Alliance International at their annual conference held that year in Montreal, Canada, mainly for my work with fRoots magazine. Needless to say I was even more astounded when I discovered that other people getting such awards at the same time included Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Buffy Sainte-Marie! They made a very nice presentation video which you can see to the right.


“I really should have learned to concentrate.”

Did I mention that I’m immensely proud of my charming, intelligent daughter Cathia Randrianarivo? No? Here’s her blog about food, fashion, festivals and all sorts.

I know there are loads of other things I’ve temporarily – or maybe permanently, probably for good reason – forgotten. Lots were done out of a philosophy that if nobody else is doing it (or doing it well) and I reckon it’s worth a go, a bit of a creative challenge and an interesting learning curve, then why not? As the song goes, “It’s what you can do with what you’ve got.” So in the end a classic Jack-of-all-trades, master of none. I really should have learned to concentrate.


Butterbean and cauliflower curry

30 mins prep time: total 70 mins. Serves 4 large helpings.

Mix together and put aside:
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black onion seeds
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 onion (sliced)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 fresh green chilli (chopped small)
1” (2.5cm) cube fresh ginger (chopped small)
1 large potato (diced).

Fry in 2oz (56 gms) butter for 6-7 mins.

Add liquid from 400gm tin of butterbeans, thickened with 2 tsp cornflour.
Add mixed spices and stir for 1 minute.

1 tin (400 ml) coconut milk.

Small florets from 1 medium cauliflower or romanesco – 400-500 gms.
Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 20 mins, stirring occasionally.

1 400gm tin butter beans.
1 tbsp lemon juice.
Stir and simmer for further 10 mins.
Garnish with coriander leaf.
Serve with pilau rice and a tangy chutney.

Chicken in peanut sauce
Prep time 30 mins : 4 large helpings.

1 onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (sliced)
2” fresh ginger (chopped small)
4 tbsp vegetable oil
6 chicken breasts
600gms tinned chopped tomatoes
12 tablespoons crunchy organic peanut butter
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Generous black pepper
1 large green pepper (sliced)
1 large red pepper (sliced)
6 oz (200 gms) mushrooms (chopped)
1 tin chick peas
12oz Broccoli or cauliflower florets.

Fry onions, garlic & ginger in vegetable oil until browning.
Seal chicken on all sides.
Add tomatoes.
Mix peanut butter plus seasoning in 1/2 pint of boiling water and add.
Stir in rest of ingredients.
Bring to simmer for 30 mins.
Add cauli or broccoli and simmer for 20 minutes.

Indian No. 1 — Lamb, spinach and cauliflower
Preparation time approx. 45 mins. Preheat oven to 150°c/ Mk2
Serves 4 – 5

2 onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2” fresh ginger, chopped

Fry in 5 tbsps vegetable oil til golden
Add 600 gms diced lamb and fry til sealed
Add 450 gms plain yogurt 100 ml hot water

Mix together and add:
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1.5tsp cumin seeds
0.75 tsp chilli powder
0.75tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp coriander seeds
0.5 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp black onion seeds
3 bay leaves
0.5 tsp ground fenugreek
1.5 tsp ground black pepper
0.75tsp salt

Stir in:

350 gms leaf spinach until wilted
170 gms chopped mushrooms
1 tin chick peas
2 sliced green peppers
350 gms cauliflower florets (1 medium cauli)

Bring to simmer on top, then cook in oven for 2 hours at 150°c/ Mk2
Add 1.5 tsp garam masala near end

Serve with pilau rice.

Prawns ‘n Beans
Prep time 25 mins
Serves 4

2 onions (chopped)
6 cloves garlic (chopped)
1.5” ginger (chopped)

Fry in 60gms (2 oz) butter until beginning to brown

450 gms (1 lb) cut green beans
5 tomatoes (chopped)
4 tsp tomato puree
450 gms (1 lb) peeled prawns
2 large pinches marjoram
2 pinches dill
2 pinches tarragon
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
3 tbsp lemon juice
400ml coconut cream

Bring to heat

Cook for 20 minutes

Spicy Fish Stew
Prep time around 20 mins. Serves 6.

2 med-small onions – chopped large
6 cloves garlic – chopped
4 cm fresh ginger – chopped
1 green pepper – sliced lengthways
2 red peppers – sliced lengthways
2 tins chopped tomatoes
250 ml white wine
4 green chillies – de-seeded and chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne
Very large pinch each dried Oregano, Basil, Sage, Thyme
Black Pepper
800 ml – 2 tins Coconut Milk [or 200 ml double cream]

Bring to heat and simmer for around 25 mins

Add 1 kilo of chunks of red snapper or other solid white fish

Simmer 10-12 mins

Serve with jacket potatoes + a green veg (eg broccoli or French beans)

Winter Lamb Stew
Preparation +/- 30 mins

Heat 5 tbsp sunflower oil

Fry 1 large chopped onion
3 cloves garlic chopped
1” fresh ginger (chopped) until beginning to brown

Fry 700gms (1.5 lb) cubed lamb til browned

2 large carrots, chopped
2 leeks (in 1/2” rings)
3 parsnips (cut lengthways)
1 green pepper (sliced)
120gms (4 oz) whole button mushrooms

1/2 pint (280ml) strong dark beer.

Stir and mix well.

Make 1/4 pt lamb stock (use whole cube) thickened with 3 tsp cornflour, mixed with lots of herbs – rosemary, mint, sage, oregano, thyme. Stir in.

4 bay leaves
Black pepper & salt

Simmer on low heat/ stir occasionally, for 75mins until lamb is tender

Serve with jacket potatoes

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