Steve Shaw

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I am an untutored harmonica player who loves Irish traditional music with a touch of Scottish and Northumbrian thrown in. I’m pretty serious about "doing it right" but this music is also my main outlet for having fun. I mean, if you’re not having fun, what’s the point. About 0.00237% of us can make a living out of it, so the rest of us had better accept that we are doing it for fun, innit. I live in the middle of nowhere about four miles from Bude in Cornwall. I’m English really (hailing from that bit of true Lancashire that is now the Metropolitan-Borough-of-Somewhere-or-Other about eight miles north of Manchester), but all my mum’s side are Irish (gotta state yer credentials, yeah?) and my great grandfather had a fist-fight once with Count John McCormack’s dad over the factory foreman’s job. We lost. I’m 62 and enjoy large bone structure (though I’ve managed to lose 35lb in the last four months) and have dodgy joints and a bloody bad back and I like red wine and Doom Bar and single malts as long as they’re heavy ‘n’ peaty. None of yer namby-pamby Glenmorangie fer me, chaps (I wouldn’t pour it down the drain, though). I was a schoolteacher for 25 years, teaching science tinged with biology. Hey, sex ed! I love diddley in all its pure and non-pure manifestations, though I much prefer moderate speeds and scorn all speed-merchants who play fast "because they can" (so can I, you tossers, but I don’t, yeah?) and only have time for ITM and classical music. I have one hero, Beethoven. Like me, he had tinnitus. Unlike me, he couldn’t do anything about it. I had a meeting in 2012 with a genius of an audiologist who squashed about three-quarters of my noise and enabled me to hear music and conversation properly in noisy pubs for the first time in a decade. If you want to know any more you’ll have to wait ‘til Kirsty interviews me on Desert Island Discs, though I can tell you about me and my tinnitus if you like. I won’t be needing either the Bible or Shakespeare. And tunebooks or bodhrans will not be on the short-list for my luxury item. Actually, Michael Gill is nearly as good a bloke as Beethoven. Damn. I only said "nearly", Michael, you git… One fine day I’ll disappoint the bugger by turning up in Edinburgh. This website sans Michael is an emasculated beast indeed.