Hello! I’m Ian Pople and this is The Acoustic Egg Box.
My blog is a bit of fun; an outlet for my random thoughts and weird ideas. I can’t promise that it’ll change your life, but I hope you find the content interesting or entertaining enough to pop in and have a ganders every now and again.
Below is a little about me. I’ve tried not to ramble and have only included the relevant stuff. I realise that it’s not exactly The Diary of Samuel Pepys, but it really is hard to write interesting things about yourself – especially when you haven’t escaped the Bubonic Plague, lived through the Great Fire of London or sailed to the Netherlands and brought King Charles II back from exile.
Off we go then…
Music is my obsession. It has been for as long as I can remember. At least as long as I was tall enough to reach the knobs on my parents’ 1960s Rigonda Bolshoi radiogram, anyway.
I’d sit and look for hours at that valve-driven trunk from the Eastern Bloc with its golden-glowing, child-enticing display. I’d avoid the speakers though. They were menacing. A pair of vast, cloth-covered monoliths that I knew would try to crush the life out of me if they had half a chance. In fact, this Russian brick of a thing looked (and sounded) like the manufacturers had fed it steroids from a very early age.
Provenance aside, our magnificent teak beast, with its exotic radio dial and slide-out record deck, ignited my passion for recorded music. It also sowed the seeds of a wallet-draining love for the equipment that reproduces it.
From my little second-hand Pye cassette player/ Bush transistor radio combo that I used to record the Sunday evening Top 20 chart with (second-guessing when to press “stop” before the DJ spoke) to my current power-hungry Hi-Fi set-up, I’ve spent a small fortune trying to fill my home with perfect sound. Audio heroin I call it – just one more tweak and I’ll give up…
Apart from football (a forthcoming post of its own), my other loves are books and writing. Since reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (over and over and over and over) as a kid, my devotion to the written word has never diminished. I love how words sound, how they look and the power they have to elicit emotions.
From the moment I learned to read and write I was always scribbling down stories, making up rhymes, compiling lists or doing crosswords. I dreamt of one day becoming a journalist or author.
In 1978, one inspirational teacher, Mr Dickinson, saw a spark in me. I was just 14 and he inspired me to become the youngest secondary school student in Somerset to pass my English ‘O’ Levelexam. For a time afterwards, I really thought that my dreams of a career involving writing could come true.
Sadly, my school’s “helpful” careers master didn’t. He decided that such flouncy aspirations weren’t achievable for an ordinary teenager from a rural farming village. He thought “making rivets and cogs” or “mending oily things” was my calling. It wasn’t. And so, that summer, along with my dad, my dreams died.
As I’ve already promised to only include the relevant stuff, I’m going to skip a large part of the 1980s. It’s not that they were dull, far from it (at one point I was the only cider drinking, motorbike riding, New Romantic Mod in the village), but I’m pretty sure you don’t want to hear about my aborted ‘A’ Levels, pathologically dull office jobs (and firings) or my stint as an underwhelming insurance salesman.
So, moving on…
In 1989, after a chance meeting with my soon-to-be-colleague whilst on holiday in Lanzarote, I somehow blagged my way into a sales role with PolyGram Records. I’m still not sure whether I got the job on merit or whether my pleading and tears in the interview were deciding factors. Whatever the reasons I will always be eternally grateful to those people (they know who they are) for giving me the chance of a lifetime. Of several lifetimes if I’m honest.
Although there are many more tales to be told from my record company days, the Blog already has several dotted throughout its pages, including this one about my ridiculous meeting with Dire Straits frontman, Mark Knopfler.
After 10 happy years at PolyGram (now Universal Music), I joined Virgin Records and moved to London to work in radio promotions and National Accounts.
Being in London meant being at the heart of the action, and the action was always plentiful and often outrageous. Rivets, cogs and oily things it definitely wasn’t; sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll it regularly was. (I’m currently checking with lawyers about the potential for lawsuits if I publish some of the more lurid stories!)
Sadly, all good things come to an end and due to EMI and Virgin merging their operations, I accepted a redundancy package and moved back to Somerset in 2004.
I worked for a couple of small labels and a distributor during the next couple of years but with record shop closures gathering pace and companies shedding staff because of mergers and falling sales, I knew the time had come to move on.
To say I was like the proverbial child in a sweet shop every day of those incredible 15 years would be a huge understatement. l still miss the buzz and excitement of working in such an amazing industry, but I have some wonderful memories and count myself incredibly lucky to have done so, even for such a relatively short time.
I’m still as crazy about music as ever, I still exasperate Mrs Egg Box by spending too much money on records and books and I still harbour grand ideas about writing for a living. However, until I get that offer from a publisher offering me a six-figure book deal to spill the beans, I’ll keep posting nonsense for an audience that, on good days, can even be counted on two hands.