Peter Riley, born 1940. English poet, writer, etc., who in the 1970s started writing about improvised music, mainly in the now defunct magazine Musics. He has also acted as promoter & activist to the music and carrier of guitar cases and chairs. His collected writings about music form a book which will not be published, and the activity is largely discontinued in the absence of any regular periodical for Improvised music, or, indeed, of any much music to write about.
Following an excerpt of Peter Riley’s biography written by himself.
I was born in 1940, in Stockport, near Manchester, in an environment of working people, and entered higher education through Britain’s post-war socialistic educational policies. After an interesting year selling kitchen furniture and lampshades in Manchester department stores, I went to Pembroke College, Cambridge, to read English. Vocational uncertainty led to over a year in London with varied employment but mostly walking the city and getting married. Having located a thesis subject – the novelist and story-writer T.F.Powys – I moved to Hastings where the Powys family kept a hoard of unpublished manuscripts, and then to Hove, working on the thesis part-time at the University of Sussex and employed occasionally as bus conductor, then language teacher. Having become acquainted with an association of poets centred on Cambridge I subscribed to the privately circulated worksheet The English Intelligencer of historic fame, and took over its editorship for part of 1967.
Quite a lot older now, and obsessed with Transylvanian village bands, without abandoning former allegiances.Rarely writes on music these days, but poetry and prose of various kinds.