ABOUT THE BOOK:
BLURB On the Road Not Taken is a memoir about the transformational power of music. It begins with a boy growing up in a small town on the Kent coast in the 1970s, who learns to play the guitar and dreams of heading out on the open road with a head full of songs. But when the moment comes to make the choice he is not brave enough to try and do it for a living.
Time passes but the desire to explain the world through music never goes away. And as the years go by it gets harder and harder to risk looking like a fool, of doing the very thing he would most like to do, of actually being himself. Eventually, thirty-five years later, when it feels like time is running out, he walks out onto a stage in front of 500 people and begins to sing again.
What follows is an extraordinary period of self-discovery as he plays pubs, clubs, theatres and festivals, overcoming anxiety to experience the joy of performance.
This was delightful book about one man’s journey through music. It is told in two timelines, one when Paul is younger and has a head full of songs. He dreams of stardom.
The other timeline finds a somewhat jaded Paul whose dreams lie shattered at his feet!
Though he still works in the music business as part of a larger ensemble he cannot make the leap into a solo career and as time passes it becomes no more than a pipedream.
He found himself as he says in his own words getting a normal job instead. A lot of this normal job has found Paul involved in the arts; this involves writing about fourteen screenplays for Radio4, a drama-documentary for BBC2 and also wrote the screenplay and music for four musicals commissioned by the Theatre Royal Bath and also continued to direct and produce dramas and documentaries for BBC radio.
A turning point was when his father was in hospital in 2000 after contracting lung cancer. Recuperating after an operation he told Paul of an episode in his life he had never spoken of before.
It was the late 1940’s and he had recently qualified as an engineer with a love of mechanics and a passion for inventing new machines. He spent 18 months in the City, employed by a Norwegian entrepreneur, designing a fabric printing press they hoped would revolutionise the clothing industry. As he spoke, it was as if his City came to life. He could see the bombsites, feel the thick London smog and sensed his frustration at the machine that never quite worked as he hoped. And that is when he realised how little he really knew about his life. He died soon afterwards and his stories died with him. He had never written them down. That’s when he began to write stories from his own life .
This example of how his father’s dreams had never worked out for him set Paul thinking, he had a dream and at least he tried! So Paul tentatively picked up his music career and from baby steps has seen him progress to pubs, on stage and even festivals.
One thing to take from this book is that your never too old to dream!
Paul Dodgson is a writer, radio producer, teacher and musician. Paul joined the BBC as a studio manager and went on to become a producer making programmes for all BBC Radio networks. In 2001 Paul left the BBC and has since written 16 plays for BBC Radio 4 and been a member of the Eastenders writing team. In the theatre Paul has written several plays for young people and been commissioned to write music and lyrics for five musicals including The Nutcracker at Theatre Royal Bath and Nuffield Southampton. Paul has taught creative writing around the world, has been writer-in-residence at Exeter University and a Hawthornden Fellow. Paul has a particular interest in teaching techniques of memoir writing and three of his BBC radio plays have told life stories including On The Road Not Taken, which began life on BBC Radio 4.