From the descant recorder through piano lessons and the flute and, most significantly, The Guitar I have been involved in many diverse musical projects over the years.

1967-1972 The Amen

The diary of a Christian Beat Group

I grew up in the town of Newbury in the county of Berkshire (UK).

When I was about 14 years old I used to go to an interdenominational midweek fellowship evening a couple of times a month. It was organised by Mr Hubert Summersby, the owner of a small department store in Newbury Market place called "Beynons". Mr Summersby would hire the Baptist or, more usually, the Congregational Church Hall and book impressive visiting speakers like (Brother) Tom Butler from up north.
Probably the biggest attraction to me however was "The Gospel Tones" - a singing group with melodicas and a GUITAR.
Mr Summersby’s son, Richard, was a youth leader, some 6 years older than me, and he owned and played a guitar, led and sang in the group. He had even made his own bass guitar.
This mightily impressed me, a fairly sheltered, naïve, young Christian lad.
Mum and Dad were badgered into buying me an f-hole acoustic guitar for my 15th birthday - it was highly lacquered and had "Magic" on the headstock and I thought it was!
Guitars were largely considered to be too worldly for most church stuff back then but times they were a-changin’. "Youth Praise" was about to be published.

early amen.jpg

Some eighteen months later, post Bert Weedon’s "Play in a Day", the Gospel Tones were no more and I was proud and thrilled to be invited to join Richard’s new group.
A single pickup Höfner Senator replaced the old Magic (by now fitted with a cheap Dearmond pickup).
We called ourselves "The A-Men".
Below is a diary of all the bookings that we did over the years along with a few pictures.
Have a look - we may have visited a church hall near you!

Visit this link to listen to The A-Men.

Amen Audio

A glimpse into the past...

And There's You

The Amen
The Amen
Richard Summersby

Cattleshed Rock

The Amen
The Amen
Richard Summersby

Do it Now

The Amen
The Amen
Richard Summersby

Don't you Realise?

The Amen
The Amen
Richard Summersby

Gift of God

The Amen
The Amen
Richard Summersby

Natural Born Again Boogie

The Amen
The Amen
Richard Summersby

No Time

The Amen
The Amen
Richard Summersby


The Amen
The Amen
Richard Summersby

Still Small Voice

The Amen
The Amen
Richard Summersby

The Place of a Skull

The Amen
The Amen
Richard Summersby


The Amen
The Amen
Herb Payne

Your Mind

The Amen
The Amen
Herb Payne

The Amen Repertoire

(Do it) now!
10,000 angels
100 years
Accept Him
And it's you
Can it be you?
Does He really figure in your life?
Don't you realise?
Forgiving God blues
Friend for you
Gift of God
God cares for you
Green hill
How can you refuse Him now?
How great thou art
If and But
It is no secret
Jesus is the Saviour
Just a closer walk
Keep me in your love
Long lost cause
Lord on our side
Love that's all around
Many years ago
Mountain railroad
Mr Self Sufficient
My God is real
Natural born again boogie
No time
Old fashioned meeting
Pearly gates
Portrait of Jesus
Sinner man
Sunday morning
That's how the world goes around
The place of the skull
The Voice
Water into wine
We shall not be moved
Were you there?
What you want
When I come to the river
Whole wide world
World of God's own
You know it's true
Your mind

The Amen diaries - 1967



We kick off with Richard on guitar (Burns Marvin) and vocals, Herb (Graham) on lead guitar (Höfner Senator) and Tony Redstall on drums.

20th St Bartholomew's Christian Union
28th Over 60's Social Evening - Newbury Baptist


At the beginning of February Derek Trivette joins the group on bass guitar and vocals. Herb upgrades to a red Höfner Colorama later to be sprayed white to match the other guitars.

11th Maidenhead House Squash
17th Valentines Party, Headley
24th Wantage Baptist Church Youth Club
26th Green Lane mission, Thatcham

"Squash" is a curious term meaning something like "an informal youth meeting usually held in someone's house".


3rd "Festival of Queens", Corn Exchange, Newbury
30th Mortimer


14th-16th Bracknell Youth Weekend, Worthing


It was a fashional thing to do for a church trying to reach young people to organise a regular coffee bar. These were often in disused shops but sometimes in church halls. Coloured lights and large drapped fishing nets usually employed to created the ambience.

13th Bracknell Coffee Bar, Priestwood Youth Centre


Throughout most its life the group practises every Thursday evening at Henwick Court with the kind permission of Miss Christine Davies. It must have been a terrible racket to put up with.

17th Newbury Coffee Bar, Brigade Hall - with Jimmy Darius


17th Newbury Coffee Bar, Brigade Hall - with Jimmy Darius
16th Evensong, Chieveley Parish church.
Amen_Jul16 67 Chieveley

Tony leaves the group this month to do teacher training


We recruit Paul Needham on drums.

16th Romsey Baptist Bar-B-Q
17th Evensong, Chieveley Parish Church.


9th "Cliff" rally, Whitchurch Methodist
14th "Glory Hole" coffee bar, Bible Pattern Church, Newbury
15th Evensong, Chieveley Parish Church
15th "Glory Hole" coffee bar, Bible Pattern church, Newbury
Amen_Oct 67 GloryHole
Amen_Oct 67 GloryHole
27th Halloween Party, Headley
28th Nu Kreetcha, Reading

"The Nu Kreetcha" was THE place to play for local Christian bands. It was in a shop condemned for re-developement at the bottom of Castle Hill.


"The Coke Hole" was more than a coffee bar in the basement of an Andover church. It became a trust for helping youngsters with drug related problems.

5th Tilehurst after church fellowship
18th Nu Kreetcha, Reading
19th Evensong, Chieveley Parish Church
19th Squash, Kingsclere
25th Coffee Bar, Maidenhead
29th Coke Hole, Andover


1st Coffee bar, St Birinus church, Calcot
10th Evensong, Chieveley Parish Church
30th Nu Kreetcha, Reading
31st Mortimer Methodist Church

The Amen diaries - 1968



8th 21st Party, Bucklebury
13th "The Way" coffee bar, Swindon

"The Way" was a regular coffee bar held in the upstairs rooms of a disused shop in Swindon. I remember some rough visitors.


3rd "The Way" coffee bar, Swindon
Amen_Spring68 THEWAY

9th Nu Kreetcha, Reading
11th Whitchurch Parish Church, nr Pangbourne
17th Andover Congregational coffee bar
18th Andover Congregational church service
21st Coke Hole, Andover
24th The Way, Swindon
28th Young People's mission, Shipton Bellinger
Amen_68 colorama smile


22nd Nu Kreetcha, Reading
23rd The Koupe coffee bar, Eastleigh Baptist with the "Free Folk".


19th St Birinus youth club, Calcot
24th Grammar school Christian Union, Swindon
26th The Way, Swindon
27th Crowning the Reading Temperance Queen


10th Nu Kreetcha, Reading
11th British Transport Christian Fellowship, Providence Free Church, Reading
18th Youth for Christ, Swindon with "Last Week's Collection"
19th Andover Congregational Church


8th Andover Crusade for Christ (outside Guildhall)
Amen_Jun8 68 AndoverYFC1.
Amen_Jun 8 68 AndoverYFC2
29th Romsey Youth for Christ, Abbey Hall
White Guitars

The AMen Unplugged. Richard introduces his Gibson J45 for some songs.

6th Romsey Baptist Bar-B-Q
10th Andover Carnival, Congregational church float
13th Andover Crusade for Christ, playing fields
28th Evening service, Bible Pattern church, Newbury
30th Andover Bar-B-Q, Picket Piece


30th Nu Kreetcha, Reading


7th Newbury Congregational "Piscados" club
8th Newbury Baptist squash
11th Henley Baptist "New People" club


Herb trades in his Colorama for a Harmony H75 3 pickup sunburst guitar.

11th Oxford Brethren coffee bar, James St hall
13th Bridge St. Methodist evening service, Andover
16th Commonweal school, Swindon. Harmony H75 purchased
19th Huntercombe Borstal, Nuffield
A Borstal - an institution for reforming and training young offenders. The Vicar had a beautiful old Alvis and drank hot water and brown sugar before bed.
20th Huntercombe Borstal morning service Nuffield Parish church
22nd Mortimer Youth club
26th Shinfield Free Evangelical coffee bar


15th St. Marybourne Methodist guild
20th Henley Baptist coffee bar
23th Gorse Hill Baptist church, Swindon
29th Abingdon Barge youth club

The church in Abingdon had a narrow boat ("barge") on the river as a facility for youth work. Slightly cramped for a band.


1st Northcott church, Oxford, squash
4th Grately youth club, nr Andover
13th Whitney Technical College Christmas Special (with Nigel Goodwin, Jimmy Darius etc)
23rd Huntercombe Borstal

The Amen diaries - 1969



Richard changes his J45 into a Gibson J200 beastie.

10th Abingdon Barge coffee bar
19th Henley Baptist church
24th Assemblies of God, Basingstoke.


The Marvin develops cracks in the paintwork and goes to be resprayed. It'll never be the same again! This was an original Marvin with the carved "violin" headstock.

15th Crossways coffee bar, Havant.


A regular newsletter is published from this month.

5th Andover Bridge Street Methodist. Young Wives Club
7th Basingstoke Baptist, in aid of "Shelter"
12th Henley Baptist youth club
14th Abingdon Barge coffee bar
21st Basingstoke Folk evening
23rd Newbury Baptist "Breakout" mission, service with a team of students from Spurgeon's college
25th Newbury Baptist "Breakout" mission, coffee bar
26th Grately youth club


3rd Chilterns Crusade, Amersham
4th Good Friday service, Oxford Town hall (with Richard Wurmbrand)
6th Catacombs coffee bar / disco, Oxford
(I remember this is where someone first suggested I check out Eric Clapton.)
13th North Leigh Memorial Hall, nr Whitney, youth meeting
15th W.E.C. Andover Baptist
Amen Spring69
17th W.E.C. Whitchurch Methodist
20th Milbourne Port Congregational service and squash
26th Temperance Spring Festival, West Reading Methodist


Herb upgrades again - this time to a Baldwin Burns Baby Bison (sunburst). "This was a nice guitar."

3rd Coffee bar, Cheltenham Teachers Training College arranged by Tony Redstall (our ex-drummer)
4th Evening service, College chapel, Cheltenham
10th Glory Hole coffee bar, Marston Shelton nr Bedford run by Irene Wardle and Ralph Chambers
11th Glory Hole coffee bar, Marston Shelton,
18th Evening service and afterwards, Farnborough Baptist.
31st Mustard Seed restaurant, Sheffield with Dave Stillman and "New Song" folk group

"The Mustard Seed" was special. It was run as a full-time coffee bar in faraway Sheffield. We felt it a privilege to be invited to play there.


Richard finally gets his Marvin back!

1st Leicester Prison with Dave Stillman and "New Song" folk group
6th Binfield Bar-B-Q
7th Crossways coffee bar, Havant
8th Methodist camp meetings, Chieveley with Hannington Brass band
13th Reading University
15th Catacombs coffee bar / disco, Oxford
20th Assemblies of God, Basingstoke
21st Upper Gornal, Dudley, Glory Hole coffee bar
22nd Upper Gornal, Dudley, Glory Hole coffee bar.
29th Crusader's club, Wroughton, nr Swindon


6th Swindon Youth Week with "The Ribbonettes", "The Proclaimers" and Phil Vogel
9th "Sausage Sizzle", Tent meeting, Marcham nr Abingdon with Ken Brighton
12th Andover Crusade for Christ, Playing Fields
19th Audition for Musical Gospel Outreach, Dive Inn, Kingston with Geoff Shearn and John Webb


23rd Youth for Christ, Abbey Hall, Romsey with Ernest Plant


7th Lambourne Methodist Church
12th Basingstoke Baptist Young People
21st Andover Congregational Youth service
25th Chippenham "Flipside" rally with Dave Stillman
26th Reading "Flipside" rally, Providence church with Dave Stillman


Paul decides to leave the group this month - we are drummer-less. Nigel Woolmer tries out for a couple of gigs but this turns out to be temporary.

3rd Shipton Bellinger Youth Club
5th Newbury Baptist Church, "Progression or Stagnation"
10th Maidenhead Barbeque with Ken Brighton
11th Youth Squash, WEC HQ, Bulstrode, High Wycombe
12th Bible Pattern Church, Newbury
18th "Link Up" rally, St Mary's, Crawley.
19th "Link Up" rally, Crawley.
24th Coffee Bar, British Legion, Saffron Waldon
25th Brethren Hall, Saffron Waldon


Herb introduces the flute into the set.

1st "The Coffee Cellar", Lewisham
2nd Cirencester Crusaders Union Weekend
5th Bonfire Nite, Easthamstead Park
8th Barbeque, Lane End, High Wycombe
12th Henley Baptist Youth Club
22nd "Getaway" Coffee Bar, Hilltop Free Church, Earley, Reading
23rd Amersham Old Town, Baptist Youth service
29th "13th Hour" coffee bar, Wolverhampton
30th "13th Hour" coffee bar, Wolverhampton & evening service


A new Baldwin Marvin for Richard purchased from Peter Dyke in a music shop under Centrepoint after much soul-searching. Is it to be a Strat or a Marvin?. This guitar was not a match for the old Burns however and it never quite satisfies.

2nd Romsey Youth for Christ with Dave Stillman, Abbey Hall
5th Romsey Youth for Christ with Dave Stillman and "Three in One"
6th "Selah" coffee bar, Oak Hall, Harrow Weald
13th Richmond "Flipside" rally, Duke Street Baptist with Dave Stillman
14th "Barge" coffee bar, Abingdon with Eddie Vass
20th Burghfield Common coffee bar with Dave Stillman
27th New Park Baptist coffee bar, Streatham
28th New Park Baptist evening service, Streatham

The Amen diaries - 1970



9th Ebenezer Youth Club, Didcot with Ken Brighton
10th "The Mustard Seed", Sheffield
17th "The Coffee Cellar", Lewisham
30th "New Christian Sound", St Lawrence's Hall, Reading with "Change","Two Good Reasons", Dick Hall, "Messengers", "Shepherds Hut"
31st Gospel Hall, Liphook


7th Huntercombe Borstal, Nuffield
8th Huntercombe Borstall and Nuffield Parish church
14th Maidenhead House Squash
15th North Caversham Congregational service
22nd Elim church, Reading
27th "Truth for Youth", A.O.G. Basingstoke


1st Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham
8th Crusader's Club, Wroughton, Nr Swindon
13th Film Rally ("Misfit"), Argyle chapel, Reading
15th Stoke Row Free church, Nr Henley-on-Thames
17th Coffee Bar, Naphill Evangelical Free church with Ken Brighton
Amen_mid70 Flute
20th Ebenezer Youth Club, Didcot
24th Coffee Bar, Naphill Evangelical Free church with Ken Brighton
28th "New Life for All", Woodstock Rd Baptist, Oxford


4th "13th Hour" coffee bar, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton
5th Morning and evening services, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton "13th Hour" coffee bar, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton
11th "Getaway" coffee bar, Earley, Reading
12th North Leigh Memorial Hall, Nr Witney
19th Newbury Baptist Squash
Amen_Apr70 HerbFlute
Amen_Apr 70 RichardandMarvin
Amen_Apr 70 DerekSings


2nd "The Coffee Cellar", Lewisham
10th Botley Road Elim, Oxford
16th "No 1 Gospel Disco", Sidcup, with Ralph Chambers
17th "No 1 Gospel Disco", Sidcup, with Ralph Chambers


We record a dozen songs (2 track overdubs on a Revox) and produce an acetate.

13th Recording at Capel Studios.
Amen_Jun70 STUDIO
Amen_Jun70 J200POSE.
Amen_Jun70 j200 pout
14th Checkendon Parish church, Nr Henley
20th Recording at Capel Studios
27th Coffee bar, British Legion Hall, Saffron Waldon


5th Open air, Golf course, Nuffield
31st Coffee bar, Faringdon with Ken Brighton


2nd Morning service, Arborfield Army camp


26th "Selah Coffee bar", Harrow Weald


1st Bible society rally, Congregational Hall, Newbury
2nd "Pop Concert", St Mary's church, Maidenhead with "The Overcomers"
4th Elim youth service, Reading
11th Youth service, Winterslow Methodist
17th Youth service, Welcome Hall, Witney


A brand new 50 watt Vox transistor PA amplifier is purchased.

14th "Youth Contact" coffee bar, Ross-on-Wye with Billy Strachen
21st Barbeque, Water Hill farm, Wokingham
Amen_ Nov70 Wokingham
Amen_Nov70 Wokingham
Amen_Nov70 derek wokingham
Amen_Nov70 Herb wokingham
22nd Newbury Baptist Squash
25th Youth Club, Eynsham, Nr Oxford


5th "13th Hour" coffee bar, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton
6th "13th Hour" coffee bar, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton
12th Binfield Free church
23rd Youth for Christ Christmas concert, Swindon

The Amen diaries - 1971



2nd National Crusaders Camp Reunion, Westminster Central Hall
9th Coffee bar, Congregational Hall, Andover
17th Luckley Public School for Girls, Wokingham
23rd Concert, Tilehurst Methodist Hall
28th "Why?", coffee bar, Westminster College, Oxford
30th/31st Coffee bar, Labour Hall, Saffron Waldon


Richard finally turns his back on Marvins and acquires a sunburst Fender Stratocaster with a hard tail.

7th Northway church, Nr Oxford
13th Coffee bar, Birkbeck chapel, Sidcup
Amen_Feb71 SIDCUP
14th Covenanters, Sidcup
20th Coffee bar, Birkbeck chapel, Sidcup.

Amen_Feb71 moody sidcup

21st Covenanters, Sidcup


Martin Wells, an old friend, joins us as an evangelist, roadie and sound man. Until now he has been living in Brixton and playing guitar in a similar band called "Cornerstone".

Herb gets a Gibson - a second-hand ES345TDC Stereo.

6th "Selah coffee bar", Harrow Weald
13th Barbeque, Winterslow, Nr Salisbury
Amen_mid 71 FLUTE
Amen_mid 71 GIBSON

21st Arborfield Parish church plus after-service
27th Youth rally, Baptist church High Wycombe with Ken Brighton


4th Evening service, R.E.M.E., Arborfield
8th Coffee bar, Union Baptist, Eastleigh
17th City Challenge rally, Salisbury


2nd Lord Wandsworth College, Long Sutton
15th "The Permanent Revolution", Trumpington, Nr Cambridge
16th Free church, Trumpington, Nr Cambridge
23rd North Leigh Memorial Hall, Nr Witney


6th All Saints church, Upper Bucklebury
8th Tent meeting, Yately
13th Luckley Public School for Girls, Wokingham
19th "13th Hour" coffee bar, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton
20th "13th Hour" coffee bar, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton


3rd "Bible Reading rally", King's Meadow, Reading
4th Arborfield Parish church
11th Holy Trinity church, Bristol


Martin replaces Derek on bass guitar. Derek moves to the Oxford area to pursue a new career.

2nd Saffron Walden Teacher's Training college, coffee bar
3rd Saffron Walden Teacher's Training college afternoon meeting
4th Open air at Ock fair, Abingdon with Jimmy Darius
9th "Burning Bush" coffee bar, Bournemouth
16th YPF evening, St Andrew's, Great Ilford
23rd Pathfinder's evening, Christchurch, Abingdon
24th Youth service, Newbury Baptist and afterwards
31st Evening service, Bible Pattern church and afterwards


Rupert Notley begins to play with us regularly on drums.

6th Evening rally, Russell Road Elim, Palmers Green, London
7th Services, Russell Road Elim, Palmers Green, London
13th Concert, Tower Road Gospel hall, Liphook
20th "Getaway" coffee bar, Earley
27th Romsey Youth for Christ, Abbey Hall
28th After church coffee bar, Romsey Baptist


5th Crusader's meeting, Cirencester
11th House squash, Maidenhead with Mr Grunbaum
12th Maidenhead Youth Centre

The Amen diaries - 1972



15th "13th Hour" coffee bar, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton
16th "13th Hour" coffee bar, St Matthew's, Wolverhamton
29th Coffee bar, Birkbeck chapel, Sidcup without Richard (Colin & Kevin on vocals)


19th "Youth Contact", Henry St Hall, Ross-on-Wye


5th Arborfield Parish church and afterwards with Vic Jacobsen

Amen_Mar72 arborfield

18th Crusaders at Wantage Baptist
24th Faringdon Corn Hall coffee bar
26th Romsey Baptist and afterwards (with Kevin, Marg and Hazel)


Around this time Herb finds an old, beat-up Fender Strat, renovates it and sprays it white. Two guitars!

1st Youth for Christ, Eastleigh
9th North Leigh, Windmill Gospel hall and afterwards at Memorial Hall
15th Tower Road Gospel hall, Liphook
29th British Legion Hall, Saffron Waldon


6th Youth for Christ, Museum Theatre, Bristol
14th Maidenhead Youth Centre
20th Salisbury "City Challenge" rally, Town Hall with Tony Stone


3rd Barbeque, Waterton House, Cirencester
10th Summer Sounderama '73, Eldon Road, Eastbourne

Amen_mid72 with wells

17th "The Tomb", Brunswick Road Baptist, Gloucester


1st Winterslow Barbeque in the Barn
8th Indoor Barbeque (raining), Cumnor, Nr Oxford
15th Godalming Jesus Festival with "The Clearways" and "Something Else Entirely"
16th Eastleigh, After church meeting, Town Hall
22nd Basingstoke Festival for Jesus with Raleigh MacKenzie, "His Way", Andrew Culverwell, "New Creation", Gerald Coates etc
23rd St Aldate youth service, Oxford

"Something Elso Entirely" (as opposed to the Pythonesque "Something Completely Different") was another Christian Rock Band led by David Oliver later to become an elder at Basingstoke Community Church


23rd Romsey Barbeque
30th Salisbury Festival of Light, Jesus Festival, Market Hall with "Corpus Cristi", Raleigh and "His Way"

"His Way" was a worship group based at Basingstoke Community Church. Herb and Martin were also involved in this project.


Herb and Martin give Richard notice that they intend to leave to concentrate on "His Way".

1st Sunday Youth Club, Women's League hall, Carterton Nr Witney
3rd Barbeque, Shoreditch Teacher training college, Egham with Randy Stonehill
8th Reading Prison
9th Ock Fair, Abingdon Baptist
10th Ock Fair, Abingdon Baptist
13/14th Night Life, all night youth convention, Kings Rd Baptist, Reading with Cliff & Char, and "New Wine"
21st Festival of Light Jesus rally, Hoglands Park, Southamption with Randy Stonehill, "Breath", Vic Ramsey and Tony Stone Herb & Martin give notice
21st Youth rally, New Farm chapel, Arlesford
27th Pollington Borstall, Nr Goole
28th Youth rally, Standering Hall, St James church, Selby
29th Morning services, St John the Baptist, Pollington


18th "Youth Contact", Ross Youth Centre, Ross-on-Wye
19th "Youth Contact", Henry St Hall, Ross-on-Wye


3rd King Edwards mixed boarding school, Witley, Nr Godalming
9th Christmas Coffee evening, Shirley Baptist, Southampton

1972 His Way

Here are some songs from around 1972 as performed by "His Way".

The material has been salvaged from a cassette and is in mono.The quality is not great.

"His Way" was formed from members of the young people's group at Basingstoke Baptist Church (later to be Basingstoke Community Church). John Burton got us all together and his enthusiasm was an inspiration. Raleigh McKenzie was really musical director - he also wrote many of the songs and sang and played with us.

His Way were... Allison Martin, Andy Kenward, Anne Woods, Dale Robotham, Hazel Evans, Kevin Floyd and Margie Evans on vocals, John Burton on piano, Herb Payne on guitar and Martin Wells on bass...

Martin and I eventually had to leave The Amen in order to concentrate on His Way - sorry Richard!

His Way were invited out on numerous occasions - I think we were quite busy. We did a lot of gigs but, as Raleigh pointed out, if we knew what a gig was we wouldn't use the term. (I still don't understand that!) We even made it to the Isle of Wight for a festival (not THE festival) and appeared on Dutch television, travelling to Hilversum to record the show. We travelled and shared the show with the 11:59 band who we had begun to know about this time.

His Way got together in a partial form for Martin's 40th birthday at the end of 1990 - here are some pictures...


Raleigh McKenzie

Raleigh was a great jazz guitarist, singer and songwriter. A very humble man and a man of faith. Here are some of his songs recorded with His Way in the early 1970's.

1973 Come Together

Jimmy Owens' significant musical.
Through our links with John and Ros Harding, leaders of the 11:59 group, we got to hear of auditions at Holy Trinity. Brompton, for this musical. Several of us attended and were accepted onto the cast. There was a gruelling rehearsal schedule and a nationwide tour with Pat Boone.

The Tour
Usher Hall, Edinburgh - 12th Sept. 8pm performance. Travel by Flying Scotsman from Kings Cross.
Birmingham - 13th Sept. 8pm performance. By train from Edinburgh.
Liverpool - 14th Sept. 8pm performance. By coach from Liverpool.
Belfast - 15th Sept. 7pm performance. By charter flight from Liverpool then directly to Bristol after the performance.
Colston Hall, Bristol - 16th Sept. 8:30pm performance. Coach back to London.
Royal Albert Hall, London - 17th and 18 Sept
Coventry - 19th Sept. By coach.
Hemel Hempsted - 20th Sept. By coach.
Bournemouth - 21st Sept. By coach.
There were further performances at the Royal Albert Hall on the 17th and 18th December 1973.

After the tour the were several local teams who rehearsed and put on perfornaces in their own regions around the country. We became involved in a Basingstoke centred cast.


1974 Veron Kinkade

This piece of work again came from our relationship with the 11:59 group. Their lead guitarist, Peter Poyser, invited me to session on guitar for an album that Veron recorded in Eastbourne. Phil ("Pip") Hillsden also played guitar and Margie and Sally sang backing vocals and doo-wops.Veron was, I think, West Indian and an evangelist with the Assemblies of God. He wrote his own material, sang and played guitar.

1975 Yesterday, Today, Forever


As alluded to previously, during the life of "His Way" we came across, and worked with, another Christian band from the villages close to Thame and Aylesbury. The band was called "11:59". We even did a Dutch TV program with them. After they felt God asking them to disband the group and do a new thing I got an invitation out of the blue to audition to play guitar in their major project called...


In the beginning...

Yesterday Today Forever came about because the 11.59 group really wanted to take their emphasis away from leading in worship, in order to take up more initiative in evangelism.
Leaders John and Ross Harding saw it as furthering the ministry of the group, and the finished product is a combination of worship and evangelism - not just a technological masterpiece, but a deep spiritual experience.

The theme

It was a musical drama of the life of Christ from Genesis to Revelation. Straight Scripture from start to finish. When asked what is the message of the show, John replies "Simply a declaration of truth. The aim is to present the gospel in a way that is understood, using today's modern techniques as sensitively and professionally as we know how. There are three complete stage sets. Theres a complicated lighting system. There's quadraphonic sound, a 50-piece choir, a 12-piece band, dance, narration, and great variety in music - rock, folk, classical, Elizabethan, plain song, blues And the film. Back projected on a huge screen, and shot specially for the show, mostly in the USA, by Jim Swackhammer, the Canadian film director who produced "Why should the devil have all the good music?"

Heading up...

John and Ross Harding

YTF was just a part of the ministry of John and Ross. As well as leading the 11.59 group, they also figured prominently in the village community in Cuddington, near Aylesbury, where they lived with their three children. John also served in the parish church.

Bob Graham

The show's director. A drummer of repute both as a session man and on stage with many big name groups since the early 1960's and a record producer in the UK and Europe. He joined with John and Ross as a result of their mutual involvement with the original Come Together tour.

Jonathan Francis

The conductor, and joint arranger with Peter Poyser of 11.59. Jonathan was a freelance double bass player, and a member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Behind the scenes

Yesterday Today Forever is a big production. John first sat down to write in March 1974, and throughout the whole of 1975 all the participants thrashed out difficulties and set-backs... Where will the show be presented? We need more musicians! There's never enough coffee in this place! There isn't a screen big enough for the film in this country!... these kind of problems. There was the need to keep the show in perspective... to include the children in all the activity, and not to neglect the community. As the pressure built up it brought to the surface areas of weakness and stress in the lives of many of the performers. There were times during rehearsals when the music was put to one side while the folks ministered to each other. The blessings started before the show!

The theatre

The New Theatre Oxford seats 1700, and is one of the leading theatres outside London. In fact it is comparable to, if not better than many of the capital's theatres, and is often used as a springboard for shows destined for a London stage.

Speaking personally...

George Tarleton: "For too long the proclamation of the Good News has been divorced from real Praise. This presentation is, I believe, the beginning of a new phase of Evangelism with a capital E."

Gerald Coates: "I thank God that in the current move of the Spirit, people are feeling the need to express themselves creatively to God and to one another. John and Ross have already established themselves in this realm, and I see YTF as a real breakthrough for them - an extension of their creative personality."

Colin Jee, Rural Dean of Waddesdon: "John and Ross Harding have a great gift for setting the words of Scripture to music. I believe YTF will give inspiration to Christians and unbelievers alike."

Peter Hill: "Seeing is believing. See it!"

Yesterday Today Forever was performed at the New Theatre Oxford between 3rd to 8th and 10th to 15th November 1975.
All performances began at 7.30 pm and seats cost £1 wherever you sat.

An article from the Basingstoke Gazette

Helping spread the gospel in a spectacular style are three young men from the Basingstoke area and it means travelling 80 miles a night.

AA workers Herbie Payne, 25, and Simon Fenwick, 22 and Martin Wells, 24, who works for ITT, are some of the 200 who are now staging Yesterday, Today. Forever, a musical drama of the life of Christ. at Oxford's New Theatre.

The Basingstoke trio travel farther that any other performer or production team members during the show's two-week run.[img_assist|nid=331|title=|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=65|height=100]

Herbie of Winsome Cottage, South Warnborough, plays guitar in the 13-piece orchestra. Simon of Fallowfield, Dunleys Hill. Odiham, is in the 50-voice choir. while Martin of Bramblys Drive, is looking after the sound effects.

Although Yesterday, Today, Forever is a completely amateur production, it is also a lavish one. There are three complete stage sets, a complicated lighting system, quadraphonic sound. and a film specially made for the show back-projected on a huge screen.

To coincide with the start of the show this week, a double record album of the sound track has been released.

At the end of its Oxford season the show could tour other British centres and there is even talk of taking it to Toronto next year.

"It all depends. of course, on the public reaction to it in Oxford. " said Herbie. "Going to Toronto would need a lot of serious thought because it would mean being away for a month or more and giving up jobs to do so; but it also depends on how many Canadian people they would want to take part in it."


Bass Guitar: Roger Shrimpton
Acoustic 12 String: Ged Dyer
Acoustic 6 String: Herb Payne / John Harding
Electric Guitar/Flute: Herb Payne
Piano: Mike Atkins
String Organ: Bob Deeley / Jonathan Francis
Synthesiser: Peter Lowe / Jonathan Francis
Tymps/Bells: Stan Barrett
Latin Percussion: Bob Graham / Stan Barrett
Drums: Mark Millin
Military Snare Drum: Bob Graham
String Bass/Keyboards: Jonathan Francis


Hedi Taylor
Nigel Goodwin


Caroline Allen
Christopher Allen
Mark Millin
Ken Dallas
Marion Oliver
Loot Roach
Janet Byford
Nicky Collis
Simon Fenwick
Margaret Payne
Mike Atkins
Issy Atkins


Ross Harding
John Harding
Joanna Harding
Dave Devlin
Tim Lynk
Peter Richmond

'O My Dove' French Version: Elizabeth Kaufmann
German Version: Helmut Kaufmann

Produced by Bob Graham

Our thanks to Living Bible & RSV Bible for their kind permission to use passages from both.

Other instruments used

Celeste, Sugar Shaker, Record Rack, Children's Toys, Conn Organ, Road Drill, Plastic Guitar, Cough Medicine Bottle, Orchestral Cymbals, Congas, Bongos, Tambourine, Triangle, Auto Harp, Glockenspiel, Indian Bells, Baby's Rattle, Cowbell, Reso Reso, Flexitone, VC1O.

Here follows all the lyrics and narration from the show.
Read them, they are timeless and will bless you....

Part One: Creation

Let there be Light!
Genesis 1 / John 1 / Psalm 29

by John and Ross Harding

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God was moving, over the face of the waters.

Before anything existed there was Christ with God, He has always been alive, and Himself is God, He created everything there is, nothing exists He didn't make.
Eternal life is in Him, His life gives light to all mankind.

His life is the light, that shines through the darkness, And darkness can never put it out, Let there be light, Let there be light.

Ascribe to the Lord, Oh heavenly beings,
Ascribe to the Lord Glory and strength,
Ascribe to the Lord, the Glory of His Name. His Name!
Worship the Lord in Holy array.

The voice of the Lord is upon the waters,
The God of Glory thunders,
Powerful is the voice of the Lord of Glory, of Glory.
The voice of the Lord Is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord flashes flames, Flashes flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord, it shakes, the wilderness!

Before anything existed there was Christ with God, He has always been alive and Himself is God, He created everything there is, nothing exists He didn't make, Eternal life is in Him, His life gives light to all mankind, His life is the light that shines through the darkness, And darkness can never put it out. Let there be light. Let there be light. LET THERE BE LIGHT!

O Lord, Our Lord
Psalm 8

by Raleigh Mckenzie

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your Name, In all the earth, in all the earth,
O Lord our Lord, how majestic is your Name, In all the earth, in all the earth!

And your glory above the heavens is chanted by the mouths, of babes and infants, You have founded a bulwark, because of your foes to still the enemy and the avenger.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your Name, In all the earth, in all the earth,
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your Name, In all the earth, in all the earth!

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
The moon and the stars which you have established,
What is man that you are mindful of him,
And the Son of Man that you should care for him.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your Name, In all the earth, in all the earth,
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your Name, In all the earth, in all the earth.

Yet you have made man a little less than God, And have crowned him with glory and honour, You have given him dominion over the works of your hands, And have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes along the paths of the sea.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your Name, In all the earth, in all the earth,
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your Name, In all the earth, in all the earth, in all the earth!

And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good!

The Fall
Genesis 3

by Bob Graham

And the Lord God planted a garden, and there he put man whom He had formed, and out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for good. The tree of life also in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for on the day that you eat of it you shall die.' Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God say you shall not eat of any tree of the garden?' And the woman said to the serpent 'we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.' But the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not die, for God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'o when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden, in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him 'Where are you?' And he said, 'I heard the sound of you in the garden; and I was afraid, because I was naked and I hid myself.' He said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?' The man said. 'The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree, and I ate.' Then the Lord God said to the woman, 'What is this that you have done?' The woman said, 'The serpent beguiled me, and I ate.' The Lord God said to the serpent, 'Because you. have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals, upon your belly shall you go and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.'To the woman He said, 'I will greatly multiply your pain in child bearing. In pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.' And to the man He said, 'Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, You shall not eat of it, cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat of the plants of the field! In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you turn to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust and to dust you shall return!Then the Lord God said, 'Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever' - therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden, to till the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man; and placed angels and a flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life.

Instrumental: Holocaust of Sin

Behold the Lamb of God
Genesis 6 / John 1

by John and Ross Harding

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in all the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He'd made man on earth, and it grieved Him to His heart.

God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, That whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God sent His Son into the world, not to condemn the world, But that the world through Him might be saved.

God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, That whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God sent His Son into the world, not to condemn the world, But that the world through Him might be saved.

God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, That whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God sent His Son into the world, not to condemn the world, But that the world through Him might be saved.

'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!'

Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!

Part Two: The Teachings of Christ

The Temptations
Matthew 4

by John and Ross Harding

Then He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted by the devil. And He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards He was hungry.
Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made. If you are the Son of God command these stones become bread.
If you are the Son of God IF you are if YOU are if you ARE you can command that these stones become loaves of bread.

It is written; man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

If you are the Son of God - jump down from here:
for it is written; He will give His angels to keep care of you and on their hands they will bear you up - lest you strike your foot - against a stone.

Again it is written; Thou shalt not tempt the Lord your God.

All the kingdoms of the earth I will give to you, all these will I give to you, I keep nothing for myself, all these I will give to YOU, if you will - fall down and worship me.

You shall worship the Lord YOUR God, and Him only shall YOU SERVE!

The Earth is the Lord's
Psalm 24

by Roger Shrimpton

The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof;
The world and those who dwell therein,
For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established upon the rivers.

Who shall stand before the Lord? Who shall stand before the Lord?
He who is pure in act and thought, who does not worship idols, Or make false promises, the Lord will bless Him, God his Saviour will declare his innocence. Such are the people, such are the people who turn to God.

The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof;
The world and those who dwell therein,
For He has founded it, upon the seas,
And established upon the rivers.

Lift up your heads 0 gates, lift up your heads 0 gates!
And be lifted up 0 ancient doors.
That the King of Glory may come in, that the King of Glory may come in, That the King of Glory may come in.

Who is this King, this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle!

Lift up your heads 0 gates, lift up your heads 0 gates!
And be lifted up 0 ancient doors, That the King of Glory may come in, that the King of Glory may come in, That the King of Glory may come in.

Who is this King, this King of Glory?
The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory,
The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory,

The Proclamation
Luke 4

by John and Ross Harding

And He returned in the power of the Spirit, and a report concerning Him went out through all the surrounding country.

'Listen all of you: The Lord your God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.'

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
Because He has anointed me, to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives,
And sight to the blind, and sight to the blind.
To set at liberty those who are oppressed,
And proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

Blessed are You
Matthew 5

by John and Ross Harding

He looked and He saw the people and had compassion on them, for they were like sheep

Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
BIessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!

Remember Mary
Matthew 26

by John and Ross Harding

And a woman came to Him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it upon His feet.
I cannot look at your face - I dare not - for I have sinned so much and you know my heart. I want to look at you Jesus, but I have not the power to lift my eyes for I am guilty - oh so guilty. What can I do? For I am lost and yet you care - even for me. So I will pour this ointment upon you feet dear Lord. The ointment smells so sweet; smells so. sweet; and yet I am a broken creature, I'm only but dust, only dust.... till you turn to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust; and to dust you shall return.
You have done a beautiful thing to me Mary, in pouring this ointment on my body, you have prepared me for burial.
Your sins are forgiven, for you have loved much.

Matthew 21

by John and Ross Harding

Hosanna to the Son of David
Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest!
Go, go tell Jerusalem,
Behold your King is coming to you,
Humble, sitting on a colt,
Go and tell Jerusalem, behold your King is coming
to you!
0 let all the world rejoice,
Let all the world rejoice and be glad,
For out of the mouths of sucklings and babes,
The Lord God Almighty,
He has brought forth perfect praise!

Side Three: The Trial

Hosanna! reprise

Love one another, little children
John 13

by John and Ross Harding

Let not your hearts be troubled, and neither let them be afraid.
Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house there are many mansions, and I am going to prepare a place for you.

Little children, yet a little while I'm with you,
You will seek me and you shall not find me,
For where I'm going you cannot come.
But rejoice! I'm going to my Father.

But I give you a new commandment,
That you love one another.
Even as I have loved you, by this all men will know,
That you are my disciples so.
Little children love one another
Love one another little children.

Little children, yet a little while I'm with you,
Yet a little while He's with you,
You will seek me and you shall not find me,
No, you will not find Him,
For where I'm going you cannot come,
No you cannot go with Him,
But rejoice I I'm going to my Father,
He's going to His Father.

Little children, yet a little while I'm with you,
Yet a little while He's with you,
You will seek me and you shall not find me,
No, you will not find Him,
For where I'm going you cannot come,
No you cannot go with Him,
But rejoice! I'm going to my Father,
He's going to His Father.
When two or three are gathered in my name,
There will I be in the midst of them,
If you have love one for another,
Even the love I share with you,
Little children love one another,
Love one another, little children,

Little children, love one another, Love one another, little children.

We may all be one in love
John 17

by John and Ross Harding

Father my hour has come, glorify your name,
Your little children that you gave to me,
They know you sent me, but my hour has come,
I pray you keep them safe in your loving name.
I pray my Father they may be one, even as we are one,
And for their sakes I give myself,
That we may be one in love.
And Holy Father, not only for these I pray,
But for all who believe through their word
That we may be one in love.
That we may all be one in love, that we may all be one.
And Holy Father not only for these I pray But for all who believe through their word, That we may all be one.

That we may all be one in love, that we may all be one.

Do you now believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered every man to his home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.
And they seized Him - led him away to the High Priest's house, and to trial.

Who will believe this report?
Isaiah 53

by John and Ross Harding

Who will believe this report?
Who will listen, who will listen?
To whom will God reveal His saving power?
In God's eyes He was like a tender green shoot,
Sprouting from a root in a dry and sterile ground.
But in our eyes there was no loveliness at all,
Nothing to make us want Him. We despised Him, and rejected Him, A man of sorrows and acquainted with bitterest grief.

As He went walking by, we turned our backs on him, And looked the other way, looked the other way.
It was our grief He bore, our sorrows that weighed Him down,
He was wounded and bruised for our sins,
Chastised that we may have peace.
He was lashed, lashed, lashed, lashed, lashed.
And we were healed.
And God laid on Him the guilt and the sin of every one of us.
Crucify, away with Him. Crucify, away with Him.
Prophesy, who hit you then?
Give to us, give to us . . . Barabbas!
Hail, hail, hail the King of the Jews.
Hail, hail, hail the King of the Jews.
Hail, hail, hail the King of the Jews.


Are you Christ the Son of the Blessed?
Are you Christ the Son of the Blessed?
Are you the Son of the Blessed?
Are you the Son of the Blessed?

I am
Matthew 26 / Revelation 19

by John and Ross Harding

ARE you, are YOU, Christ the Son of the Blessed? I am, I am and you will see the Son of Man, Sitting at the right hand of power, And coming with the clouds of heaven.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord!
For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Let us be glad and rejoice and honour Him.
For the time has come for the wedding banquet of the Lamb.

And His Bride has prepared herself, and she's clothed with fine linen pure and bright.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord!
For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Let us be glad and rejoice and honour Him.
For the time has come for the wedding banquet of the Lamb.

And His Bride has prepared herself, and she's clothed with fine linen pure and bright.
He's the King of Kings; And the Lord of Lords,
He's the King of Kings; And the Lord of Lords,
He's the King of Kings!
And He's coming with the clouds of heaven.

Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies .. .BLASPHEMY! Crucify, crucify, crucify, crucify, crucify, crucify.

Father, forgive them
Luke 23

by John and Ross Harding

Father forgive them, they know not what they do.
Father, Oh Father they know not what they do.
Forgive them their trespasses as I forgive them.
Father forgive them, they know not what they do.
Father forgive them, Father forgive them,
Father forgive them, Father forgive.

Part Four: Crucifixion / Resurrection / New Creation

The Sacrifice
Psalm 22

by John Harding

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
My God, my God, why , why, why, why have you
forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me,
From the words of my groaning?
O my God I cry by the night and by the day, But you do not answer me.
And my tears flow to the dust.
Yet thou art holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel,
In thee our fathers trusted, they trusted and thou didst deliver them.
To thee they cried and were saved,
In thee they, trusted and were not disappointed.
All who see me mock at me, for I am despised by the people.
He committed his cause to the Lord, Ha ha ha,
Let him deliver him, Ha ha ha.
Let him rescue him, Ha ha ha.
For he delights in him, Ha ha ha.
They open wide their mouths at me like a ravening and roaring lion.
He committed his cause to the Lord, Ha ha ha,
Let him deliver him, Ha ha ha.
Let him rescue him, Ha ha ha.
For he delights in him, Ha ha ha.

All who see me mock at me. . . for I am despised by the people.

They have nailed my hands and my feet,
And all my bones are out of joint
hey stare and gloat over me
They have nailed my hands and my feet
They have nailed my hands and my feet
They have nailed my hands and my feet
They share out my clothes among them
And are throwing dice for my coat.
They have nailed my hands and my feet
They have nailed my hands and my feet
They have nailed my hands and my feet

Save my soul, from the sword 0 Lord, Save my soul, from the sword, Save my soul. Save SAve SAVe SAVE! . . . It is finished! Father into thy hands I commit my spirit.

The Shepherd
Psalm 23

by Andy Kinch

The Lord's my shepherd, I shall not want,
He makes me to lie down, in green pastures,
He leads me beside still waters,
He restores my soul,
He leads in paths of righteousness,
For His name's sake.
Even though I will walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me,
In the presence of my enemies,
Thou anointest my head with oil,
And my cup over flows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me,
All the days of my life,
I shall dwell in your house,
I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever and ever
As long as I live.
Oh, I shall live forever, in the house of my God! Well done, good and faithful servant, Enter now into the joy of your Lord!

Instrumental of Joy

Arise my love
Song of Songs 2

by John and Ross Harding

He brought me to His banqueting house,
And His banner over me is love,
He brought me to His banqueting house,
And His banner over me is love.
Here he is, here he is, quietly standing.

Behind our wall so patiently, quietly standing, Looking through the lattice, quietly standing. Gazing in at the windows, quietly standing.
Here he is, here he is, quietly standing,
Here he is, here he is, quietly loving,
Looking into our hearts, quietly loving,
Longing for our love, quietly loving,
Smiling into our eyes, quietly loving. Here he is, here he is, quietly loving.

He brought me to his banqueting house,
And his banner over me is love,
He brought me to his banqueting house,
And his banner over me is love.
Arise my love my fair one, and come away with me.
Arise my love my fair one, and come away with me.
For lo, the winter is passed and the rain is o'er and gone, Come away with me. The fig tree puts forth its fruit, the vines are in blossom, they put forth their fragrance. Come away with me. Arise my love, my fair one, and come away with me.

O my dove in the cleft of a rock, held in a covert of a cliff, Let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely. Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb of God. For it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom of heaven.

They have conquered
Revelation 12

by John and Ross Harding

Now the salvation and the power, and the kingdom of our God, The authority of Christ have come, The accuser of the brethren, has been cast down to earth, Who accuses them night and day before God.

They have conquered, they have conquered, they have conquered.
By the blood of the Lamb.
They have conquered, they have conquered, they have conquered, By the word of their mouth. They have conquered, they have conquered, they have conquered, By the blood of the Lamb. They have conquered, they have conquered, they have conquered, As they love not their lives unto death.

Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account, and they deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death for my sake. Rejoice! and be glad for your reward is great in heaven. For the servant is not greater than his master, and as they have done unto me, they will do also unto you. Peace I leave with you - not the peace that the world gives, give I unto you - so let not your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid. In the world you have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!

Now the salvation and the power, and the kingdom of our God, The authority of Christ have come, The accuser of the brethren has been cast down to earth, Who accuses them night and day before God.

We will conquer, we will conquer, we will conquer,
By the blood of the Lamb.
We will conquer, we will conquer, we will conquer,
By the word of our mouth.
We will conquer, we will conquer, we will conquer,
By the blood of the Lamb.
We will conquer, we will conquer, we will conquer.
As we love not our lives unto death.

And there was Light
Revelation 21

by John and Ross Harding

Behold the dwelling place of God rests with men. They shall be His people, He will dwell with them.

Behold the dwelling place of God it rests with men,
They shall be His people, He will dwell with them,
And God Himself will be with them,
And wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death shall be no more and neither shall there be sorrow or crying.
The former things have passed away.
Behold I make all things new,
The Spirit and the Bride say . - Come. And there was Light.

A double album was produced containing all the songs and narration from the show.

Music: John and Ross Harding
Recording Engineers: Helmut Kaufmann / Bob Graham
Mix Downs: Bob Graham
Recorded at: Echo Studios, Eastbourne
Sleeve designed at: Our House by Bernard A Cope
Sleeve photography: Paul Burford
Arrangers: Peter Poyser / Jonathan Francis
Conductor: Jonathan Francis
Cutting Engineer: John Wadley
Mastered at: EMI Abbey Road

A few, fairly naff, photos

  Herb rehearing with Les Paul[img_assist|nid=330|title=|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=64|height=100]
  Recording the acoustic tracks[img_assist|nid=318|title=|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=100|height=67]
  Getting the lead tracks down[img_assist|nid=317|title=|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=88|height=100]
  Jonathan Francis[img_assist|nid=295|title=|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=65|height=100]
  Jed and Herb[img_assist|nid=308|title=|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=100|height=62]
  Bob Graham and John Harding[img_assist|nid=311|title=|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=100|height=64]
  Jon and John[img_assist|nid=312|title=|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=100|height=63]

1977 PTO (Power Take Off)

PTO (Power Take Off)

arose from the ashes of Yesterday Today Forever. The YTF band had become good friends, disciplined and and very tight through a punishing, lengthy rehearsal schedule. It would have been a shame to call it a day. So the band was reformed by Andy Kinch who had written a lot of quality pop / rock songs. Andy is a real songsmith. There were lots of rehearsals, some recording sessions but few gigs.

Personnel included:

A PTO re-union happened on August 18th 2007 which was professionally recorded (both audio and video).

check out the following links.

1978 Zacchaeus


written and composed by: Richard and Jean Britton

This musical vividly portrays a man's life-changing encounter with Jesus. Zacchaeus, a cheating tax collector, was despised by his own people because of his dealings with the hated Romans. In Jesus he found hope and acceptance. After much searching had he at last found the answer?

Zacchaeus was originally written for the children of Kingsclere Primary School and was subsequently re-arranged for Basingstoke Community Church.

An article appearing the Basingstoke Gazette

Kingsclere Junior school teacher. Richard Britton. decided to write musical featuring story of Zaccheus, for his pupils to perform, but he could have had. no idea of the impact his composition was to have on a much larger public.

From becoming just a school production, 'Zaccheus' was developed by the Baptist Church, Basingstoke. into a lively Christian musical. with a message telling of the Salvation of Christ.

This has been performed a number of times in Basingstoke and in neighbouring towns. I watched and listened to a performance in the United Reformed Church, London Street and was impressed with the whole conception and presentation.

It was received by an appreciative audience. mostly young people which packed-the church. At the end, prolonged applause acknowledged the excellence of the production.

What stunned me was the happiness of the performers, which radiated out into the pews. This wonderful company were acting a story from the Bible, the motive of which they sincerely believe for they were so convincing.

Composer Richard Britton was at the piano. with his wife, Jean. who had helped him with the original composition. as one of the soloists.

The part of Zaccheus, the taxpayer, was sung by Dennis Merry and that of Jesus by Kevin Floyd. The production has been developed to such a high standard by the Baptist Church's own workshop in Sarum Hill. The girl dancers were superb as they flung their hands skyward, singing 'Hosanna'.

But what wonderful music Richard Britton composed, for the more it was repeated, the more I liked it. The orchestra, with guitars, flute, timps and piano, was first-class, keeping up a fast tempo.

I was told that many people have seen the production time and time again. This I readily believe, for the whole thing is infectious.

'Zaccheus' has proved so enjoyable that it was decided to have an LP made professionally. This was recorded in Eastbourne and is now on sale, price £2.50, from the Olive Tree Bookshop, London Street. Basingstoke.

It contains some 10 numbers, such as 'Zaccheus', 'Come and Render Unto Caesar', 'He's Coming Soon', 'He Cared for Me', 'Hosanna' and 'Today Has Salvation Come'

Object lesson

I found it an object lesson in worship, where the message is portrayed in such a wonderful way and so readily accepted and understood by young people

The audience, however, contained many middle-aged people who, like me, enjoyed every moment and stood and pondered about it all when the last notes of the marvellous chorus had died away.

I feel that much more will be heard about 'Zaccheus', for I am sure it is worthy of national acceptance. This could easily be brought about, especially if it was lengthened beyond its playing time of some 40 minutes.

Arthur Attwood



Dennis Merry
Jean Britton
Kevin Floyd
Linda Moore
Jeff Dodgson


Guitars and flute Herb Payne
Bass guitar Martin Wells
Drums Mike Maynard
John Prachett
Tuned percussion
Richard Britton
'Cello Patsy McBride
Bob Graham



About two thousand years ago,
With Rome the greatest Empire,
There lived a man of bad repute,
Zacchaeus, a cheat and liar.

Zacchaeus, a cheat, and liar!

Our scene takes place in Jericho
Where citizens are mumbling.
Great discontent has filled their hearts
And cause have they for grumbling.

Now honest work brings honest pay,
Or so one would believe,
Until the taxman does his rounds,
His portion to retrieve.

It wasn't just the portion fair
The taxman made them pay,
Zacchaeus, a cheat, a swindler, knew
Just how to make crime pay!

Come and Render Unto Caesar

Come and render unto Caesar the taxes that are due!
Delay may cause confusion, and twice as much for you!
Officials here are waiting for those who fail to pay,
But if the funds are lacking, a bribe will save the day!

So pay with a cheerful smile,
Don't bring me your denial,
Or you'll end up on trial,
Now what will you say?

Now I'm a busy man, overworked and underpaid,
No prospects of promotion, I'll never make the grade.
So what has life to offer to gentlemen like me,
Unless I aim to prosper, and damn my honesty?

He's Coming Soon

He's coming soon, He's coming through, yes through our city Jericho,
He's on His way, so don't delay, come quickly 'ore He's gone,
Hosanna, the King of kings and Lord of lords

He's coming soon, He's coming through, yes through our city Jericho,
He's on His way so don't delay, come quickly 'ore He's gone.

He Cared for Me

He cared for me,
He saw through me,
He knew how bad I had been,
Yet He cared for me.

His tender love;
His gentle love,
Reaching out to my guilty heart,
He forgave my sin.

He is my Lord,
He is my life,
He gives me reason to live,
Yes, He is my Lord.

Can it Be?

Can it be that He's the answer to my search for happiness and peace of mind? Can it be this man from Galilee is all, yes all I need? Oh can it be?

I've been seeking, searching, hoping; longing, on life's weary way, But my quest seemed hopeless, all in vain, and no reward but pain.

All my expectations unresolved. my hopes dashed to the ground. But in one brief moment all is changing, now some hope is found.


Hosanna, to the King
I can't see Him, I can't see Him, let me through, I can't see Him!

Well climb into this sycamore,
so you can see the Master come —
Leave your work and come and see
this famous man from Galilee,

He heals the lame, the blind can see,
the dumb can speak, men's souls set free!

The power of God at work in Him to loose the chains of suffering,
Behold He comes, prepare the way, for this could be your special day!

Zacchaeus, Come Down from the Tree
Zacchaeus, come down from the tree,
Zacchaeus, come quickly to me,
Zacchaeus, come down from the tree,
Zacchaeus, I'll come dine with thee!

Well, Would you Credit such a Thing!

Well would you credit such a thing,
a Holy man gone off with him!
Just think, He could have come with me,
and mingled with nobility!
To think He could have dined in style,
But He has chosen men of guile,
What kind of Holy man is He,
To mix with such bad company?
To think He could have dined in style,
But He has chosen men of guile!

Zacchaeus leaves much to be desired,
Although he's by the state admired.
His cheating ways have paid him well.
It seems this Jesus thinks him swell!
But those who know him, they can tell
He's heading for the fires of hell!

Perhaps we'd better go and see
If he's regained his honesty.
He may have had a change of heart,
And bid his sinful life depart.
The influence of his Holy Friend
His grasping outlook may amend!

Well would you credit such a thing,
A holy man gone off with him!
I think we'd better go and see
Just what the influence can be!

A Stranger Came

A stranger came, He knew my name,
but how, how can it be?
My life, He knew, from start to end,
what kind of man is He?

Some say He is the Son of God, this I believe to be.
My life must change, I now repent, this man has set me free.

Of all the goods that I possess, a half I give away
to those in need. The poor will know my heart has changed today.

I have been guilty in the past
of fraud and other crimes.
I now repent, and will restore
their goods to them four times.

Today has Salvation Come

Today has salvation come to this house,
Your repentance has gained you forgiveness from God.
Like Abraham, you're trusting in God,
And clothed in His robe of righteousness.


All those who are well, they need no cure.
They need not repent who never fail.
But the sick and the sinner know they need God.
The Messiah has come to seek and save the lost.

Hosanna! to the King!
Hosanna! Amen.

1980 Lazurus

A musical developed as a collaberative effort by many Basingstoke Community Church members after an idea from Judy Penketh. I wrote the music and directed the band.

As with a lot of similar projects a lot of effort and creativity was poured into it, there was a single performance and that was the end.

It was good and its premature demise is a shame.

1983 Fred's Footwarmers

Fred Chedgey was a musical talent particularly on clarinet, sax and vibes. The wrote many "sacred" songs but he enjoyed playing jazz.

The Footwarmers were his flexible ensemble. I enjoyed chugging along on guitar on many occasions.

Fred played on "Melting the Ice" and in "Lazurus" too.

Fred Chedgey.jpg

1984-1986 Intro


Andy Kenward (rhythm guitar)
John Pratchett (drums)
Kevin Floyd (vocals)
Andy Cippico (bass)
Herb Payne (lead guitar)


Standing on the Rock (Haworth)
New World Coming (Haworth)
It could have been me (Haworth)
Time Gentlemen (Payne)
We have made a mistake (Payne)
If you ain't gonna sing the gospel you're gonna sing the blues (Fransisco)
Running on Empty (Payne)
Jesus is alive (Payne)
Why do I feel this way (Pratchett)
Nothing seems real (Pratchett)

An article appearing the Basingstoke Gazette on 10th November 1986

Spreading the Christian message through music was the aim of Intro when they played to a packed audience at The Bass House, Basingstoke.

It was the second night in a season of live concerts at the Basingstoke town centre pub.

Soft rock and gospel band Intro combined their tight rock tunes with a lyrical message of Christianity.

The band has played various youth clubs since it was formed about two years ago, and The Bass House show was the group's first pub performance.

The members of the band all met through local churches.

1985 Melting the Ice

Some of my songs recorded at home (Wild Olive Recording Studio) in 1985 on a 1/4 in 8-track.

Solo vocals: Jane Humphries, Dennis and Dale Merry, David Oliver, Max Phillips.

Harmony vocals: Adrian Webb, Jane Humphries


Fred Chedgey: sax & vibes

Andy Cippico: bass

Herb Payne: guitars, synth, percussion, recorder

John Pratchett: drums

Nigel Veitch: flute


1992-2002 Herbie & the Paynekillers

The Paynekillers

"Herbie and the Paynekillers" were a 1950's rock 'n' roll band.
We originally got together for Gary and Marianne Bastin's wedding reception and were called "The Bastinettes" for that occasion.
Apart from a couple of self-penned numbers all our material was high-energy stuff and comes from the late 1950's and early 1960's. There's lots of action on stage and everyone had fun!
We have raised several thousand pounds for charity (mostly for St Michael's Hospice in Basingstoke) and played for weddings, parties and rock 'n' roll events.


Vocals: Pauline Philpotts, Margie Payne, Jim Moffat and Graeme Robinson
Killers girlies



Guitar: Herb Payne (plus, latterly, Martin Wells)


Bass: Ben Pratchett


Piano: Nathan davis

Drums: John Pratchett


Plus two very special members of the band....
Sound Jonathan Pratchett
Assistant to the Band Pat Moffat

The very first gig (28th November 1992)

The Bastinettes

The Gigs

92/11/28 Gary and Marianne Bastin's wedding, Hook
93/02/20 Tim Dyer's 30th birthday, Chineham
93/05/29 Fund Raiser at Hythe, Kent
93/06/19 Morrison's 25th Wedding Anniversary
93/06/26 Aldrich party
93/08/14 Pauline's 40th party
93/09/04 Morris wedding
93/10/27 St Mary's Eastrop
93/10/30 Earle's 10th Wedding Anniversary
93/11/13 Mark & Lynne's wedding, Chineham
94/02/12 South church
94/02/26 Basing Village Hall
94/03/12 Coombes wedding
94/03/19 Nikki Bawtree's Wedding
94/04/02 Overton
94/06/18 Loddon Football, Park Prewitt
94/08/20 BCC building fund, Richard Aldworth school
94/09/03 Loddon
94/10/08 Kent
94/12/03 Chertsey Hospital Christmas Party
95/01/14 Wellington Club
95/01/21 Gill Taylor's 40th, Basing
95/02/04 Christchurch, Chineham
95/02/18 Valentine Dance, Poynton, Cheshire
95/03/11 Gladdish wedding
95/03/18 Chatham, Kent
95/03/25 Smith wedding, Winchester
95/10/21 McAllister
95/11/25 Fund raising BCC building
95/12/16 Chertsey Hospital Christmas Party
96/06/01 Maureen Wells' 40th birthday, Milton Keynes
97/04/19 Milton Keynes, Bosnia relief
97/10/13 Viables European Music Festival
97/10/25 Hospice gig, Basingstoke
98/05/30 Milton Keynes, Simon & Judy's wedding

Typical First Set

Typical Second Set

1998 Jacob's Dream Tour of Bosnia

Part 1 - The Genesis

I've never been to Stafford before.

It's November 25th, 1997 and I am first for breakfast at Fatty Arbuckle's (and that's early). In order to make a 'first thing' appointment at Staffordshire County Council I have decided to get to the other side of Birmingham before the morning rush. Eventually it's time for the meeting and immediately we discover that I don't have the skills for the job they want done. I've been sold wrongly and am embarrassed. After apologies I take my leave and explore the town for a short while looking for a snack and maybe a music shop before returning South. Negotiating my way out of town I receive a call on the mobile from Martin Wells. 'I don't suppose you'd be interested but... how do you feel about touring Bosnia with a band in the summer?'. I explain I need to concentrate on driving and promise to ring him back later. I now have something to think about on the long drive home.

Later that day we talk again. Martin is surprised that I was even interested enough to ring back. He tells me about Bosnia Relief and Novi Most, about relief convoys and helping to open doors that are politically closed to the relief agencies. I hear Robbie's idea of a band to work with the community and with war traumatised children. It has been received with enthusiasm by Novi Most and that some of the band will be English and rest made up of all Robbie's 'friends and relations' from Dublin. The band will play huge venues to thousands of people. Several Milton Keynes based companies like Marshall and Yamaha will be sponsoring us by supplying such equipment as drums and backline amplification. This will minimise transport costs and we will be able to leave gear in Bosnia for local use. There is media interest in Dublin with the likelihood of a live linkups at the concerts. A television crew is interested in touring with us. Bono, Robbie's old mate, is likely to cough up some help. Over the phone we shrug our shoulders and smile. We know a little of the folk from the Emerald Isle. Still, it feels good and everyone we speak to seems positive.

Part 2 - The Preparation

I've never been to Martin's new house before.

It's a kind of tradition that the Paynes and the Wells meet up sometime around Christmas. On the third day of the new year we drive from Basingstoke to Milton Keynes to visit. We swap news, eat and go ten pin bowling. Robbie drops in with an envelope for each of us containing a list of songs (most of which we'd never heard of or played before), a cassette and lots of information and statistics about Bosnia and Novi Most together with some fascinating black on black photocopies of what were once photographs probably of something significant.

A view of Bosnia apparently

It has already been decided in Dublin that the name of the band will be 'Jacob's Dream' and that we will NOT be doing rock 'n' roll. Robbie shares with us his passion for Bosnia, both the country and the people. We set up some rehearsal dates and the ball begins to roll.

I've never been to Martin's work premises before.

It's impressively situated in the charming village of Maids Moreton near Buckingham in the grounds of a large house. The sounds of the distant Silverstone Circuit can quite clearly be heard on this chilly January 14th. The portacabin is cosy and the coffee is good. Robbie, Martin and I spend the day efficiently learning material. The bacon sarnies are a treat in the pub at the end of the drive. A lot is achieved during a long day and we finish with delivered curry from which Martin suffers greatly during the next day or so.

I've never met Robbie's brothers before.

On the third weekend of February I arrive at Springfield school in Milton Keynes and become acquainted with Fran, Doug and Al. It is evident from the start that we are going to be a pretty heavy band in more ways than one, in fact I feel quite slim. We check each other out with the musician's usual mixture of suspicion and vulnerability trying not to be intimidated (musos are a funny bunch) and begin learning Fran's material. There is a lot of work to do. We also meet Adam who is getting to grips with our PA requirements. We gig the material in the evening and it goes surprisingly well for a 10 hour old band! We learn that Al is different on stage! Hoz kindly lends me her room for the night and in the morning we sing a little in Wolverton church. After the meeting we snatch some lunch at Tescos and stay on to learn more material but we're a little too bushed by now. We are encouraged with the musical distance we have come and say our farewells.

In March it's just the three of us again. Apparently no sponsorship has been forthcoming for equipment yet. Today is not so productive because we can't remember Fran's songs! We try for a while and then rehearse some rock 'n' roll for a wedding we've been asked to do later on in the year. Disappointingly the pub at the end of the drive isn't selling food today so we go to Buckingham for fish 'n' chips. We eat by the river and council Robbie. Someone has given him a ticket for the British Grand Prix on the Sunday after we return from Bosnia. Surely no-one will think the less of him for not going to Celebration just this once. We finish early.

I've never been to Dublin before.

In the evening of Friday 24th April we fly from Heathrow and are met by the Irish contingent at Dublin airport. It's already late because of flight delays but Chinese take-away is generally considered to be necessary. We take the food back to Fran's house and watch the Crystal River Band and some other tedious music video until the small hours. (This was to be a foretaste of things to come.) Al drives Martin and me to the house he shares with two others and lends us his room, he sleeps on the sofa downstairs. The room is interesting, it's really a museum of 'The Story of Alan Frawley'. I get a taste of Martin's snoring capabilities and the deterrent possibilities of Al's cuddly toys.

We drive into the centre of Dublin's fair city to St Marks and find there's a prayer meeting most of the day so we must be quiet. This is actually a GOOD thing in the end as we sit and work things out acoustically. This is less stressful and a lot is achieved (which we will forget later). Guinness for lunch and back to work. We tear all the gear down and set up again with a hired PA in a theatre attached to a monastery next to the river and opposite the Law Courts. Adam has teething troubles with this unfamiliar equipment and there is some tension. The amp I have been lent has broken controls and has basically one sound, take it or leave it, but we manage. We snatch a meal of smoked cod and chips eaten with our fingers in the foyer.

For the fans!

The gear all suddenly works at gig time and, despite the foldback working too well early on and nearly deafening us all, things settle down and we are well received. A spot light bulb crashes onto the stage during 'Wonderwall' narrowly missing my head. We are surprised to see Roger and his wife. Apparently they have been visiting Belfast and decided to drive down. We have another late night. We play at the meeting in St Marks in the morning. They are civilised enough to have sausage rolls and coffee afterwards. We leave too late for the promised carvery lunch and eat chilli in an American Diner. We walk along the sea wall Dun Laoghaire close to where the ferry docks, drink a Guinness and hang at Fran's until it's time to fly. This weekend we have begun to realise that the Irish Exchange Rate doesn't only apply to money but also every other form of number. When so applied it is unpredictable and constantly varying. It must be factored into such quantities as 'the time' and 'the number of people at a gig' etc. This turns out to be a key discovery for us Brits that will guide us and help to keep us sane throughout our association with Jacob's Dream.

June 13th sees us all together again this time at the Crauford Arms in Wolverton. We meet Andy who will help drive the equipment across Europe and do the still and video photography. We have all the gear here today that we will take with us so it's time to become thoroughly acquainted with it. Adam, Dave and Sam spend a lot of time sorting all this out. No sponsorship has been forthcoming it seems. We get to rehearse a little, do a few publicity shots and gig in the evening. Another successful day. We feel we are as ready for the tour as we will be.

Part 3 - Croatia

Wednesday, 1st July 1998
Marg, Sam and I drop Tom off for work experience at Lasham and we continue on to Heathrow. The traffic is not as bad as it could be and we arrive 45 minutes before check-in time. Having said a lingering goodbye to Marg at Terminal 2 we locate the Croatian Airlines desk and wait. Sam wanders off to track down a Sprite and returns to allow me to get an expresso from Costa's coffee shop. The others arrive on time. This bodes well! There are the usual Heathrow delays so we have plenty of time to get a good English breakfast. We become slightly worried about the connecting flight to Split from Zagreb.

After a inedible, cold, cardboard turkey dinner and 2 hours 20 minutes we arrive at Zagreb and realise we need not have worried about the connecting flight because we are it. We pile out, visit the terminus, show our passports and re-board the same plane via the gate marked as the Skopje flight. I ask Robbie if Skopje is Serbo-croat for Split. He says 'Yes, the 'j' is silent'.

The sticky heat is a shock in our UK clothes and we're pleased to be back in air-conditioned comfort. The military hangers, fighter planes and helicopter gun ships are the first reminder of recent military action. From the plane window I watch orange and gold 'insects' buzzing around the two Croatian Airlines 737s trying to entice them to 'Follow Me' to no avail. We wait watching low, empty passenger carriers slide busily around the tarmac making like they are creeping with their heads down. What is it with airport vehicles; they all appear to be mutants, deformed horizontally or vertically. Eventually a 'wasp' attracts our plane and we follow it to the runway. We leave Zagreb very late for the 50 minute flight to Split.

The mountains are beautiful and the sea is deep blue and transparent and peppered with small islands as we circle to land. There can't be much room for pilot error here. We disembark and are reunited with our luggage. There had been particular concern over the safety of the acoustic guitars. A quick check inside the cases confirms no visible sign of damage thankfully. Contrary to Robbie's earlier assertion the plane continues on to Skopje (with the silent 'j').

The first thing we notice as we emerge from collecting our bags is the lens of Andy's video camera and nearby is Roger to welcome us - ever the Englishman abroad. They've driven overland with the truckful of gear and we're pleased to see them. The van is supposed to be a 3.5 tonner but the weigh-bridge on the Austrian border registered 4.4 tonnes. It was apparently very unstable to drive. We meet Naomi Lawrence, our tour co-ordinator and Keith, our driver for the day, load our bags into a pickup truck and choose one of the broken seats in a long-in-the-tooth chocolate Land Rover which looks as if it's liable to melt in the considerable heat.

We discover our Deutsche Marks can't buy us a drink in the nearby petrol station. This is considered to be a real shame on account of the warm weather and does NOT bode well. (Being fair this is the only trouble we had with Dms.) We never did fully understand the currency but Robbie had a handle on it thankfully and was readily available as a Currency Consultant for the whole of the trip. Apparently one can cause great offence by offering the wrong currency in certain areas.

It's a long, hot drive to Ploce. By the side of the road the drops down to the sea are often precipitous. Dave is sitting next to Naomi and chatting away to her as she drives. Doug is particularly concerned about driver distraction under these circumstances. He displays a certain nervous tendancy as a passenger.

It's dark long before we reach Ploce and we don't stop. Apparently it's Blace we're going to. We arrive at Camp Rio and they've eaten all the supper. They never received Naomi's fax to say we'd be late. There is an air of disappointment and we're pleased we got a good breakfast at Heathrow. It dawns on us that we are camping and we're told there is a problem with mosquitoes. We have neither insect repellent nor torches. I should have listened to Marg, she told me to bring both! No-one seems particularly pleased to see us and we have that spare feeling. They remove our passports from us. We're not too happy about this but it's government regulations apparently.

Naomi springs into action (the first of many times) and organises someone from the camp to go back into Ploce for pizza. It's 10pm by now. Some pastries and coffee are rustled up and we find our tents. We return and sit under the terrace, talking into the night. We wait. Martin rings Hoz and asks her to pass a 'Herb and Sam are OK' message to Marg. Fran discloses that they have organised 50 Jacob's Dream tee-shirts, indicating the number by holding up all of his fingers. We're impressed but there's a problem. Instead of 'Novi Most' the printer has put 'Noui Most' on the back of them. Fortunately this is not an expletive or an insult when translated - in fact it's meaningless. We wait. Pizza finally arrives at midnight (2 hour fast food) and we remember we are hungry. Andy rigs up his laptop and, unexpectedly, we can e-mail home. Coffee magically appears and despite the camp alcohol ban a little Irish 'sweetener' is introduced to it, on request, from Dave's bottle. This is another nice touch. We turn in, groping our way back to our tents in the darkness tripping over the guy ropes on the way.

The nocturnal chattering of the crickets and ducks together with the liberal snoring and close proximity of five sweaty men in the bell tent ensure we get minimal sleep. It's Thursday morning and Sam is horrified to find that everything he moves in the tent has 100 ants under it. They haven't bitten anyone though and so are assumed to be friendly enough. The cold shower is delicious. There is a choice; cold shower or no shower. We begin to realise that the promised 500+ war-traumatised kids and local punters was a little optimistic. The camp is miles from anywhere and few people pass. It only caters for up to 200. There are probably 80 people on site. The camp for war-traumatised kids is next week.

There is a teaching meeting on the terrace and the JD boys attend for the first half. Naomi plays viola we discover and very well, hmmmm. She is recruited for 'Dance with the King' and 'The River'. Roger calls us together for a meeting. We are determined to find time every day to pray together and share. Roger's theme for the week will be the armour of God.

We have some free time now. The weather is hot. In fact every day it was in the late 30s and early 40s centigrade. The sea is warm and shallow and the scenery is breathtaking. We swim, use the canoes and pedalos and cool off by sitting in the shallow water. Lots of high factor sun cream is splashed about. Action-man Dave snorkels to the distant headland. A 100 DM float is deposited with the local shop to prevent Jacob's Dream from dehydrating. Lunch is thin, clear soup with carrots and spaghetti and a rice salad. We're going to lose weight and not many of us can afford to do that! Dinner later turns out to be a rerun of lunch.

The owner of the campsite forbids us to talk to his mangy dog. This is all right by us but the dog seems short of friends. We have endless discussions about whether to use the staging blocks. In the end all this turns out to be pointless because we realise that if we use them we won't be able to stand up under the low roof. That's settled then. The equipment is set-up early and a game or two of boules is in the offing. The mangy dog insists on sitting in the path of the balls (OK, he was trying to find some shade). Martin wins and we melt away to freshen up and prepare. A boules tournament is a magnet for the campsite residents in the early evening and everyone seems more interested in the game than coming to the gig. We start late. The set is played to 50-80 people and the most beautiful backdrop you could wish for - the sun setting over the Adriatic and headlands. Was it worth it? Yes! We hear some conversations about Jesus as we pack up. It transpires that two Moslem guys had walked in off the beach, were seriously interested in the gospel and were prayed with for healing. They said they felt the presence of God like electricity.

Beds were reclaimed at 1am for the English and 2am for the Irish. We agree to be up and ready for a 7am start in order to hit the border early in case of problems. This will mean missing breakfast but the border is only half an hour away and 'there are plenty of places to eat breakfast where the border is'.

Part 4 - Republika Srpska

The Brits rise at 6am, take a cold shower, pack and wait. Naomi is an angel and manages to produce some coffee. JD is ready to leave, finally, at 8am (the Brits had failed to apply the Irish Exchange Rate again). The Land Rover is a pig to start and we find out that it's waiting for spare parts that are due imminently and those responsible for it don't really want us to use it. It must return to the camp today. Mark, a Novi Most volunteer from Somerset, comes with us as a driver for the day. The passenger vehicles pass straight across the Bosnian border with no problems. We wait anxiously for the equipment van for about half an hour. We pray. Finally all is OK and we and the equipment are all in Bosnia for the first time.

Bosnia border

Breakfast is the next priority. Can we find anywhere to serve a meal at this time of day? Eventually a restaurant is persuaded to produce fried fish, scrambled eggs and salami for us and we take our time over a very tasty meal. Mark's car is switched for Naomi's and Mark takes the driving seat in the Landy as we head for Trebinje. It's so sad to see wiped out communities along side the road, each destroyed house a tragedy. Many houses although toppled and burnt out themselves still have the vine covered veranda under which the family would sit, eat and chat. There is some brave rebuilding going on. As we pass into the Serb enclave there is a roadside market in the middle of nowhere. The Croatian flag flies defiantly in some villages we pass through. This is a reminder that the area is still a powder-keg. We notice SFOR (Stabilisation Force) vehicles everywhere in Bosnia (they are most Spanish in this area). Their presence is still essential to keep the fragile peace. We meet very few cars here, maybe one or two in a whole hour. Children wave at us as we pass. It seems that visitors are a bit of a novelty.

It was from the Trebinje garrison that some of the first Serbians solders apparently set out for Mostar. It's a surprisingly chic town in places. We unload at Naomi's apartment. It has a staggering view across the river and town to the mountain opposite. Pigs live downstairs next door. It's strange mixture of urban and rural life. There's even a hayrick 100 yards down this residential road towards town.

Bosnia hayrick

We return and set up at the 'Olympic Pool' at 6pm and time is tight. The gig starts and everyone is a long way away on the terraces on the far side of the pool. If this is going to work we need contact with the people. Fran has some inspiration, 'We've come far across the water to be with you. Will you come across the water and be with us over here?' It works and most come and stand in front of us. There are maybe 300 people here and lots of enthusiasm. They want to dance so, generally, the slower songs die on us. Both Sam and Daniel get their first chance to play here. We can't preach but we can identify with them. They are grateful. We sign lots of postcards, give away plectrums and Sam and Daniel have a fan club. I get a little peck on the cheek from Nicolina, she's probably 8 years old, bless her. Throughout the gig I was blinded by the lights and I couldn't hear properly. We could have been tighter. There was a drunk in an England football shirt. He came on stage and, for a while, it looked like he was going to do a striptease. He was very keen on my England shorts - bye bye.We pack the van in the sticky heat and Adam takes a midnight dip. We're all a little jealous but also too cowardly to join him. Martin and I walk home past the burial ground which has far too many recent graves.

The fridge has been stocked for us and we also drink some local brew that Dave acquired from the guys at the pool. It's yeasty (a bit like German white beer). Naomi cooks us delicious stuffed chicken at 2am. We retire shortly afterwards having sampled a noggin of Irish Mist. Sam and I share a room with Mr Wells. Mark has already driven back to Camp Rio with the Landy.

On Saturday morning we sleep until about 9am and then most of us walk to town for coffee. We are often recognised and probably stick out like a sore thumb. Are they playing U2 and Gary Moore in the coffee shop for our benefit? Down town there are posters advertising last night's gig.

Bosnia poster

As we walk around the old town and market we notice that these people are beginning to hold their heads up and there is some affluence. Apparently, though, they often ask Naomi what the West thinks of them and are at pains to point out that they aren't the aggressors. The ancient quarter of the town has an old fortress with ramparts and rusting cannons. Many trees have pictures of missing people stapled to them. Naomi knows of families in Trebinje that have lost 7 members in the war.

We return to the house to the inevitable strains of 'Don't look back in anger' coming from Daniel's bedroom. Naomi cooks us up some brunch at 12:30. We are concerned that Roger is doing too much and Al's voice is suffering a little. There is a discussion about tonight's set and we break bread together at 2pm. We pray that the postcards will be like the apostle Paul's handkerchief and will convey a blessing to those who receive them. A VW minibus and driver, Jovo, are hired for the rest of the tour. A local guy named Zoran will come with us for today and interpret. Jovo apparently thought he might never have the opportunity to see Mostar and Sarajevo again and it would certainly be too dangerous for him to try without the company of us foreigners. Both Jovo and Zoran are virtual prisoners in Bosnia at present. Serbs are not being issued passports yet and hatred is still rife.

We set out for Ljubinje and Zoran tells us of wolves in the woods and land mines in the fertile valleys. Over there are the battle lines and this whole area was rich in vines and fruit trees which, having been left unattended during the war, are now ruined. There is no money to replenish them. We follow a river with a concrete bed for miles and, further on, the road is blocked for a while by goats. Goats were apparently banned under Tito because of the damage they do to the vegetation. Andy is stung on the neck by an insect and almost crashes the van. On arriving in Ljubinje we immediately feel threatened. There is a bad feeling here. It's very run down. We check into the best hotel in town, it's also the only hotel in town, it's also the worst hotel you could imagine. Apparently it's also used for refugees. The rooms stink, the doors could easily be kicked off their hinges. There is no hot water, the basins leak and the shower doesn't work. There are bottles of water to use to flush the loo and the windows don't lock properly. Dry food and other goods are stored in the corridors outside the rooms and the carpets are threadbare.

The venue tonight is a sports court and we have problems with the earth connection on the power source. A local electrician is summoned and we pay him by giving him one of my flight cases. He tries to give us a separate 3 phase supply for the lights but we end up with severe hum from an earth loop. There are problems with the foldback. Tomorrow we will track this down to faulty multicore. This was the only time we used the full staging. We form a human chain to move the stage panels and I dropped one on Roger's be-sandled toe. He's obviously in great pain. We rush back for the evening meal of thin soup, greasy (no, sodden) chips and belly pork followed by scabby peaches.

During the gig the lights keep going out threateningly and tomatoes are thrown. One smacks Robbie on the head. This is disturbing and we finish early. To be fair there were a lot of kids enjoying themselves and the missiles might have been due to us playing U2 songs (Bono has aligned himself with the Muslims apparently). Al's free cosmetics are particularly popular here with the young ladies. Tonight was the Croatia v Germany match and we wonder what mood the locals will be in if Croatia win. By the time we walk back through town at midnight we have talked ourselves into considerable fear. People shout at us from the bars as we pass and some local blokes are walking alongside us silently. We have no-one to speak the language because Naomi has driven back to Trebinje with Zoran. Sitting outside the hotel waiting for Naomi the conversation is nervous. There are groups of local lads watching us from a distance and one or two under the trees outside the hotel. We muse on how to protect the gear and whether the van would be torched.

Then the strangest thing happened. All the lights went out. There was a loud scraping noise as we all with one accord, without thinking, pushed back our chairs and shot as fast as we could in the pitch blackness into the foyer of the hotel. Alarmed faces are temporally illuminated by flickering cigarette lighters. There was nervous laughter as the lights came on again. It has to be said that not all of us shared in this nervousness but most of us were fairly spooked.

Several stay up to wait for Naomi and the rest retire to bed anxiously. There appears to be no staff in the hotel and the door stays open all night. We pray for safety. The lads who wait up eventually go to a bar for a drink and chat to the locals who were pleased to see them and, it seems, were probably friendly all along. They seem quite chuffed that Croatia won. In hindsight we wonder what the problem was. Sleep didn't come easy because dogs were barking all night and some kind of animal or bird was making beeping noises every few seconds.

Part 5 - Bosnia

We survived the night and so did the equipment and vehicles. Thank you Father. Apparently Naomi had returned at 2:30am. Breakfast is greasy omelette and dry bread accompanied by fruit tea complete with a floating beetle. We leave town early to reach Mostar in time for church.

Jovo drives us back through the Serb border market. We wonder if the pigs had twigged that there were ideal escape ladders propped up against the lorries and whether they would tell the sheep. We reach the hills above Mostar and suddenly there is the often seen view of the city nestled vulnerably in its gun emplacement surrounded hills. It must have been terrifying just a few years ago; they were sitting ducks. It's a beautiful sight but the destruction stirs deep emotions again. Despite the sadness there is a lighter feeling here.

We attend church in West Mostar and sing 'Gloria' and 'The River' acoustically. Sam and a few others thought they would get out of church and have a rest by volunteering to store our bags in the apartment. Not a chance however and by the time they return there is only room for Sam in the middle of a group of elderly local ladies, well away from the interpreter. It must have been a long morning for him! Robbie speaks for a few minutes as does Roger. There is lots of Praise and Worship led by a young band and local testimony mostly about Camp Rio. Some visiting Americans also contribute. The service lasts 2 and a half hours. It was long and hot!

After church Roger goes to hospital for an X ray. His toe is confirmed as broken and he returns with a plaster cast. I feel really bad about this. Andy's sting is still troubling him so he goes to hospital later to have it treated. The rest of us go and find the church apartment where we are due to stay. It's a shock to find that it's in one of the worst shelled buildings we have seen so far in the city. It's about twelve storeys high, full of shell holes and largely burnt out. The third floor apartment is, however, large and well appointed with plenty of room and with all modern conveniences. It seems to be one of the only reconditioned areas in the whole building. We wash some socks and go round the corner to find a legendary and much longer for mixed grill. We lingered over this delicious meal for nearly 3 hours hearing some news of the Wimbledon final featuring a famous Croatian by the name of Goran.

We start setting up just after 5pm at the Youth Centre. The local P&W band, led by Dragan, will play 3 songs to start the evening. They're very good and feature some Delirious material. The gig goes OK. There are around 200 people there with others coming and going. The Americans help with security and packing afterwards. We're discovering that the locals have a short attention span and are not used to listening to bands. During the gig there is a loud, sharp bang. Was it gunfire or a firecracker? I step back from the lights anyway. We finish abruptly and slightly early due to light rainfall which soon stops. We pack and load the van without anything really getting wet.

Back at the apartment dear Naomi responds to the collective hunger and goes out with Martin to find hamburgers even though she's as beat as us. They return at 12:30. Nice burgers! We play Travel Trivial Pursuit until 2am; Irish 2, British 1. The Brits turn in, the Irish have a celebratory tipple. There are lots of night noises in the city. One muffled roar, not far away, turned out to be a grenade being thrown into a coffee bar at 3am according to some police officers we speak to later.

Who would be so inconsiderate as to ring the apartment door bell at 7:30am! It's someone from the church is delivering breakfast. This is a great gesture and much appreciated. I get up at just after 8:30am to ring Marg. It's July 6th, our 24th Wedding Anniversary. She must have left for Lasham already and I'm disappointed to get the answer phone. I find Roger and Andy picking at the breakfast and join them. There are meats, cheeses, pates, bread, fruit tea and juice.

We leave, later than planned, for a walk to no-man's-land and East Mostar. The destruction is difficult to come to terms with. It's still easy to find fired bullets and empty cartridge cases on the ground.

Bosnia slugs

The buildings are so pockmarked and riddled with bullets and shrapnel some of them have the texture of broken Weetabix.
Bosnia apartments
Bosnia hospital

Some of the lampposts have so many bullet holes they have collapsed. The hospital and apartment blocks are gutted. What was it like! There are no tourists here; just us.
Bosnia shotsign
Bosnia shotsign

I stand and contemplate a ruined, bullet-ridden home next to a pile of twisted, rusting metal and in the stillness, from some young vegetation, a bird begins to sing. It speaks of hope.

Bosnia hope

There are the pathetic remains of woefully inadequate barricades in the doorways of the apartments. Looking up you can still see the artillery emplacements on the peaks in every direction. On a hill facing West Mostar a message of peace from the East to the West can still be seen.
Bosnia ruined_east

We cross the river, via a bailey bridge built by the British Army, to the east (Muslim) side and walk up to the famous 'Old Man of Mostar'. This ancient bridge built in 1566 was destroyed by shelling during the war. The river is clear blue, deep and fast moving. A temporary bridge has been built to span the river by the side of the ruin and we use it to return to the west bank for refreshment in a caf´ under shady vines. We sit listening to wailing minarets calling the faithful to prayer every few hours. One in particular seems to have a pronounced squeal and we note that Adam has disappeared. We muse over whether he will be allowed in and will he actually be allowed to adjust the EQ. Kids still jump the 100 ft or so from this temporary bridge into the river for dares and money. The stones of the old bridge are being recovered from the river and are slowly drying out on a platform by the bank. It will be rebuilt in a few years.

We find the venue for tonight, Club Cairos. It's a caf´ in a complex of caf´s just on the west bank but still in the Moslem quarter. We sit here, discuss the gig and eat another mouth-watering mixed grill lunch. Robbie and Naomi leave for the local radio station, 'raddio ix'. We listen to the 40 minute interview in the caf´ and we only cringed when Robbie talks about Bono. Someone who was at West Mostar gig last night phones into the radio show to say how good we were and encouraging people to attend tonight. Sam and Daniel sit and write 100 publicity cards for tonight's gig. There are loads of feral cats around and we try to have as little to do with them as possible.

Bosnia east_gig

It's a relaxing, enjoyable 'pub' gig with good vibes. Andy takes a walk around the vicinity while we are playing and reports that we can be clearly heard on the far side of the river. Our wedding anniversary is announced all over East Mostar. Singing 'Gloria' was exciting in a Moslem area. The Radio X guys were there and everyone seemed to enjoy the evening. We had great help from the US and other local chaps in tearing down. As we were packing the van we were told about the grenade last night. Suddenly there was a loud hiss, some furtive scrabbling and someone asked if the pin is in. The heart begins to beat faster. It transpires there is trouble with one of the fire extinguishers! Home to bed at 2am. We haven't eaten since lunch time but we're too tired.

The breakfast lady delivers again and a quick phone call confirms Sarajevo for tonight. There is some discussion about whether to go as the church in Sarajevo don't seem too keen. If we stayed in Mostar the journey to the airport tomorrow would be far less harrowing. We decide to go and to be faithful to what we are here for. Roger is set to fly home today. The insurance will pay for a taxi to the airport and a club class flight. We try not to be jealous. The chocolate Land Rover and trailer has turned up again from Ploce. This will be our only means of transport after we dismiss Jovo at the border.

We leave for Sarajevo an hour late. Jovo is checked by a pedantic police officer at the petrol station. There is more mass destruction of communities as we go north out of Mostar towards the hills. The mountains are spectacular - tall granite peaks with lush green vegetation. The road winds north beside the fast flowing blue-green river. There are frequent road tunnels. We stretch out in the VW, 7 Up, orange juice, trainers off, music on, feeling relaxed. It's going to be a long 24 hours. We pass a hydroelectric plant and cross a bridge that's half blown away. There's a temporary, single carriageway built on top of the damage. We coin 2 new verbs; 'to be frawlied' means 'to be delayed' and 'to be franned' means 'to be severely delayed'. There are 45 degree fields in the hills with the obligatory conical haystacks. They seem cut the haystacks like a kebab or a ham. Many of the local drivers are lunatics. We've seen several near smashes in the last few days. Generally safety standards seem to be low. Many cars are in a bad state and electrical appliances can be downright dangerous.

We get to Sarajevo and it's not pretty. In fact it's like high-rise hell! There was a Hercules taking off from the airport as we arrive just like the news programmes of a few years ago. Serious damage is still in evidence but lots of reconstruction is under way. In fact as soon as we stop and get out of the van the predominant noise is that of building work. Two Sachas from the church met us (are all the men called Sacha?). Our bags are stored in the church building and we walk through dismal apartment blocks to eat a 'Big Mac' and chips but not in a MacDonalds (perhaps copyright doesn't apply here). It's very good or maybe we're just very hungry. This turned out to be the last meal for 18 hours. Young lads are playing football in amongst the apartment blocks as we walk back and they follow us eager to practice their English. There's a girl here from Oregon helping in the local church and we kid her that we are a country band doing Glenn Campbell covers. She pales a little and is not sure what to say.

We take the church bus (an English registered Mercedes) to the venue which turns out to be a psychedelic cellar, all orange and ultraviolet, seedy but funky. Someone said is was used as a mortuary in the war. There is some concern over the numbers likely to attend as the locals seem to have done little publicity and there's the football again tonight. There is also concern about bad vibes if we attempt to pack up at 10:30pm (which we must in order to make the flight home). Will the punters get stroppy? We pray and go ahead anyway. I get through to Marg on Roger's moby, say hello and ask for prayer. The equipment is showing signs of wear and tear and should ideally be checked out properly, especially the leads. There is difficulty getting some of the PA to work and we run on the bottom Peavey cabs only.

It was a great gig. We play really tight and creatively. Between 50 and 100 people attend and they boogie! The American lass looks a lot happier. We finish promptly and tear down at 10:45pm and the van is loaded and we are ready to leave at 12:15am. We pray for Naomi and for Martin and Andy's journey home. We've all signed a card for Jovo and we give a gift of cash and a card to Naomi. Someone has spoken to Roger earlier on the mobile. He's safely home drinking tea. Shortly after 12:20am we leave for Split.

Part 6 - The Exodus

We doze fitfully through the night, some more successfully than others. The way alludes us a couple of times and we have to backtrack. Unfortunately the Croatian border surprises us. We meant to stop a way back to switch the trailer from the VW to the Landy to allow Jovo to head off home with no hassle. He is caught however and as the young, po-faced border guard checks his papers Jovo is visible frightened. As a Serb he is not welcome here. The guards make a fuss and take their time. Eventually they let him go and we watch until he's well away. It'll be at least two long hours drive before he will feel safe again.

There are ten of us in the Landy now and all the bags in the trailer. There's still a couple of hours to go. As we approach Split we run into a spectacular thunder storm. This causes floods and slows us down. There is some discussion amongst the Irish about not touching the metal bits of the Land Rover (Faraday's Cage seems to apply here if I remember) and not being at risk due to the rubber tyres (they were wet). Robbie says (with great authority) 'We're OK travelling at this speed, it'll be difficult to hit a moving target.' The physics alludes me. We make the airport just in time for the 8am flight. We say a sad farewell to Naomi who now faces a long drive back to Ploce. She's dog-tired too.

We have a quick flight to Zagreb. Lucky Sam is given a ham roll by one of the passengers. We grab a quick snack and coffee at Zagreb before the 9:50am takeoff. There's another dismal, but non-the-less welcome, meal on board. Then, here's Heathrow and dear Margie waiting to greet us.

I suffer from sickness and the trots on return home and am glad for a couple of days to sleep and recover. Martin and Andy finally arrive home at 2am on Saturday morning. Martin had been stopped for speeding in Croatia and fined £5. The drive across Germany had been mind-numbingly boring but everything arrives back safely.

Part 7 - Abroad thoughts from Home

It was important for us that we weren't playing in stadiums to vast numbers of people. In fact it turned out to be quite the opposite. We had to be prepared to set up anywhere often on what looked like a scrap of waste ground. Our purpose for being in the Balkans was to connect with the young people and hopefully help to open doors for aid work. There is no room for pomp and pride.

The people enjoyed the rockier songs the best - rock 'n' roll went down very well. U2 is huge in Bosnia and the kids know the songs by heart. There was no problem singing Christian songs and, in some places, giving a bit of testimony. As they are not used to having bands to listen to it seems that generally their attention span is short and they will quickly wander off.

Our schedule had been so hectic that most of us hardly met any local people unfortunately. Naomi made contacts however and there seemed to be a measure of good will for Novi Most to capitalise upon. I enjoyed chatting to Dragan, the P&W leader in West Mostar. It would be great to see him again and share some more. If the equipment sponsorship had come off Dragan's band would have been the ideal recipients of the gear. We were able to recommend his band to the guys in Sarajevo who were planning some youth events.

The weather broke as we were leaving and it appears to have remained rainy for several days after we left. We are grateful for the hot, settled weather we had because most of what we did would have been impossible in the wet.

Robbie went to the Grand Prix.


The Team

Bosnia team

Contents of the Van

Typical set list

Some Background Courtesy of Novi Most

Bosnia Hercegovina (often referred to as Bosnia) declared independence from former Yugoslavia and received international recognition in the spring of 1992, and almost immediately collapsed into war. Since the Dayton agreement of November 1995, the republic is effectively made up of two separate entities, the Muslim-Croat Federation (cities include Sarajevo, Mostar & Tuzla) and the Republika Srpska (cities include Banja Luka, Bijeljina and Trebinje). The names Bosnia and Hercegovina refer to two separate regions: Bosnia (its name derived from the Bosna River) occupies the great majority of the republic's territory; Hercegovina is a much smaller area in the south, around the city of Mostar; its name derives from the German Herzog ('duke'), the title borne by its former rulers. Most of Bosnia Hercegovina is mountainous, covered by the Dinaric Alps. The Bosna, Drina, Una and Vrbas rivers are tributaries of the Sava, which forms part of the country's northern border with Croatia. The Drina forms part of Bosnia's eastern border with Serbia. The Neretva river flows south into the Adriatic; near its mouth is the republic's only outlet to the sea about 12 miles of coastline. Bosnia Hercegovina's three main population groups - the Muslims, Orthodox Serbs and Roman Catholic Croats - are all of Slavic origin and speak Serbo-Croat but differ in language (Croats and Muslims use the Latin alphabet, the Serbs use the Cyrillic, and each group now emphasises their different dialects) and culture. At the beginning of the 1992 war the Croats were concentrated mainly in the West; the Muslims and Serbs were more widely dispersed throughout the republic.

Before the war Bosnia Hercegovina was the third poorest of the republics of former Yugoslavia. When it seceded from the Yugoslav federation, the Yugoslav government in Belgrade renounced all responsibility for Bosnia's share of the former federation's foreign debt (about 15% of the total US $2.5 billion), which meant the official government in Sarajevo was internationally bankrupt even before the war broke out. In the pre-war economy agriculture was almost all in private hands, but farms were small and inefficient, so Bosnia was traditionally a net importer of food. Its industrial base, which was greatly overstaffed (a reflection of the rigidities of communist central planning and management) concentrated traditionally on mining (coal, iron ore, bauxite, copper and zinc) and capital goods. Since the war, production has plummeted with many of the industrial plants having been damaged or destroyed.

The war in Bosnia, which raged across the country from the spring of 1992 until December 1995, was projected by the Western media as a purely civil war; the settling of old scores in a long line of inter-ethnic hostilities. It is true that not one of the last fifty-one generations of Bosnian people has been spared the horrors of war, most of which either resulted from, or led to, internal conflict between the country's different ethnic and religious communities. However, this latest war, and the vast majority of those which preceded it, have been provoked and/or sustained by external factors and powers. Eminent historians, Noel Malcolm and J M Roberts, both cite the involvement of foreign governments as major ingredients in the recent war.

'The biggest obstacle to all understanding of the conflict is the assumption that what has happened in that country is the product - natural, spontaneous and at the same time necessary - of forces lying within Bosnia's own internal history This is a myth which was carefully propagated by those who caused the conflict, who wanted the world to believe that what they and their gunmen were doing was done not by them, but by impersonal and inevitable historical forces beyond anyone's control. And the world believed them.' says Noel Malcolm.

The war resulted from the break-up of Yugoslavia, itself an artificial product of external interference earlier this century and held together by the iron fist of communism with the compliance of the West. At the end of the eighties, when communism was collapsing across Europe, republics within Yugoslavia, principally Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia, began to demand independence. In March 1992, a majority of the Bosnian electorate voted for independence leading almost immediately to the intervention of the Serbian-dominated Yugoslav army and to the arming by Croatia of the Bosnian Croats. As these nations, encouraged by their various sponsors in the international community, waged their territorial war in the Bosnian theatre, historical internal rivalries did surface again and many of the atrocities were indeed committed as acts of vengeance for the inhuman deeds perpetrated in World War II or earlier conflicts. Bosnia was historically much more mixed, in terms of ethnic and religious groups, than the other republics in former Yugoslavia. It was the religious and cultural cross-roads between Islam and Christendom and between the worlds of Eastern Orthodox and Western (Catholic) Christians.

At the outbreak of the war, Bosnia was said to have 'fewer Evangelical Christians than any other country in Europe' and the Bosnian Muslims were described as 'Europe's least evangelised people' 'Little or nothing has ever been done to take them the Gospel'.

2003 The Rokkits

That great lil rock 'n' roll band from the deep south!

Other aliases include The Rokkettes and The V8's.