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Progressive Rock Interviews


Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with Bridget Wishart of Djinn from 2018


Your art isn't restricted to just music. What other artistic endeavors have you been doing?

For the last few years I’ve been passionate about photographing flowers. I produce a calendar with the best images and send them out to my family every year. Some photos I post on Instagram as Phoenix Starfire (a nick name from the 80s. In a merry moment Alan Davey called the Hawks “Phoenix Starfire and the Fru Fru Things”). More recently, I have been pressing flowers and making cards and art with them. They take a while to make. I have been selling some of my work in a local craft shop, but once I realised I wasn’t going to get any wall space for my framed pieces I had to cancel the contract. Now and again I’ll show stuff on Facebook. I still make collages both paper and digital and also enjoy working in oil pastels. I have a trio of floral based, framed drawings decorating the upstairs landing waiting for my next exhibition.

MSJ: What's the best thing that's ever been said about your music?
Oooh, that’s a hard question. There is no one statement that sticks out so I’ll have to remember a few high points. There was a review of Palace Springs (the original release) in Kerrang that I really liked because the writer was very complimentary about my vocals on "Back in the Box." The other day I was sorting out a cupboard and read some fan letters I had kept from my time with Hawkwind. It was really heartening to read how much they had enjoyed my time in the band. In particular they mentioned the song "Images," which I wrote the lyrics for. I spent many years out of the musical loop, and once I was persuaded to re-enter the world of music by Don Falcone in 2002, and was herded gently onto MySpace by Ian Abrahams I was amazed by the lovely people out there who wanted to make contact and tell me their memories of me and my music. Since then I have written, recorded and played with many wonderful musicians from all over the world, bands such as Spirits Burning, Mooch, Djinn, Hola One, Omenopus, Spaceseed, Chumley Warner Brothers and more. I have gathered more friends, supporters and compliments along the way. Quintin Drake always stays in touch and is ever hopeful that one day we will add "Lady Jane" from the SB & BW CD, Bloodlines to the set as it is his favorite song ever.
What's ahead for you?

Chumley Warner Brothers will be out and about gigging in 2018. We’ll be playing Thursday 29th March at the second New Avalon Ballroom being held at The King Arthur in Glastonbury, the opening night of a wonderful weekend of music. We are also booked to play several local events in Somerset over the summer and have a Sunday PM slot at our favorite festival KozzFest, which is held in Devon UK.  

I have just written and recorded a vocal part for a track with Detlev Everling and Michael Bruckner for a third compilation on Rob Mellor’s label, Submarine Broadcasting Company. Other compilations, with all proceeds going to charity were One String Inspiration (every track had to feature at least one homemade instrument) and Post Soc (every track had to be written with the CD title in mind). Interestingly both these compilations have been requested by the British Library of Recorded Music. Obviously, Rob is on the right track with the right stuff!

 I’m now part of a band that formed as a result of collaborating on a track for the first compilation that started the record label, “One String Inspiration," “Bridget Wishart and the Band of Doctors”. Rob is also responsible for our name. He coined us thus, in a Facebook comment! We enjoyed working together so much we are writing our first CD. So far, we managed to finish a track just in time for it to be included on Rob’s next compilation.

I am continuing my instrumental contributions, using my beloved EWI, for Don Falcone’s on going Spirits Burning “Dancers at the End of Time” project, the main protagonists being Don, Michael Moorcock and Albert Bouchard (Blue Oyster Cult). 

Life generally:
In other parts of my life other adventures are in progress. I am a student again, doing an evening course and by summer’s end I will be a qualified Teacher’s Assistant. As a direct result I now have a job as a Casual TA at a local school, where I go in and cover for TAs who, for one reason or another can’t be in school.

MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
I didn’t buy it…but it was on my Birthday list… a new direction for me: 40 Most Beautiful Arias. I don’t like everything on it, but most of the tracks are superb. Other music I listen to at the moment includes my daughter’s playlists which are hugely diverse and include grime, 80s pop, Kate Bush, the Beatles, and what’s in the charts. I’m also actually starting to like Bob Dylan…I do think he’s like Marmite, you either like him or you don’t, but (after being exposed to his songs for 40 years) I’m finally, definitely starting to like them! If I’m asked what I’d like to listen to, most times I’ll ask to hear Nick Drake. His music soothes my soul, and I never tire of hearing him sing.
MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
Ahhhh now there’s a question I like! I’m a sci-fantasy fan, though I do drift into the magic/vampire/shifter arena so long as they’re not chock full of badly written sex scenes! I’m in a real reading phase at the moment. I haven’t time or space to go into everything I’ve read recently so I’ll just highlight a couple I have really enjoyed in the last few months.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Superb writing and a top story - starting in the mid 80s, it capture the flavor of those years so clearly it moves forward and past today into a future so real I could believe we were in tomorrow’s land for sure.

Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb
I have read all of Robin Hobb’s books, and last year I had the good fortune to meet her on her literary tour of the UK. So, I have a treasured, signed hard back copy of this last book in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy. Her writing is simply stunning. She uncovers weakness alongside strength. Her characters are more real than any other writer I know. Her world is all encompassing, and her storylines are killers! This book is no exception. I have on occasion shouted in horror and refused to read the next paragraph when inevitably her stories take her characters down a road I do not wish to follow. Always I pick it back up and, as ever, her writing is a delight, if sometimes a painful one!

Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks (A re read)
This guy is such a great writer! I’ve read everything he has written, and it is pure torture waiting for his next book!

Other authors I read on a regular basis are

Patricia Briggs
Lois McMasters Bujold…her series on Penric and his demon are superb.
Elizabeth Hunter
Jodi Taylor

MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

The last concert i went to was last Sunday. Martin, for my birthday, got us tickets to see Phil Beer from Show of Hands. He was great. It was a sit down event, and the audience hung on his every word and song. Such a talented bloke, with a great collection of semi acoustic guitars, mandolins, fiddles and, of course interesting stories.

Do you remember your first concert you attended?
My mother was chairman for all nonmusical events for the Bath Festivals in the 70s and 80s so we got to see a lot of concerts. I don’t remember being aware of who the musicians were, though. The first concert I really remember was Steve Hillage on his Green Tour in the mid 70s. Myself and a friend put pillows down our beds, left a window in the dormitory open and snuck off, catching a bus to Poole, which was about seven miles away, escaping from the boarding school we were incarcerated in! It was a great gig, but once it was over we had to walk all the way back. We climbed up the fire escape, snuck back in and unbelievably, were never missed and never caught!
MSJ: Have you come across any new gear recently that you love?
We have access to a QSC PA with a touch mix desk, which makes rehearsals an absolute delight. 
MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”
Hmmm, think I have a few, like Abba, Michael Jackson, Eminem, Al Stewart and now opera…However in order to redeem myself in your eyes I have to tell you that I love Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson and Robert Wyatt and still really rate Pink Floyd, Can, Grateful Dead, the Kinks and the Beatles.
MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
I’d have to choose people who I think I could get on with rather than famous people who I admire but probably wouldn’t be on the same, slightly spaced out, quirky level as me.

1. Robin Hobb: She is so interesting and easy to listen to, and her life and her writing is really interesting.

2. Richard Lazell: When I was at Art College in the 80s I became involved in Performance Art. I was fascinated by the idea of including the air/the above in my work. The fact that Performance Art couldn’t be sold appealed to me. Every person who sees Performance Art carries a part of it away with them in their memory. No one person has the same experience and understanding. Richard is a successful London based Performance Artist who was my tutor when I was at Art College in Wales in the early 80s. He was a great inspiration and a genuinely nice person. When I left college I performed alongside him in venues in London and Londonderry, Ireland. It would be great to catch up with him.

3. Nick Drake: I’d love to talk to him, to get to know him as a person and compare life stories. We both lived abroad as children, were sent to boarding school, both followed a musical path and both suffered badly with depression.

MSJ: What would be on the menu?
We’d be eating a wonderful selection of traditional vegetarian Indian food including samosas, onion bhajis, biriyani, mater panir, omelette curry and mung dal, all handmade and cooked by my fabulous multi-talented husband, Martin. There is a flaw in my cunning plan, though. I couldn’t ask him to do all that cooking and not have him at the table with us!
MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?

Thanks and Best Wishes
Peace and Love,

This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 2 at
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