Alan Jones was a left-handed opening batsman who played county cricket with Glamorgan for almost 25 years. He taught me how to play the game during the winters of the mid-1970s - the best coach I ever had.
Phil George was an English teacher at Olchfa comprehensive school in Swansea. A firm family friend (not a relative) he could see me struggling to feel any real enthusiasm for the work of Milton, Chaucer and Shakespeare. For two years leading into the mid-80s he sacrificed his Saturday mornings to give rhapsodic and inspiring talks that got me through my 'A' Level English and onto one of the best media courses in the country.
The simple truth is that I aspire to inspire my students the way Alan and Phil inspired me. As an associate lecturer at Southampton Solent University I teach music journalism students how to become knowledgable, eloquent and accurate. Most of them will not end up working for IPC or Bauer (publishers of NME and Q), but that's probably a good thing. There's a much bigger and more exciting world of opportunity outside the confines of the traditional music press.
To help me with my teaching I'm also building an archive of interviews with some of the most respected names in music journalism, as well as people who graduated from the music press to become broadcasters, authors and film-makers. I don't quite know what I'm going to do with all that material; all I know is that it's going to be good.