Gary was born in Kingsbury, NW London, and has lived in the Harrow area all his life. He was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) when he was sixteen, after noticing that he couldn’t see in the dark properly. He was told he would go blind by the time he was 40 and though this hasn’t happened, living with the thought that this could happen for all those years wasn’t easy.
As well as dealing with the physical setbacks of this degenerative eye disease, Gary had to cope with the impact it had on his confidence, self-esteem and his instincts as a man. He says, "The hardest thing is not being able to drive. There is nothing more frustrating than depending on others for help."
When Gary was about eight, it became evident he had a hearing problem, and his teachers - much to his chagrin - made him sit at the front of the class. But it wasn’t until about 2002 he learnt that the hearing loss and RP were linked. He is now classed as having Usher 2 Syndrome – a condition that affects both sight and hearing loss. He also has Fuchs Syndrome in one eye that causes problems with glare. After 30 years of living with the condition, he is now a white symbol cane user. However, RP sufferers can go through elongated periods of stability, and Gary hopes he is experiencing one of these now.
“‘Sunset Melodies’ is the result of years of collecting and playing music from the 30s onwards. I’ve always dreamed of having my own radio show to help keep alive the music of days gone by."
Gary’s interest in music from the past began when, aged 11, he discovered Elvis Presley. His interest in rock ‘n roll and music from 1960’s soon followed. When he was fifteen, Gary started to listen to Frank Sinatra and soon he was adding records by Ella Fitzgerald and Dean Martin to his growing collection.
His interest in nostalgia was compounded by his love of old movies, especially Hollywood musicals, which acquainted Gary with the Great American Songbook. “Whilst all my peers at school and college looked forward musically,” he said “I looked backwards”
As a toddler, Gary was exposed to the last days of the "Light Programme", before his mother kept the dial on Radio 2. Begun by listening to her records of Johnny Mathis, Jack Jones and Andy Williams, Gary's love for easy listening music stays with him to this day.
Career wise, Gary held a number of jobs after college, working in a jewellers and a record shop before starting work with the Civil Service. He remained with the Civil Service for 12 years before taking medical retirement.
Gary also worked as a mobile deejay, which he did for over 15 years. Although this meant working primarily in dark environments (hardly RP-friendly) he managed to get by. He started out specialising in 50s and 60s music before expanding to cater for all kinds of functions including weddings, parties and corporate functions. He took great pleasure in surprising party goers with songs by the likes of Jim Reeves and Frank Sinatra as he felt "older" guests were often overlooked by other mobile deejays. Gary recalls, ‘Old ladies would come up to me and say, "It was so nice to hear the old music again. Would you be available for my 70th birthday party?”’
When he retired from the Civil Service, Gary started up a disco agency working from home whilst playing house husband and looking after his two young children.
Gary says “‘Sunset Melodies’ is the result of years of collecting and playing music from the 30s onwards. I’ve always dreamed of having my own radio show to help keep alive the music of days gone by.
“I can’t thank Insight Radio enough for allowing me this opportunity, especially my Broadcast Producer, James Butterworth, who has worked with me to help produce the shows. I hope listeners find the music we play warm and relaxing and I hope for some listeners it brings back some nice memories.”
“Until next time……..adios”