I’m David Harley (or David A. Harley, to reduce algorithmic confusion with other musicians), a Shropshire Lad by birth, born near Atcham and educated at the Priory School for Boys, Shrewsbury. That said, I’ve spent longer living outside the county than in it and have no strong opinions on the ‘right’ way to pronounce Shrewsbury except that I despise people who insist that theirs is the only right way and that anyone who thinks differently is either stupid or a social climber.
My last spell in Shropshire came to an end in 2016, and I now live in Cornwall, in the area that includes the mineworkings after which this blog is named. Until 2019 most of my income came from research into and writing about security, but it’s improbable that the content of this blog will ever be much influenced by that, since I’m now retired.
To my slight bewilderment, there is a Wikipedia article about me here, but it’s mostly about my former daytime job(s) in IT security. However, I did play guitar for a (far from profitable) living long ago, and never quite grew out of it. In the early 1970s I played with a number of bands in Wales and the Midlands, and worked with guitarist John Crosswaite as a duo, then with Sally Stevenson (now Sally Goddard) who is still giving it some welly with the Canadian band Atlantic Union. In the later 70s and 80s I worked with various bands and artists including Kathy Bowen-Jones, Nick Warman (as a trio we called ourselves the Flying Piglets – not my idea), Lyn (Anna) Thompson, Don MacLeod (often heard in recent years playing with the Julie July Band), Rick Brandon (currently with punk/folk/indie band The Dicemen), and poet and songwriter Bernard Puckett. There are some miscellaneous recordings (mostly from the 80s) on Soundcloud and on a blog site imaginatively called David Harley Songs, which also includes some more recent demo recordings. In the past couple of years I’ve been going through my 1980s studio recordings doing some vigorous remastering/post-processing (where practical), and some of that material is now available on Bandcamp, along with a daunting amount of other material. (Most of this material is also available on iTunes, Amazon etc.)
- Tears of Morning is an album of Shropshire-related material, including some settings of verse by A.E. Housman.
- View From The Top is a collection of a few recordings from the 80s of songs written and/or recorded with Don MacLeod in the 1980s and includes the single One Step Away (From The Blues).
- The single Moonflow VI is an extended version of an instrumental from Tears of Morning.
- Hands of the Craftsman is a collection of songs and verse from the 1980s revue Nice (If You Can Get It) directed by Margaret Ford, for which I wrote most of the original music.
- The Game of London is a collection of story-songs related to the city where I spent some 25 years of my life.
- Ten Percent Blues is, unsurprisingly, a collection of old and new recordings with (mostly) a blues accent.
- The single How To Say Goodbye is a look back at decades of parenthood.
- Dinosaur Tracks is another collection of songs with a blues/Americana flavour.
- Cold Iron is a collection of songs more focused on social comment. I decline to call them protest songs, as that makes me think of well-fed 60s pop singers whining about plastic people and how awful everything is.
- Kitsch And Canoodle is an accumulation of songs of love, lust and obsession. Like most of my output.
- Upcountry is an eclectic mixture of Americana, Cornish-flavoured songs, and settings of verse by Kipling, Yeats and Housman.
- You might call Strictly Off The Record my greatest hits album, if I’d had any.
- Back In Free Fall and Still In Free Fall are compilations of instrumental material, much of which is intended to reappear eventually as source material for a music-and-poetry project. The track Back In Free Fall is also available as a single.
- In 2022, being in poor health, I made available some demo material which I may revisit if my health improves sufficiently. The first two of these albums are Born To Be Mild and The Duke Of Haphazard. Some of the songs on The Old Man Laughs will probably also be revisited at some point, but the recording quality is generally better.
- There are a couple of other projects still in the pipeline.
In recent years I’ve been much more engaged with songwriting than with performing (as a guitarist or as a singer), but until Covid upset everything, I did inflict myself from time to time on audiences, occasionally around Shropshire but mostly in Cornwall. Sometimes solo, sometimes with ceilidh bands (most recently with Commoners Mock), though I doubt if I’ll do the ceilidh thing again now. And sometimes (but not nearly often enough) with the fine American (but Ludlow-based) singer Ann Merrill Gray or my long-time singer/songwriter/guitarist buddy Don MacLeod (also based in the Midlands). And even with some of the more musical members of the security community: that tended to take me further afield (the most recent and probably last ever session I took part in was in Sydney). As I tend to avoid security conferences these days, that isn’t likely to happen in future, though.
As a soloist, I tend to play my own material (on acoustic and electric guitars) with an occasional leavening of blues, especially slide. I have been known to play other instruments, but only in bands or in the studio: I know my limitations as a soloist.
If you want to know about me (go on, you know you want to…), my other personal site is here but I’m paying more attention currently to this one, and both are undergoing some refurbishment.
- David Harley’s Songs (Song lyrics, recordings and demo recordings, related info.)
- Dataholics: the IT addiction (Ravings of a security-obsessed internaut, with the occasional cartoon…)
- David Harley’s Verse (This site is going from bad to verse.)
- Parodies Regained (Parody and pastiche.)
- Shropshire Blues (Various aspects of living in Shropshire.)
- Shropshire Laddishness: my settings of Housman’s verse and other Housman-related articles.
My own security and other blogs are (mostly) listed here:
- Anti-Malware Testing – AMTSO, anti-virus product testing, the universe and everything… As I still have an interest in product testing, something else may yet come out of there.
- The AVIEN blog (Andrew Lee’s Anti-Virus Information Exchange Network is pretty much dead as an organization, but the site may still have some use as a repository for vendor-neutral information on tech support scams and ransomware.)
- Check Chain Mail and Hoaxes – Information and commentary on hoaxes, spam and scams. Not being maintained currently.
- ESET blog (This was my primary outlet for security blogging until ESET and I parted company at the beginning of 2019: obviously, ESET has many other bloggers too, some of whom still work there…)
- Geek Peninsula Originally PR stuff, now used as a resource with information on and storage of (some of) my articles, conference papers, and books.
- Mac Virus (Focused on Apple – Mac and iOS – malware and security, and by extension other mobile platforms. Pretty much abandoned now, but left up for reference purposes.)
You’re welcome to mail me via the Contact Page.