Having been born in the 1950's, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed the rock music era from the beginning probably right through to its end. I've been lucky enough to have witnessed it all from Bill Haley through legends such as Hendrix and Zappa, to Rage Against The Machine and The White Stripes, who appear to represent the last true rock bands of the age.
I began reviewing while working in London as a photographer. An underground hi-fi magazine of the day needed some photographs taking and someone suggested that I might be able to help. I progressed from taking photos to writing music reviews and then to producing equipment reviews before joining the staff and, ultimately, becoming the editor of what turned into a popular mainstream title. This subsequently led to the beginning of my career as a freelance writer, which I enjoyed until the latter part of the 1990s when I stopped writing for consumer titles and launched a trade magazine. But writing about equipment that I wasn't hearing proved frustrating and was lured back into review writing by Hi-Fi Choice and then HiFi Critic.
This constituted the most valuable lesson that I learned: that hi-fi is nothing more than a means to an end. If a system doesn't convey the spirit of a piece of music then it has little more value than the boxes it came in. This drove me towards favoring mainly British components -- Linn, Roksan, Nytech, Naim, NEAT -- which still form the core of my systems to this day, although I have stepped off this path to pick up some fine Japanese moving coils and tape recorders such as the Sony Walkman Pro, and the Canadian Magnum Dynalab FM tuner. Along the way I've also enjoyed time spent with the Audio Innovations tube amplifiers, sadly no-longer-available, and the characterful American Shahinian omni-directional loudspeakers.