Melvyn Hiscock Biography
Well, I was born in Stubbington, a small quaint village on
the south coast of
The only things I can remember about the infants school was performing in the nativity play when I was about 6. I had the part of Joseph and Derek played one of the sheep.
From there I went to the Juniors. This was about a mile from home and I cycled there with Derek running beside the bike. All I really remember was that some of wrote ‘The Sunday Ploop’ and the ‘Daily Gherkin’, comedic things that were clearly influenced by the ‘Beano’ and the fave TV show of that time, ‘Do Not Adjust Your Set.’.
Due to being vaguely intelligent, I was sent off to Grammar
At this time I wanted to be a photographer but this was not likely to happen, as we could not really afford for me to go to college. Derek, meanwhile, had got a job as an insurance salesman.
I had started playing guitar when I was 13 but I was not a natural. I have never been a good practicer and want results instantly. I was about the only person in my year that played and that made forming bands hard as you don’t tend to drift out of your yeargroups when you are that age. A couple of years below me were people like Martin Bird and Kev Robinson who went in to play in Virginia Doesn’t (who got a John Peel session) and the Time, both great fun bands. Jealous? Me?
I also had a Saturday job in the world’s most rubbish music
By the time I left school I had started making guitars, although not very well. There was simply nothing available to read that had any good information in it. Of course, having no experience in using tools was not a help either.
After leaving school I had a job in the civil Service in Portsmouth Dockyard and later at the Census Office. Both were dull, dull, dull and were an education in how some people are quite happy to allow their lives to stagnate as long as they don’t have to think. Graveyards for the living.
Slowly I got better at making guitars and in 1980 I moved to
I moved back to the
This came about when a guy called Bruce Brand asked me how to make a guitar and I told him to go to the library and get the book out, it was that simple. He told me there was no book and I didn’t believe him and so I sent him back to the library to check! He came back a few weeks later and confirmed that there was no book and he thought that I should write one but I thought this was a very silly idea. But the idea germinated and I thought more and more about it.
I started writing sometime in 1983 and carried on through 1984 until the book was delivered to the publisher in mid-1985. It was released on Blandford Press in May 1986.
For a while I left the music biz to go and do jobs that actually earned money and heard little about the book except for getting a royalty payment. By 1994 I was working in publishing and I knew that a new edition was needed so I started negotiations and got nowhere with my publisher who were determined not to do it. In the end I managed to get them to revert the rights to me and I became the publisher in November 1996. The second edition was written and produced at home and the book came out in 1998. It has now sold, over the two editions, something like 120,000 copies.
In 2010 the follow up book Make Your Own Acoustic Guitar was released. This is a colour book and has almost 600 photographs.
Meanwhile, I had learned to fly in 1992 and in 1995 I started commentating for Brian Lecomber’s Firebird Aerobatics company. This led to complete shows and I have now done shows such as the Goodwood revival Meeting, Flying Legends, Wings and Wheels at Dunsfold and the Biggin Hill Air Fair and I commentate the Jersey International Airshow as well as several smaller ones.
I have also done a considerable amount of voiceover work on aviation DVDs and other projects and a large number of talks on guitar making and aviation.
In 1993 I bought a Rearwin Cloudster that was supposed to be
complete and ready for reassembly. This proved to be far from the case and a
five year, ground up rebuild was started with the aeroplane flying in March
Other than that I play a bit around various blues nights and open mic and have even been known to go busking.
I don’t do a lot of guitar making now, to be honest after almost forty years I don’t really have a lot to prove and I DID write the book, but I make pickups, which I enjoy, I play more now than I have done in years and I do other stuff I enjoy, like flying.
Oh, the mentions of Derek were not true. He was a Mammoth.