Most people in the course of their daily lives come across frustrations born of other people’s ignorance, stupidity or sheer obduracy.

A way of dealing with this first occurred to us when Iain Dunn and I worked together in a previous life – advertising. Together we produced many funny and original commercials, but along the way we sometimes encountered clients who were difficult, rude and, on several occasions, dangerously deranged.

In these cases, the highlight of the job was the final invoice, the moment that made it all literally worth our while. Indeed, invoicing became the most satisfying way of punishing the bad, the ugly and the downright offensive for their atrocities. ‘Bob’s your invoice!’ we’d cackle as we wielded the mighty billing-pen with glee. We’d dream of a day when we would issue an invoice so large, that a great cavalcade would bear it along Wardour Street on a gold platter and deliver it to the door of the offending client.

Ripple dissolve twenty years later we found ourselves sitting in a railway café that resembled the gentlemen’s conveniences opposite platform fifteen at Waterloo Station.

Morosely we were comparing notes on the particularly dispiriting client meetings we’d both had. Then, somewhat inevitably, our train was cancelled. Who first suggested invoicing the train company for our wasted time is lost in the mists of time.

But at that moment The Invoice Book! was born.

We realised that there were many people, organisations, clients and corporations who deserved to receive an invoice for something. There were also many who would benefit from this simple and harmless way of venting their frustration. So, in recognition of the inspirational days of ‘Bob’s your invoice!’, we decided to create the ‘everyman’ characters of Bob Howard, Bob Johnstone and related  family friends.

Working on the principle that ‘if you can’t beat them, bill them’, the two Bobs sent dozens of invoices to anyone and everyone they felt deserved one. Invoices were also raised against a whole range of unsolicited suggestions for services, products and inventions.

Some replies we received were curt; a few were angry. But from a surprising number we received courteous, well-argued and even jolly letters back, many of which are reprinted here. Others simply tried to ignore us, hoping we’d go away. But we persisted, sending out reminders, and then reminders about the reminders, until we got a reply, thereby removing the corporate mask that so many companies hide behind.

‘It’s an opportunity for growth’ a friend of ours was fond of saying. Stuff and nonsense. It’s an opportunity for invoicing! Our advice to you and all the other Bobs out there is as simple as it’s sweet: don’t get mad – get invoicing! As a special treat, we’ve attached the entire book so you can see how we got on. Click here to delve into it in full HTML5 interactive glory.



Some years ago, I was asked to be part of Cliff Richard’s band. The first tour was to South Africa. At the time we were ‘advised’ not to go because of the appalling Apartheid regime and the musicians union were blacklisting any members who went there. I decided to go and find out for myself.

I toured with Cliff for the next five years on keyboards and sometimes as MD at concerts around UK, Europe, USA, Australia, New Zealand, and the Far East. I was also involved as producer on some of his songs in the studio and together we wrote several songs that were released as singles and album tracks.

Leaving the band, I pursued a career as a music composer and producer, writing commissioned music for TV, film, radio, advertising, animation and song writing.

Cliff and I performed together on many unplugged concerts; him as the Guitarist-Legendary-Singer-Star and me on keyboards. These have included benefits, charity shows and a several corporate events. This began in Lisbon on a regular tour when, after the main concert was cancelled, Cliff quickly agreed on a chat show format in a smaller venue and, interviewed by Bill Latham, talked about life, faith and music. I asked if I could come along and play a few songs with him on piano. The unplugged gigs were born.

On hearing about this big tour in 2002 and the seven months it would last, I asked if I could come back to take one of the keyboard chairs.

I heard nothing for quite a while. but received a call  a few months later to ask if I was still available.

I accepted. It was a great opportunity to play with him and some great musicians again.

There was also the possibility to travel with the wife to Australia, New Zealand and bits of the Far East and meet up with old friends out there. Something I though I’d never get to do again.

It was a chance to share in the rather unique experience of touring with a legend, great performer and friend on what appeared to be his last, long and detailed world tour. (Certainly writing this 20 years later that seemed to have been the case.)
I also wanted to see if it was as much fun touring now as it was at the beginning.

I was encouraged to keep a diary of the tour as I had done on previous smaller unplugged trips with Cliff and, from the first day of rehearsals at Bray and Pinewood to the final shows in Tokyo and Bangkok, I recorded my inner thoughts and took pictures on most days.

The tour

The tour began in September 2002 with a four week rehearsal schedule; three weeks at Bray Studios and one week at Pinewood Studios. We then took the first part of the tour around UK for a total of five weeks, starting in Ireland, Wales, through England to Scotland and finishing on the South Coast of England.

Three weeks in Europe, starting in Norway and extensive travelling through Germany, Belgium, Holland and Scandinavia.

A couple of weeks break for Christmas and then to Australia, starting in Perth, travelling through the rest of Australia playing in Vineyards at Hunter Valley and Barossa Valley.

New Zealand and two concerts in Christchurch and one in Napier at another vineyard.

The final part was in the Far East starting in Singapore, we played in Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, South Korea, Tokyo, and Bangkok, flying home mid-March 2003.

Throughout the tour, the film crew shot fly-on-the-wall footage of sound checks, backstage activities, interviews and stuff on Cliff to accompany a DVD released late 2003.

The Diary

The diary details the places, concerts, the ups and downs, the funny things, the not-so-funny things, stuff about Cliff and generally loads of backstage nonsense. It’s a dairy from my perspective in the band.  It’s a daily journal which is why it suits the blog format which wasn’t available when I first started writing it.

There were times when Cliff’s presence wasn’t around so much, so I went walk-about through hotels, restaurants and other places of interest mainly to keep me sane. At times doing this was a real life saver.

The photos

I also got some great photographs, taken backstage, around dressing rooms and some actually on stage during the shows. Photographs starting from the rehearsals through the shows in UK and Europe and many one-off events.

When I returned from the tour I gave it to a publisher to see if it had any value. Within a month they offered me a deal. The courting continued for seven months, when, out of the blue, they decided that they didn’t want to publish it after all. No reasons were given.

On the same day I received a  hefty call from The management threatening me with several injunctions if I published.

I know that contractually I am safe with this account . I originally asked another author to ‘red-pen’ the copy and he was keen for me to add more salacious accounts that may have had more interest for further gossip and rumour. I didn’t want to go there and felt that my account of working with someone I admired and trusted was worth documenting in an honest and favourable light.


A series of stories for children penned by myself and illustrated by Ian Heath. Here I intend to include an early draft for download.

Coming Soon!