Who is Paul Bradshaw!

Writer, publisher of Straight No Chaser magazine and cultural evangelist, Paul Bradshaw, has been active on the London music scene since the early Seventies.

Originally from the industrial hinterlands of Manchester he left school for Rochdale College of Art and in 1970 progressed to study painting at Gloucestershire of Art.

Upon arriving in London in 1974 he settled in Dalston and in between teaching practice and college he spent his time in scouring the reggae emporiums on the Kingsland High Road.

Opting out of a career in the teaching profession he commenced working part time as a youth worker and began writing about reggae for the Morning Star and West Indian Digest.

Punk opened the mainstream gates to reggae music and following a commission from the NME editor Neil Spencer to write a live review of Clint Eastwood at the 100 Club he began contributing to the paper.

Features for the NME included:  Jamaica’s Dub Poetry scene (Michael Smith, Mutabaruka etc.), Bunny Wailer, Sir Coxsone Sound System, Sugar Minott, Mikey Dread, Dennis Brown,  Benjamin Zephaniah, Smiley Culture, Frank Chickens, Slim Gaillard.

At this time Bradshaw also contributed to The Wire magazine, worked part time in Maroons Tunes in Soho and co-managed a daytime project for young unemployed people in north Hackney.

In the summer of 1988, along with Neil Spencer and Kathryn Willgress, he launched a “designer fanzine” Straight No Chaser – a magazine of World Jazz Jive.  Though rooted in UK jazz dance scene, it’s embraced the music of the African diaspora. It championed a new generation of UK musicians and producers  (Jazz Warriors, Omar, Galliano, 4 Hero, Reprazent etc) alongside up and coming artists  from around the world. Straight No Chaser paid maximum respect  to the musical elders and innovators who have provided the foundation for today’s culture.

Though he’s never regarded himself as a DJ he regularly played at Far East at the Blue Note in Hoxton Square and on all the Straight No Chaser tours in Japan. He was key to the programming of the London Arts Board backed Straight No Chaser collaborative events – ‘Shape Of Things To Come’ – which featured amongst others The Roots, MC Solar, DJ Krush, Bjork, Talvin Singh, Steve Williamson, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim.

In 2009 the impact of the internet on Straight No Chaser led to Bradshaw to make the difficult decision to cease publication of Straight No Chaser.  In 2010 he published Mark ‘Snowboy’ Cotgrove’s seminal  ‘From  Jazz Funk & Fusion to Acid Jazz: A History Of The UK Jazz Dance Scene’. It was launched at ‘Beyond The Ballroom’ – a collaboration with The Barbican.

In 2011, Bradshaw has launched his own blog –  He  writes for and acted as consultant for Jamie Cullum’s BBC Radio6 show.  Along with Jason Jules, he co-produced  numerous events including  a “Fringe“ to the London Jazz Festival,  ‘The Art Of Lemi Ghariokwu’  and a major exhibition of Chaser photography by Peter Williams.

Current projects include ‘Sacred Music – Sacred Spaces’ – a PRS funded re-interpretation of John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ which is scheduled to be performed at the end of this year – and an exhibition of paintings and illustrations by Japanese artist Yosuke Kawamura.





17 Responses to Biog

  1. Morgan AKA DAKTA Erkhagen says:

    Dear Paul

    First of all, many thank for sharing this fantastic site.
    I can read that there has been interviews back in the days with Michael Smith, the Dub poet. This would be of a great interest for me to read. Any thoughts about sharing this to the world? I am sure Michalel would have agree. The album, Mi cyaan believe it, should be re-released. I have contacted LKJ who directed me to Island records. i had no luck or even any response to my question if they ever plan to relesae that album again as they are the owner of rights.
    I think some one should..

    Big ups and respect!

    Kind regards

  2. lemnsissay says:

    Just to say Thanks Paul

  3. kelly says:

    Hello, Any idea where I can buy a copy of the Word Sound & Power: Reggae Changed My Life poster, I seen it at the 02 music experience but I was hoping to be able to buy online? Really want to buy it for a present if possible, Thank you!

  4. Richard Golbourne says:

    Just found your site! i wasn’t aware Straight ceased to be. It was the mag i used to start my Jazz education in the eighties. Used to always have a copy with me on the night bus going to do my show on JFM, Solar Radio into the early morning. I’m now wrong side of forty but still loving my music.

    All the Best

    Richard “Gold” Golbourne

  5. howard says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the coverage on Kennardphillipps exhibition ‘Blue Murder’. Glad you liked the show.

    Would you be so kind as to incorporate a url link to the gallery address within your review.

    Thank you so much

  6. Hi Paul, love the way you write about the record shops of Dalston in the 70s!
    Is there any chance I could meet you to talk to you about Ridley Road record shops?
    I’ve been collecting stories from people at Ridley Road market this summer –>
    Would be great to hear from you! Tamara

  7. Stefan says:

    Hi Paul,

    What a terrific site!
    I’ve just listened to your WWFM show from 2017 with Penny Reel on Mixcloud.
    Would you know whether it’s still possible to obtain — and from where — his ‘Up the dreary Slope’, ‘In Groves and Along Lanes’ and ‘Monkey Business’ titles?
    I contacted Dub Vendor to no avail.
    Also were the ‘Ghost Dance’ and ‘Yardbird’ books that you reference in the ‘Jocks and Nerd’s article on Mr Simon ever see publication?

    • Paul Brad says:

      Hello Stefan… I may have copies of ‘Up the Dreary Slope’, ‘In Groves and Along Lanes’… I’ll get back to you later in the week… Ghost Dance & Yardbirds are yet to be published… waiting for this damn pandemic to subside… not easy to get press or a buzz at the moment… will keep you posted. Laterrrs, pb

  8. Stefan says:

    Hi Paul,
    Any joy re locating copies of ‘Up the Dreary Slope’ and ‘In Groves and Along Lanes’ ?

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