I was born in Cardiff in Wales and my real name is Steve Andrews. In 1998, I was a columnist for Big Issue Cymru, a magazine sold to raise funds for homeless people, and knowing that I was a singer-songwriter, poet and performer who lived on the Ely council estate, the publication dubbed me the Bard of Ely. It made a great stage name and appealed to my sense of humour!
Who is the Bard of Ely? Find out in his Wizzography
Wizzography for The Bard of Ely whose real name is Steve Andrews. Here you can find out more about him.
In the beginning was the Word
It is written that in the beginning was the Word, and so it has always been with me too because I am first and foremost a writer. If I write a song the lyrics are penned before I compose the tune.
I suppose I became a professional freelance writer when I had a regular column in Big Issue Cymru back in 1998. It was the first writing work I had been paid for, though I had previously had songs released on various labels.
Since then I have written for a lot of magazines as well as two newspapers, and for numerous blogs and websites.
I also write poetry and have written two books that are published and have more on the way.
I have spent over four years on HubPages where my hubs have been viewed over 1,000,000 times but I am not happy with how the site has changed recently and so discovered Wizzley!
The Singer-songwriter and Musician
A singer and his songs
I started writing songs on the guitar and performing live way back in around 1971 but never really got anywhere professionally at that time. I started again in earnest and wanting to make a career out of it around 1987 when I was a member of the Church of Scientology. I felt inspired at the time to do something with my talents and began promoting my work.
In 1989, my song Jungle Love was included on Meltdown The Album, a vinyl LP on Chariot Records featuring tracks by Various Artists from South Wales, all of whom had been performers at the Meltdown club for live music and variety acts. My song was called a "highlight of the album" by Paul Davies in Q magazine. I thought I was well on the way to becoming a big star but my optimism was ill-founded and I soon came to realise that the music business is a lot harder to get a break into than a song on a compilation album and a good review in a music publication!
Throughout the '90s I played hundreds of gigs and twice had short-lived bands - The Flowers of the City and The Venusian Priests. My songs were released on cassettes,on vinyl and on CDs.
I was often on local radio stations, both as a guest and as an artist whose music was broadcast, and also had my songs used by several TV stations too with the most notable of these being Channel 5 which had my song Sound of One in party scenes in the soap opera Family Affairs. I played at a number of festivals too including the Newport Jazz Festival, The Llanfair Folk Fair, Llantrisant Festival and Glastonbury Festival. I managed to get to perform at Glastonbury on the Wise Crone Café Stage because I was working at the time for Robin Williamson, of Incredible String Band fame. Robin was often booked as an act for the Avalon Stage.
In 2002 and 2003, I was an MC for the Avalon Stage and in 2003 I was in the same role at the Green Man Festival, as well as a performer at that event. My song Real Love and Communication was included on the Green Man Festival CD album on Double Snazzy.
In 2002 my very controversial song You're a Liar, Nicky Wire, fronted the Taffia EP on Crai Records and was rave reviewed in the NME.
In 2009, a selection of my songs, including the title track Welsh Wizard, was remastered and released on DMMG Records. This was followed by the album Dive In Deep and an EP entitled Manana.
Bard of Ely live at Flicks Bar
Bard of Ely performing on the island of Tenerife
Bard of Ely's books
I am the author of Herbs of the Northern Shaman - A Guide to Mind-altering Plants of the Northern Hemisphere, which was published first by Loompanics Unlimited in 2000 and again, with some next text and all new colour photos by Katrinia Rindsberg, in 2010 by O-Books.
Loompanics was in America and this caused problems because it cost a lot to ship the books over to the UK. At one point Howard Marks, aka Mr Nice, really did volunteer to help me sell it by stocking my book along with his own at dates on his tours. Sadly I was not able to accept his very kind offer due to the costs of getting the books from the US.
The new edition of Herbs of the Northern Shaman is available from Amazon and Blackwells and Waterstone's, among other stockists.
I also have an Amazon Kindle title which is an autobiographical account of all my spiritual and paranormal experiences and entitled Hummadruz and a Life of High Strangeness.
Herbs of the Northern Shaman on Amazon
A Guide to the Mind-Altering Herbs of the Northern Hemisphere
|Herbs of the Northern Shaman|
Herbs that can be used to affect the mental state of the consumer, as well as for their healing properties, have been a part of cultures and sub-cultures all around the world ev...
John Hunt Publishing
Hummadruz and a Life of High Strangeness is Bard of Ely's autobiography
Hummadruz - a mysterious humming sound - stuff to buy
Herbs of the Northern Shaman with Steve Andrews
Royce Holleman interviews Bard of Ely on Paranormal Palace Radio
Background and education
My early years and at college
I was born in Romilly Road Nursing Home in Canton, Cardiff and was brought up in the city of Llandaff where my parents lived. Llandaff is a city within the city of Cardiff. It is also a village and I went to junior school there.
I have a sister called Hazel who is younger than me.
I passed the 11-plus and went to Cantonian High School where I passed six GCSE O-levels and three A-levels. Much later on in life I went to Coleg Glan Hafren in 1997 where I studied and passed the BTEC Diploma in Media Studies, gaining 15 distinctions, and also A-levels with A-grades in Media Studies and Film Studies. I made the short film Unusual Shopping while at this college.
After this I went to Cardiff University and graduated with a BA (Hons) 2:1 degree in Journalism, Film and Broadcast.
Bard of Ely's Unusual Shopping
A tribute to Ed Wood
David Attenborough was my hero
I have been fascinated by animals and plants since I was a toddler and started keeping all sorts of small creatures when I was a boy. My interest in wildlife and botany has stayed with me all my life, and although I have no formal qualifications in any academic subjects such as zoology, I am widely recognised as a naturalist and botanist with a very good knowledge of many species of flora and fauna and the environment.
In 1998, I worked for a while as a TV presenter for two series of the magazine In Full View on BBC Choice. In this role I was out and about in the South Wales countryside seeing what plants and animals I could find.
Of course I had dreams of becoming a TV natural history presenter and following in the footsteps of David Attenborough but it was not to be.
Foraging with Bard of Ely
Foraging in the woods
I first started being a public speaker when I was doing all I could to sell my book Herbs of the Northern Shaman. I found that I was good at it and that books sold easily after I had finished speaking. I remember doing a talk on the Herbs of Witchcraft at a Pagan Federation event in London and a couple of people in the audience actually bought two copies each.
In 2004, I failed to get a booking as a performer or as an MC at Glastonbury Festival but I still got in as a guest speaker. Once again my subject was herbs and witchcraft.
Fast forwarding to 2012 and I have given two sell-out talks at the English Library in Puerto de la Cruz. The first of these was on the Flora and Fauna of Tenerife and the second on the Floral Magic of the island.
The Paranormal and Conspiracies
UFOs, Paranormal experiences and Conspiracy Theories
In my life I have had a great deal of paranormal experiences including UFO sightings and ghostly encounters. As a child and teenager I underwent a series of bizarre awakenings at night caused by a loud humming sound. The UFO author Jenny Randles told me years later that this was probably "Hummadruz", which she said was a "psychic training exercise" and the word was made up of "Hum", "Drone" and "Buzz."
These early experiences caused me to be really interested in investigating the mysteries of life and the spiritual side of things. I also spent years researching conspiracy theories and have written on these subjects for Chris Everard's Feed Your Brain magazine and elsewhere.
I was once a member of the Gurdjieff Work for two years before I joined Scientology and I stayed in it for four years.
I have been hypnotically regressed for the HTV series Weird Wales and my hypnotist thought I may well be an abductee. I simply do not know about that but my sightings and experiences were real enough.
Back in the '90s, I joined the Loyal Arthurian Warband Druid Order after becoming friends with its titular head, King Arthur Pendragon. I am a Quest Knight and Bard of his order.
In recent years I have been involved in investigating the mysterious pyramids of Tenerife.
Bard of Ely's regression session
A UFO encounter
New home in the Canary Islands
I first visited Tenerife in the Canary Islands back in 2002 and immediately fell in love with the island. It had plenty of wildlife, including bees and lizards, as well as lots of wild flowers and strange exotic flora such as the Dragon Trees.
At the end of 2004, I moved to the island and have been based there ever since. I have lived in Costa del Silencio in the hot and dry south of the island for the first year but in May 2006 I moved to San Marcos in the north of Tenerife. I live with a cat called Tiggy in a 2-bedroomed apartment with a balcony that looks out over the sea and down the coast to Garachico, a seaport that was once almost destroyed by a volcanic eruption.
Cats and caterpillars
As already explained I live with cat called Tiggy. She was originally my landlady Cindy's cat but she gave her to me when she moved back to Guernsey back in 2005.
Tiggy is a tabby and I am totally devoted to her. I will not leave the island unless I can find someone to come and stay here to look after her while I am away.
I have also been rearing caterpillars of the Monarch Butterfly and feeding them on Milkweed I have grown in pots on my balcony. A couple of years back I managed to have as many as 50 adults emerge in one week. It was a real joy watching them fly away.
Magazines and newspapers
I was commissioned to write a series of articles on foraging through the four seasons for Permaculture Magazine. I have also written for Kindred Spirit, again about foraging but also about the mysterious Guanche people and the pyramids of Tenerife.
With author and journalist C.J. Stone, I collaborated on an article about Atlantis for Prediction magazine, and with him again for a collaborative feature about seeing Tenerife on the buses of the island for the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners magazine.
As already explained, I have had several writings in Feed Your Brain Magazine and am continuing to write for Chris Everard who found me on HubPages.
Where I am currently living I have been a contributor to the Tenerife News newspaper, and used to have a column in the now defunct Tenerife Sun. I was also a columnist, writing about gardening, for Living Tenerife magazine.
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Books by other authors
Books Bard of Ely is featured in
Besides my own books I am am featured in depth in many books by other authors. I am in C.J. Stone's Fierce Dancing - Adventures in the Underground and The Last of the Hippies, both published by Faber and Faber, as well as his Housing Benefit Hill (AK Press), in his collaboration as Christopher James Stone with Arthur Pendragon, The Trials of Arthur (Element), in Peter Finch's Real Cardiff (Seren), in The Remarkable Life of Leonard Cohen (Omnibus Press) by Anthony Reynolds, and The World's Most Mysterious People (Hounslow) by Lionel and Patricia Fanthorpe.
The Trials of Arthur is now out as a revised Kindle edition, and I am also going in a book by Philip Coppens about pyramids.
The World's Most Mysterious People by Lionel Fanthorpe
Some of the world's most mysterious people ever
|The World's Most Mysterious People (Mysteries and Secrets)|
Did Rasputin, the mad monk of Tsarist Russia, possess supernatural powers? Who was the mysterious prisoner in the Bastille who has gone down in history as "The Man in the Iron M...
The Remarkable Life of Leonard Cohen by Anthony Reynolds
Biography of Leonard Cohen
|Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life|
The story of the life and loves and work of Leonard Cohen, the poet, songwriter and singer. this detailed biography draws on scores of new intervews conducted with Cohen's band ...
The Trials of Arthur on Amazon
King Arthur Pendragon the Druid King
|The Trials of Arthur|
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Like so many people I have lost work and regular income due to the ongoing financial crisis and so have very seriously considered going back to the UK. I might have a better chance there of getting work and money:
But moving back is not that simple because I need to pay around £1,000 just for Tiggy's flight and treatments by a vet that are mandatory.
I need somewhere for us to move into when we get there and preferably a regular job for myself.
I don't really want to move but it might happen. The future is an open book for me!
Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.