Category:Stephen John Hartley

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Stephen John Hartley left school having failed all his exams - he didn't care. He had better things to do. He was guitarist in iconic UK punk band NOT SENSIBLES - they recorded four singles, an album and a John Peel session.

The North UK had its own separate punk identify imbued with a DIY ethos - make your own record; publish our own fanzine; start your own record label. That DIY ethos, along with a fierce pragmatism and anti-authoritarian view became Hartley's modus operandi.

He stumbled into a traditional engineering apprenticeship which taught him the practical skills to be able to design, make and mend. Not wishing to fund the boss's next luxury car, after finishing his apprenticeship, he hitch-hiked round Europe and met up with some friends who made a living out of busking. Inspired by them, he taught himself classical guitar and spent the next five years as a busker.

He started a back-room DIY record label (Eli Records) and inspired by the Japanese printmakers set up a small traditional letterpress and woodblock print-shop to print his record sleeves.

After meeting his future wife, and after some harrowing experiences at the hands of the medical establishment, he developed a secret urge to become a doctor. Against almost impossible odds, he got a medical school place and now works as an A&E consultant in a UK Major Trauma Centre.

Throughout all this, his over-riding passion has been nature, gardening and the outdoors. One of the most exciting days in his life was when he secured a patch of land on a rugged hillside. Since then he's been gardening organically using permaculture principles.

A eureka moment arrived one late balmy September day - he would write a book from birthday to birthday using the annual cycle of the smallholding as a framework for stories from his life. The result was Painting Snails. He continues to write and is working on his first novel and is writing a sequel to Painting Snails. He blogs regularly at hartleysplot.com/blog and plays regular gigs with his 3-piece band.

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