This is a wonderfully rich account of life as a musician by James Blades, doyen of the percussion world. From his seventy years as a professional musician he presents a vivid and often heart-rending picture of the backroom side of music; what actually goes on at recording sessions, concert rehearsals and in orchestra pits. He began his career playing in cinemas, circuses, dance halls and film studios, steadily making his way up the profession until he was playing with famous conductors such as Boult, Sargent and Britten. This is a fascinating and revealing book which brings together over 400 personalities, known and unknown. Throughout it all, Blades' sense of humour and generosity of spirit shine through.