I was introduced to ‘Great Expectations’ as a boy at my local picture house, where it was shown in glorious black and white. Oh how I recall those heart wrenching moments I shared with Pip as the beautiful but cold Estella rejected his every romantic move. In fact I can still taste the Kia Ora orange drink.

One morning in early 2012 I surrendered to the common affliction known as channel hopping. My timing was perfect. And old black and white film was just clearing its opening credits. The scene was a freezing desolate churchyard. A young innocent boy was tending a grave when suddenly, from out of nowhere, sprang the evilest looking rough neck of a man one could ever imagine. This shackled beast, having forcibly grabbed the boy, was scaring the living daylights out of the poor lad. Where is the Ki Ora when you need it?  

That is how I came to meet the challenge of writing the songs, seventeen in all, that would reflect the rhythm of life during England’s dark Dickensian period. 

I began by making use of the threatening demands on the boy from that despicable beast of a man. ‘Heaven Strike Me Dead’ came with relative ease, as did the ‘farewell to the gloomy past, here’s to the glorious future’ message of surety in the next song, which happened to be ‘Great Expectations’.


As my confidence grew and other songs took shape I realized that this story was not the run of the mill fodder that musicals are generally made of. For example the leading man and his leading lady have no romantic involvement until two minutes before the curtain falls. Estella has no option but to tell Pip, via a most poignant lyric exactly how the land lies romantically between them during her ad lib introduction of the song ‘I Have No Heart’. Estella pleads with Pip ‘Don’t take me for granted. Be not disenchanted. I have no wish to hurt you.’


The next hurdle for Pip and me to overcome is how to accept Estella’s rejection of him. So in his song ‘Hold Me In Your Dreams’, I have Pip requesting that ‘Should we meet in a crowded room let’s assume we’re merely friends. But secretly in dreams you’ll be mine ’til darkness ends.’


However I’ve always been a firm believer in a happy ending so with Pip and Estella rediscovering each other, I have Pip, now minus his inheritance and she a penniless widow, as the eternal optimist. He urges Estella by way of the grand finale song to ‘Tear Down The Curtains’ with a most positive lyric. ‘Tear down the curtains, let in the light. I know for certain our future’s bright. Out with the darkness, sorrow and tears. All that’s been heartless throughout the years.’


Being seated at my piano for such long arduous periods of time in order to write the seventeen songs that make up this wondrous story have proved to be such a joyous experience for me. I do hope you enjoy my efforts. If that be the case, could you possibly pass the Kia Ora? Thank you.

"Heaven Strike Me Dead"

"If The Boy Ain't Grateful"

"I Have No Heart"

"Hold Me In Your Dreams"

"It Was Me"

"Tear Down The Curtains"

"Great Expectations"

"The 'Ulks "

"A Crusty Pie"

"Take Us As You Find Us"