My slightly dodgy hearing can be traced back to the 15th of November 1989, the night I saw the Happy Mondays at Bradford Queens Hall. The group were in all their baggydelic pomp and on the threshold of international fame. A couple of years later I was at art college in Carlisle and saw this guy, Bob Brozman, play in the café of the city museum. Brozman is the best guitarist you’ve perhaps never heard of. On a good day (and his days are always good) he can make Pete Townsend look like he’s just picked up Bert Weedon’s Play In A Day. Brozman’s the acknowledged maestro of the National Steel Guitar, the beautiful instruments often associated with 1920s Blues players. Nationals were popular with Bluesmen in the pre-amplifier days because they were three or four times louder than wooden guitars, and your playing could be heard over the hubbub of the average Juke Joint. Brozman started to collect these guitars when he was about 13 and Nationals were deeply unfashionable, available from pawnbrokers for a couple of dollars. He now has one of the largest collections in the world. That evening in Carlisle was electrifying, with Brozman doing a set that encompassed everything from Gyspy Swing to Bottleneck Blues, lap steel and Hawaiian. He even serenaded us all out of the candlelit building with his ukelele. I’ve seen a lot of bands since, but along with the Mondays this was best gig i’ve ever been to, made even more memorable by the fact that It was the night I met Mrs Ten-Inch Wheels.