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Wirral musician set to release debut single from Wilfred Owen musical
A WIRRAL musician is set to release his debut single from a musical about First World War poet Wilfred Owen.
Written by Dean Johnson, The Wilfred Owen Story Part 1 (Welcome To Birkenhead) is taken from his play, Bullets and Daffodils, which chronicles the life of one-time Wirral resident Wilfred, who was killed in action at the end of the First World War.
Featured in the recording is actor Christopher Timothy, who played vet James Herriot in the BBC drama All Creatures & Small.
Dean told the Globe: "I can't remember hearing Birkenhead mentioned in a record before, so I think this is a good chance to get Birkenhead on the airwaves. It's a very upbeat tune. It's got a nice beat to it, so hopefully it will inform as well as entertain.
"The boss of 360 degree records was at Warner Brothers for 20 years, so I'm confident he knows how to market and promote records. I think this record is in good hands."
"The play, which deals with Wilfred Owen's life before and during the conflict, was premiered at Birkenhead Central Library on November 10 and staged at Earlston Library in Wallasey on Armistice Day.
The debut single has been praised by music critic and television scriptwriter David Quantick, who said: "Once again Dean Johnson defies the norm and produces strange but strangely familiar music, all beauty and brains."
Coinciding with the release of the CD is the first issue of an e-magazine Voices, which welcomes writers,poets, musicians and film-makers to use their own voices in the same spirit as Wilfred Owen used his.
The magazine is available on www.wilfredowenstory.com, a website specially created by Dean.
Dean, who attended the same school as Wilfred - Birkenhead Institute - continued: "It's all part of my campaign to get Wilfred's name up on a bigger stage. I suppose, in a way, I’ve championed Wilfred Owen since leaving school.
"The website is a notice board for anything anybody wants to say about Wilfred and his influence upon them. I want to use his story to lift people.
"We all know the images of the First World War, but if you read Wilfred's letters, you will see how positive he was about the future.
"When the going got tough, he turned his life around and got something positive out of the situation he was in."
The website is supported by Wirral's mayor, Cllr Alan Jennings, who features in the magazine’s next issue.
Cllr Jennings, a keen poet, has pledged to support Dean in raising Wilfred’s profile in Wirral.
He told the Globe: "I was delighted to meet Dean and find out more about all he is doing to raise the profile of Wilfred Owen in Wirral.
"I don't think that many people realise that Wilfred Owen spent his formative years in Birkenhead and this is something that Wirral should be extremely proud of.
"His poetry about the horrors of war is very moving and means a lot to me personally, having had the honour of meeting local people who have made huge sacrifices for our country in wars past and present.
"The work of Wilfred Owen is very pertinent to the experiences of many men, women and families and I am happy to support any efforts to boost his legacy here in Wirral."