About me

Photo: Alexander Makov

As an Oxford-educated academic, Gales listed author, event organizer, and invited international speaker, I have attracted interest from the academic world, the global media and music fan community.

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My academic career began in 1991 when I was awarded a first class honors degree in geography by Oxford University. Since then I have spent most of my time either studying or teaching popular music. My research centres on Elvis Presley and popular music fandom, though my work has often ventured into other areas of popular music and fan culture. I current work as a Reader in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Chester.

In 1993, I completed an MA at UBC in Vancouver looking into the music industry and Canadian national identity. I was then employed briefly by Sony Music UK in a sales and marketing capacity. The University of Wales awarded me a PhD in 1999 for my thesis on Elvis fandom, Understanding Elvis: Presley Power and Performance. Simon Frith was my external examiner.

Since 1999, I have taught full time in media and cultural studies at the University of Chester where my duties have included postgraduate teaching, research and curriculum development. During this time, I have examined nine PhDs on diverse topics related to popular music culture. My blog has had over 90,000 hits since its inception in 2009 and contains interviews with a range of academic writers on music fandom.

I organized an international symposium on popular music fandom at the University of Chester in 2010. In 2012, I presented an international keynote speech at the MARS 2012 conference in Seinajoki, Finland, and co-organized an international symposium on popular music and automobiles at the University of Chester. I published two books in 2013: Understanding Fandom (Bloomsbury) and the edited volume Popular Music Fandom (Routledge).

In 2014, I spoke at Studying Music: A Conference in Honour of Simon Frith in Edinburgh. With Professor Claude Chastagner, I co-organized A Conference on Rock Music and Love at the University of Montpellier in France. The following year, I published another edited volume, Fan Identities and Practices: Dedicated to Music (Routledge).

I co-organized another international symposium at Chester in April 2015, this time on popular music fandom and the public sphere. I was invited to Moscow in 2016 to speak at Challenges of Participatory Culture, an international conference held at HSE. In the spring of 2017, I was an invited speaker at the Locating Imagination conference at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. That summer I organized New Perspectives on Elvis, an international conference at the University of Memphis, and completed a new book called Counting Down Elvis: His 100 Finest Songs.

In 2019, I returned to Memphis, joining with Dr Amanda Nell Edgar to present Balancing The Mix: A Conference on Popular Music and Social Justice. 2020 saw the publication of my edited volume with Dr Beate Peter, Popular Music and Automobiles, as well as a single author book, simply titled Elvis (Equinox). I have recently co-written a book on monstrosity and masculinity with Dr Jon Hackett called Scary Monsters (Bloomsbury), which is due early in 2021. I am also editing a forthcoming book called Rethinking Elvis (Oxford University Press).