BY his own admission, Stephen Hartley’s life does sound as though it has an element of fiction to it.

From early years spent in the cult East Lancashire punk band The Notsensibles to making a living as a busker before training in medicine and ending up as a consultant in A&E, Stephen has made some massive leaps.

Oh, he’s also a record label owner, woodcut printmaker and proud allotment holder.

Now author can be added to that impressive list as Stephen has just published Painting Snails: A Rock and Roll Doctor’s Tale.

“It’s not an autobiography,” he said, “but it is autobiographical. I’ve always wanted to write a book and I’ve used a year at the allotment as the framework for it with lots of anecdotes and observations added in.”

We are chatting in Stephen’s ‘den’ at his home in Burnley. Vintage amplifiers are dotted around the room - another passion of his is building valve amps - typecases, small printing presses and vinyl albums jostle for space on the shelves and it’s hard to miss the drum kit and microphone stands in the middle of the floor.

“I’d always had it in mind to write,” said Stephen. “The first thing I wrote was a tribute when John Peel died which was published in the British Medical Journal.

“I started writing what has become this book about eight years ago based on the cycle of the allotment. I put it to one side for a while and then returned to it and that’s become the finished book I have now.”

With The Notsensibles Stephen had some success including the single I’m In Love with Margaret Thatcher which was championed by John Peel.

But by his early 20s the band life had fizzled out and after busking for several years he decided to go back to college.

“I’d always been interested in medical sciences but without A levels I couldn’t get anywhere,” he said.

Then in spite of being told he’d never get to medical school, Stephen eventually did just that, ultimately becoming an A&E consultant.

“I really believe in the values of the NHS to this day,” he said. “You could not meet a finer band of people to work with.”

He still works as a consultant part time but it’s his allotment, his music and now his writing which also energises him.

“I’ve always been imbued with that DIY ethos,” he said. “In my career I achieved things even though I was told I couldn’t. The book is another example.

“Everyone told me you can’t publish your own book, but I have. I’ve also done all the illustrations for it and taken the cover photograph.”

Stephen has an initial print run of 1,000 copies which are already being snapped up. Tomorrow night he will be at the Dog Inn at Belthorn where he will read from the book and also be performing some of his music.

Painting Snails is also available from, Astonishing Sounds in Burnley and via Amazon.