Hi there, thanks for being curious enough to see what this new Substack is all about, you may have followed me over from Tales of the Orient (that’s my other publication).

Two years ago my father passed away, and this summer I was finally able to go to the UK and say goodbye at the cemetery, having been unable to travel internationally due to the Covid restrictions. Afterwards I spent some time going through his things, and - after clearing it up - went through his music room, a space he had carved out at the back of the garage, where he used to listen to his records, read up on the blues, and jam with my uncle when he was over. After picking out a few albums to bring home, I came across a couple of his old notebooks, which I discovered contained 50 songs he must have written over decades, from growing up in London to living in Hong Kong.

Almost straightaway I knew what I wanted to do with them: share them with you.

That’s why I’ll be posting one new song a week. Mostly it’s lyrics, some have noted annotations. I make no promises about the quality (though I think you’ll enjoy them), but they’ll reflect my dad’s journey over many years, and perhaps give you (and me) a little more insight into his life. If you’re of a musical bent, I’d love for you to put his words to music, and if you send a video or audio file to me I’ll add them to the post.

So I hope you enjoy Tony’s Songbook. It’s going to be an interesting musical journey.


Simon Ostheimer
Hong Kong-raised, Cambodia-based writer