My mate John Parker Lee photographs the Manchester Literature Festival every year. He couldn’t cover one event, fearing Bill Ryder- Jones so he kindly passed the job to me. Bill was the lead guitarist with The Coral and played on the band’s first five albums. It was announced on 9 January 2008 that he had left the band to pursue solo projects. This year saw Bill perform at the festival. It was his first live performance of his solo album If… Composed and recorded as a tribute to Italo Calvino’s playful, postmodern novel, “If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller”, If… is a collection of cinematic songs that fuse exquisite strings and sublime orchestral movements with emotive, vocal led pieces. Inspired by composers like Clint Mansell and Abel Korzeniowski, If… has established the former lead guitarist as a talented composer and songwriter. A unique collaboration, the event featured Bill on guitar/vocals and strings and orchestration from the Camerata ensemble in the inspiring surroundings of Manchester Cathedral. Not only was Bill a quiet, polite unassuming guy who was very happy to be photographed but also an extraordinarily talented musician and composer.