NEW TITLE | What’s She Like by Helen O’Hara

Route is delighted to announce the acquisition of Helen O’Hara’s memoir, What’s She Like – the first memoir by a member of Dexys Midnight Runners.

The book recounts O’Hara’s Bristol upbringing, playing a mixture of classical and popular music, before embarking on a music degree at Birmingham Conservatoire where she was headhunted by Kevin Rowland of Dexys Midnight Runners who was looking to add strings to the group’s previously horn-heavy sound. The resulting album Too-Rye-Ay included the global smash hit record ‘Come On Eileen’, and lead to O’Hara turning down a contract with Bilbao Symphony Orchestra in order to join Dexys full time. O’Hara and Rowland started a romantic relationship and were due to be married, but their relationship broke down during the making of what many believe to be Dexys’ masterpiece album, Don’t Stand Me Down, which included Rowland’s song for O’Hara, ‘This is What She’s Like’ from which the memoir draws its name. O’Hara also has a long working relationship with Tanita Tikaram, and the memoir covers her work with Nicky Hopkins, Graham Parker and Tim Burgess amongst others.

Route Editor Ian Daley acquired the rights from agent Daniel Scott.

Daniel Scott said: ‘I was contacted by my friend Kevin Rowland, who told me about an astonishing memoir Helen had written, which, among other things, totally got to the heart of Dexys. Knowing how Kevin often feels underwhelmed by writers trying to convey the spirit and soul of this idiosyncratic band, I suspected Helen’s book might be rather special. It exceeded my expectations and I am thrilled that Route are bringing their customary passion and energy to this wonderful book.’

Ian Daley said: ‘Dexys Midnight Runners have a very special place in the history of British popular music, and we can’t wait to share Helen’s story; not just with the legion of Dexys fans, but with the wider world too. Short of role models of female instrumentalists in pop music growing up, Helen became one herself, inspiring young women to take up the violin and embark on a career in music themselves. We hope this book, and Helen’s beautiful attitude to life, will inspire many more.’

What’s She Like will be officially released on 19th August 2022. However, if you want to be amongst the first to read it, signed and numbered advance copies will be made available in late June exclusively from Route at standard cover price. To secure a copy, click here to pre-order.

Remembering John Bauldie

Bill Allison and John Bauldie, 1980s
Bill Allison and John Bauldie, 1980s

John Bauldie died in a helicopter crash on 22nd October 1996. He was returning to London with Matthew Harding, Chairman of Chelsea Football Club, after watching his beloved Bolton Wanderers’ shock victory over Chelsea in the League Cup. John and Harding had become friends over their shared love of football and Bob Dylan. To mark the 25th anniversary of Matthew Harding’s passing, Chelsea will have a minute’s applause before their home game with Norwich City on 23rd October 2021. That applause is for John too.

John Bauldie was the Godfather of the Bob Dylan fan network and Bob Dylan Studies. Throughout the seventies he’d been central to a worldwide community of avid Dylan tape collectors who shared rare studio outtakes and live concert recordings with each other. Galvanised by meeting a lot of fellow Dylan fans face-to-face at the 1978 concerts, and cemented by a subsequent Dylan conference called ‘Zimmerman Blues’ in 1979, John saw the need to create a vehicle to bring together this network of disparate fans. With the help of some like-minded friends – Clinton Heylin amongst them – they created Wanted Man, which served as a Bob Dylan knowledge hub, with a stream of information going out to a growing base of fellow travellers. Central to it all was The Telegraph, a subscription-based magazine that contained a mixture of updates on Dylan’s current activity, historical features, interviews with people who’d worked with Bob, and critical pieces examining particular aspects of Dylan’s work.

A student of literature, one of John’s key driving forces was for Dylan to be recognised in the same breath as other major artists, with serious consideration given to his work. Alongside The Telegraph, John created the Wanted Man Study Series to publish short book length studies of Dylan as a serious artist. John was a key early advocate for Dylan to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

By the late eighties, he’d successfully gathered together a large network of Dylan scholars, writers and fans across the world, and created a platform for them to share knowledge and ideas. There was barely any Bob Dylan related activity that John didn’t have a finger in. In 1990, he reached his zenith when Bob Dylan’s office invited him to help compile, and write the liner notes for, The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991.

After the excitement of the 1978 concerts, and before publishing the first issue of The Telegraph in 1981, John wrote his own critical study of Dylan – The Chameleon Poet: Bob Dylan’s Search For Self. The book is on one level a literary study of Dylan, intertextually drawing lines between Dylan’s work and that of Shakespeare, Baudelaire, Hermann Hesse and other notable writers. It’s his blueprint for what he would set out to achieve with The Telegraph and Wanted Man Study Series. On another level, it is a personal account of how John responded to Dylan spiritually. Armed with knowledge of John’s own biography – skilfully painted by his life-long friend Bill Allison in an introduction to the book – it’s easy to see what John was looking for, and what he found, deep in the core of  Dylan’s work. Invoking Carl Jung, the book maps out the first half of Dylan’s career – from Greenwich Village folkie to born again evangelist – as one continuous search for self. As revealed by a poet. A great one.

When John took the helm of The Telegraph, he grew into the role of facilitator, and his own manuscript was tucked away in a drawer. Save for the occasional hint of its existence in The Telegraph, and a few short published extracts, there it stayed until finally seeing the light of day with publication in 2021. Bill Allison wrote a full account of the provenance of the manuscript. You can read that here.

Chameleon Poet

Click here for more on The Chameleon Poet by John Bauldie.

Click here for a page dedicated to John Bauldie and The Telegraph on Expecting Rain, the 21st century Bob Dylan information service.

Click here to read more about Route’s list of Bob Dylan books

New Title: The Chameleon Poet – Bob Dylan’s Search For Self

John Bauldie’s previously-unpublished work of forensic insight into Bob Dylan’s unique artistic journey.

On his untimely death at 47 years old in October 1996, not only did John Bauldie sit at the what could be called the high table of Dylan Studies, but from the early nineties, when he was invited by Dylan’s management to write the liner notes that accompanied the Bootleg Series Volume 1-3, many would attest that he was chairman of the board.

In his lifetime, John Bauldie was a giant amongst Bob Dylan fans and collectors. As the editor of The Telegraph, he was a voracious advocate for Dylan to be afforded the respect of a major artist and an early lobbyist for him to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Yet, despite creating the Wanted Man Study Series to encourage analysis of Dylan’s work, Bauldie never published his own full critical study, though regular subscribers to The Telegraph knew he had completed one. A few teasing extracts and a handful of mysterious mentions revealed the existence of this fabled manuscript, The Chameleon Poet, which has remained unpublished until now.

Covering the formative span of Dylan’s career from his emergence in the early sixties to his conversion to Christianity in the late seventies, The Chameleon Poet traces each step in the development of the artist and man from youth to maturity. With scholarly precision and vivid clarity, Bauldie’s analysis of Dylan’s work reveals a continuous journey.

Forty years on, as a Nobel Laureate, Bob Dylan’s position as one of the great artists of the age is secure, fulfilling Bauldie’s vision. Now it is time to read the only full-length critical study by the foremost champion of Dylan’s art. The Chameleon Poet is a book of its time, but such is its focus on the inner journey of everyman, it’s as relevant today as it was yesterday, and will be tomorrow.

Bill Allison’s introduction sketches a portrait of Bauldie’s life and his ascendancy in the world of Dylan Studies.

‘I read The Chameleon Poet in 1981, and spent most of the rest of the decade trying to persuade John to publish it. Well, it only took forty years, but now you can read it, too.’ – Clinton Heylin

John Bauldie was raised in the northern English town of Bolton. Throughout the seventies, alongside his work as a lecturer in English literature, he was an avid collector of rare and unreleased Bob Dylan recordings. In the eighties, he established The Telegraph, a popular quarterly journal of Dylan studies, which he edited from 1981 until his tragic death in 1996. He was a staff writer at Q magazine and Mojo, edited several books, and wrote the liner notes for Bob Dylan’s Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 box set, for which he received a Grammy nomination.

Bill Allison was a close friend of John Bauldie. They had a shared love of Bolton Wanderers and Bob Dylan, in that order. John often said that their lives were as intertwined as spaghetti. Bill wrote extensively for The Telegraph, and later for The Bridge. Bill lives near Blackpool with his wife, Julia, and their daughters, Lucy and Helen.

ADVANCE COPIES: We will be shipping advance copies of the First Edition Hardback of The Chameleon Poet in mid-January 2021. (The book won’t go on general release until May 2021). To be amongst the first to read it, click here to pre-order your copy.

NEW TITLE: Anne & Betty – United By The Struggle

Anne & Betty: United By The Struggle
by Anne Scargill and Betty Cook with Ian Clayton
Foreword by Maxine Peak

Route is delighted to announce the acquisition of the memoir of two of the leading lights of the Women Against Pit Closures Movement.

Anne Scargill and Betty Cook met at the beginning of the miners’ strike. Betty was a proud miner’s daughter, wife and mother, who was determined to support her family and community. Anne happened to be married to Arthur Scargill, the president of the miners’ union. She too was steeped in the history of coalfield culture. Together they helped to create perhaps the greatest thing to come out of the strike, the Women Against Pit Closures movement. Inspired by the working-class values that raised them, they put their arms around those who needed support, fed the hungry, and stood firm against those whose intent was to destroy their way of life. Once the strike was over, through education and direct action, they stepped over the threshold to support working people in struggle both at home and abroad, changing not only the direction of their own lives, but many other women too.

Here for the first time in print, Anne and Betty tell their own story in their own voices. Told with humour and conviction, this is an indispensable slice of social history. It reveals the vitality of two remarkable women who possess the strength and resolve to stand up for what they believe in and how, no matter what, they never give in.

‘A must read about two women with extraordinary courage and a commitment to their community that has never faltered.’ Ricky Tomlinson

‘Anne and Betty are a constant inspiration to me. They are two beacons of hope that show that we are all capable of affecting change, tackling life face on and having a bloody good laugh along the way. I salute you both, my heroes.’ Maxine Peake


Route editor Ian Daley said of the acquisition, ‘Route sits in the heart of the Yorkshire coalfield, and the particular culture that coal mining creates is a cornerstone on which we are founded. It is an honour and a privilege for us to help Anne and Betty tell their story, their lifelong commitment and dedication to help working people and the communities that support them has long been an inspiration to us, and the Women Against Pit Closures Movement, which they are such an important part of, is a source of great local pride.’

This announcement is made on the day of the 2020 Durham Miner’s Gala as Anne and Betty’s book was due to be launched at this year’s event, but sadly the pandemic has put a halt to that. It would have been a great occasion, but hopefully by this time next year Anne and Betty will be able to celebrate their book with all their friends at Durham.

Anne Scargill: ‘I have been going to Durham Miners’ Gala every year for over forty years now. I am going to miss being there this time. It’s a shame, because I was looking forward to seeing all my friends. I will be back next year though. I would like to send my love to all my friends who I meet there. I will see you all next time.’

Betty Cook: ‘I love everything about Durham Miners Gala; the atmosphere, the camaraderie, the friends I meet there, it’s my favourite festival. If I had to choose between a holiday and Durham I would go for a weekend at the Gala every time. The Durham Miners Association has been so supportive of Anne and I over the years, we appreciate them no end.’

Ian Clayton: ‘I was looking forward to going to Durham this time as we were going to have a stall in the cricket ground and launch the book from there. That can’t happen this year, but the book itself is going ahead and I have my fingers crossed that Durham will be back on again next year, because like everybody else who loves it, I will be coming.


Anne Scargill has devoted much of her life to direct action. From the days of the coal miners’ strike, through to helping the homeless to volunteering for the local hospice, she believes actions always speak louder than words.

Betty Cook is a proud daughter of the coalfields. She learned all she knows about community and activism on her journey from Brick Row in the pit village of Woolley.

Ian Clayton is an author, broadcaster and storyteller from Featherstone, West Yorkshire. His stories are about making sense of where we come from. His books include Bringing It All Back Home, a bestselling book about music; Song For My Father about his lifelong search for a father figure; Our Billie about loss; and most recently It’s The Beer Talking about a life in public houses and ale which won The British Guild of Beer Writers Award for Best Writer about Pubs.


Anne & Betty: United By The Struggle is published in hardback and advance copies are SHIPPING NOW.  (It will not be able via other trade channels until 9th November 2020).
Be amongst the first to read Anne & Betty’s book. Click here to order an advance copy


It’s The Media, Stupid!

We were commissioned by MediaNorth/Campaign For Press And Broadcasting Freedom (North) to film their conference It’s The Media, Stupid: Post-Election Policies For Media Reform which took place at Leeds City Art Gallery on 8th February 2020. The conference took a comprehensive look at the state of the British media with a series of experts giving talks with plenty of space for informed contributions from the floor. They were four sessions throughout the day, the first two took an in-depth look at media coverage of the 2019 General Election, the third session a detailed examination of the BBC at a critical time in its history as it faces an existential threat from the current government. The final session considers what steps are necessary to move forward. Click play above to watch all four sessions. Individual links to each of the four sessions follows here:

Professor Dominic Wring: Co-Director Loughborough University 2019 Election Survey
Justin Schlosberg: Media Reform Coalition
Contributions from the floor
Introduced by Granville Williams: Editor MediaNorth

Nicholas Jones: Author and former BBC Industrial and Political Correspondent
Louisa Bull: National Officer, Unite’s Graphical Paper, Media and IT Sector
Contributions from the floor
Chaired by Caroline Bedale, Health Campaigns Together

Introduced by Granville Williams: Editor MediaNorth
Sian Jones: President, National Union of Journalists
Dr Tom Mills: Author and Vice Chair Media Reform Coalition
Tony Lennon: Freelance and Research Officer, Bectu
Contributions from the floor

Justin Schlosberg: Media Reform Coalition
Granville Williams: Editor MediaNorth
Contributions from the floor
Chaired by Barry White, NUJ Member, Leeds and Wakefield Branch

Ian Clayton Wins British Guild of Beer Writers Award

Ian Clayton has won a prestigious British Guild of Beer Writers award, picking up the Long Live the Local Award for Best Writer about Pubs for his book It’s The Beer Talking: Adventures in Public Houses, which was published earlier this year.

In his acceptance speech, Clayton said, ‘Public houses are like libraries, in that they both deserved to be looked after and cherished.’ A notion shared by the award’s sponsors, Long Live The Local, a campaign backed by a broad alliance of pubs, brewers and industry bodies to celebrate the vital role local pubs play in our community, culture and economy. The judges were briefed to find the best writing about the pub as a treasured national asset. The award was presented David Cunningham, programme director for Long Live The Local, at the Guild’s glitzy annual dinner held at One Great George Street in Westminster. Clayton received a framed citation, a specially engraved tankard and a cheque for £1000.

Clayton’s was the only book honoured at this year’s awards, which received more than 150 entries across 11 categories. Emma Inch, chair of judges for the Awards said ‘The standard of entries across all categories was extremely high and judges had a tough task choosing the winners and runners up.  We were impressed by the levels of knowledge, energy and passion that shone through the works submitted by our finalists, whether they had written a column, published a book or produced a film.’ Inch described Clayton’s book as a ‘picaresque adventure’.

Inch was joined on the judging panel by Laurence Creamer, Social & Digital Lead on industry campaign Long Live The Local; Tim Hayward, food & drink author, restaurant reviewer and regular on Radio 4’s Kitchen Cabinet;: Charlie McVeigh, founder of Draft House; Tony Naylor, food & drink writer contributing to The Guardian and BBC Good Food; Ross O’Hara, head brewer at Greene King; Kate Oppenheim, hospitality sector journalist and communications expert, currently publisher and editor of BII News; Tony Sophoclides, Strategic Affairs Director at UKHospitality.

Chair of the British Guild of Beer Writers, Pete Brown, said of the award that he was ‘I’m delighted Ian’s book was a success because it shows us how many different ways there are to tackle pubs as a writer, which in turn reminds us how multi-faceted and essential pubs are.’

In It’s The Beer Talking, Ian Clayton turns his sights on one of the great loves of his life, the public house. When he started drinking in the 1970s, Clayton drank alongside men who’d fought in the First World War, thus by 2019 he’s shared first-hand stories that span over a century of life lived. In his foreword to the book, one of Britain’s leading beer writers, Roger Protz, bemoans the decline of the public house as the centre of British life, a victim of modern times. While the statistics of pub closures bear this out as undeniable fact, somewhere in Ian Clayton’s story lays a glimpse of something else. In this journey to the soul of the British pub, we see a spirit that endures, an eternal connection to public houses which is ever-present, behind the layers of paint, inside the stories, waiting to be released. Ian believes that pubs, like libraries, are repositories of wisdom, if we lose either, then the neighbourhood starts to shiver.

Ian Clayton is an author, broadcaster and storyteller from Featherstone, West Yorkshire. His stories are about making sense of where we come from. His books tackle subjects as diverse as rugby league, jazz and homelessness.  His recent memoirs include Song For My Father, Our Billie and Bringing It All Back Home, described by Record Collector magazine as ‘one of the best books about popular music ever written’.

Click here for more on It’s The Beer Talking and to order a signed copy

Click here to order on Amazon

Click here to visit Ian Clayton’s website