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:

Session 1: THE MEDIA AND THE ELECTION
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

Session 2: THE PRESS: OWNERSHIP, REGULATION AND ETHICS
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

Session 3: BROADCASTING: REGULATION, AND IMPARTIALITY
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

Session 4: LOOKING FORWARD: POLICIES FOR MEDIA REFORM
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

New Acquisition | When Quiet Was The New Loud by Tom Clayton

Route is delighted to announced the acquisition of Tom Clayton’s book When Quiet Was The New Loud: Celebrating the Acoustic Airwaves 1998-2003. The book is a playful yet affectionate look at a brief period of British music that the NME called ‘the New Acoustic Movement’ and Alan McGee called ‘music to wet your bed to’. Despite the enormous success of some of its leading lights – Coldplay, Travis, David Gray (his album White Ladder sold 3 million copies in the UK alone, and 7 million worldwide. It is Ireland’s biggest selling album of all-time) – the negative reaction to it was so fierce it not only died a sudden death, it was quickly erased from history. Tom’s book looks at the broader movement beyond the key players; it is a deeply-researched and measured view of an era that although happened relatively recently, is already being purposefully forgotten.

Here are some words from Tom on the book:

“When Quiet Was The New Loud: Celebrating the Acoustic Airwaves 1998-2003 is an affectionate look at a time that’s often skimmed over when we tell the story of British music. The late nineties and early noughties are too often dismissed as the era of ‘bedwetting indie’ – the epilogue to Britpop, or the prologue to ‘new rock’. With this book I’m hoping to prove it was more than just a stopgap. It takes the form of twelve chapters, each focusing on a key album from the time – both the big bestsellers, and the hidden gems. For a lot of people my age, these records played a huge part in our musical upbringings… whether we like to admit it or not! In any case, I hope it prompts some fond memories and some generous relistens. It’s been such fun to revisit the time, and to interview many of the musicians involved. And I’m delighted to be working with Route, a publisher I admire enormously.”

Route editor Ian Daley says, ‘I’m thrilled to be working with Tom. He possesses the perfect combination of a talent for writing and a passion for his subject. With When Quiet Was The New Loud he has found a quirky gateway into the British psyche at the turn of the 21st century.’

Tom Clayton is a music critic whose writing has appeared in The Sunday Times, Drowned in Sound, Louder Than War and The 405, among others. He was the lead researcher and writer for Messing Up the Paintwork: The Wit and Wisdom of Mark E. Smith (Ebury, 2018); When Quiet Was the New Loud is his first original book. He lives and works in east London.

When Quiet Was The New Loud will be published by Route in 2020.

Video above is Kings of Convenience with ‘Toxic Girl’, a song from their album Quiet Is The New Loud.

HAVE A BLEEDIN GUESS

HAVE A BLEEDIN GUESS: The Story of Hex Enduction Hour by Paul Hanley

Even if it’s a fool’s errand trying to decide which is the greatest LP out of The Fall’s huge back catalogue of albums, many fanatics of the group will tell you that the worst thing you can say about Hex is that it’s their equal best at the very least. ’ – John Doran, The Quietus

Of all The Fall’s myriad long-players, Hex Enduction Hour remains one of their most highly regarded. Even the circumstances of its recording, purportedly in an abandoned cinema and a cave formed from Icelandic lava, have achieved legendary status among their ever-loyal fanbase.  HAVE A BLEEDIN GUESS tells the full story of the album, including how each song was written, performed and recorded. It also includes new interviews with key players.

Author Paul Hanley, who was one of The Fall’s two drummers when Hex was created, is uniquely placed to discuss the album’s impact, both when it was released and in the ensuing years.

Hanley writes in his introduction to the book: ‘Because of the way The Fall worked in those days, Hex and its contents can’t be discussed in a vacuum […] While what went on during the Iceland and Hitchin sessions will inform much of what follows, documenting the making of Hex Enduction Hour isn’t like discussing Rumours, or even Blood on the Tracks: its recording was part of a process. What’s more, the Fall process often subverted the rehearse-record-tour cycle by skipping the rehearsal bit – it wasn’t unheard of for a song roughed out in a soundcheck to be part of that night’s set. The oldest song on Hex Enduction Hour was first played live as early as August 1980. The group released an LP, a six-track ‘mini-album’ and two singles before it made its way onto vinyl, but it fits Hex Enduction Hour’s atmosphere perfectly. Someone in The Fall knew what they were doing. Hopefully by the end of this you’ll have some idea too.’

It is this continuous working process – from the formation of the band that made the record, through the trip to Iceland, the key switching of record labels from Rough Trade to Kamera and the subsequent recording at The Regal in Hitchin –  that is at the heart of HAVE A BLEEDIN GUESS. Along the way, Hanley’s insider’s perspective busts a few myths that have surrounded the album over the years, as well as bringing fresh insights, not least of which is who is the King Shag Corpse.

The book features new contributions from key players on the album, including Craig Scanlon, Steve Hanley, Marc Riley and Kay Carroll, plus producers Grant Showbiz and Richard Mazda, and Kamera’s Saul Galpern and Chris Youle.

Foreword by Stewart Lee

Paul Hanley was the drummer in The Fall from 1980-85 and now plays with Brix & The Extricated. His debut book Leave The Capital: A History of Manchester Music in 13 Recordings was nominated for the ARSC Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.

HAVE A BLEEDIN GUESS: The Story of Hex Enduction Hour Advance copies of a paperback edition can be ordered direct from Route and will be disptached from 20th November. The book is not be available through other trade outlets until March 2020. CLICK HERE TO ORDER

Events:
Wednesday 23rd October
Rock N Roll Book Club, Walthamstow Trades Hall.
Paul was joined by brother Steve. Interviewed by John Doran of The Quietus
Click here to listen an audio recording of the event, plus a video of the audience Q&A

Sunday 10th November
Louder Than Words Festival, Principal Hotel, Manchester
Paul will be interview by Daryl Easlea
Click here for tickets and further details.

Thro My Eyes | Words and Music Tour

Thro’ My Eyes Words and Music Tour

25th September Lamproom Theatre, Barnsley (Tickets)
26th September Grateful Fred House Concert, Birkdale (Email for tickets)
27th September The Red Shed, Wakefield (Tickets)
29th September Tap & Barrel, Pontefract (Tickets)
30th September The Doublet, Glasgow (Tickets)
1st October Borderlines Festival, Carlisle (Tickets)
2nd October Backstage @ Green Hotel, Kinross (Tickets)
6th October The Courthouse, Otley (Tickets)
8th October The Greys, Brighton (Tickets)
9th October Kitchen Garden Cafe, Kings Heath (Tickets)
10th October Black Swan Folk Club, York (Tickets)
11th October Malvern Cube, Malvern (Cancelled)

Iain Matthews’s critically acclaimed memoir Thro’ My Eyes was written in collaboration with author Ian Clayton. The book is structured around a series of Matthews’s songs and illustrated by the stories that inspired them. This words and music show brings the book to life: Ian Clayton will read stories from the book interspersed with live songs from Iain Matthews, presenting an intimate and highly entertaining evening that tells the story of an artistic life through the eyes of one of our most enduring singer-songwriters.

The show will follow the story of Iain’s life, from a Scunthorpe childhood obsessed with football and music, to thrusting himself into the heart of Carnaby Street in the swinging-sixties. In 1967, he was recruited as lead vocalist for folk-rock pioneers Fairport Convention before embarking on a hugely successful and prolific career as a solo artist and in the groups Matthews Southern Comfort and Plainsong, including a No. 1 ht single with ‘Woodstock’. In 1973, when an invitation was extended to record in LA with ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith, Iain took it with open arms. The opportunity to work with musicians and songwriters he had admired from afar led him to stay; he lived and worked in the USA for the next 27 years, through highs and lows, with extended stints in Los Angeles, Seattle and Austin. In 2000, in an an act of personal and professional renewal, he moved to the Netherlands, where he still lives and works to this day. Throughout those fifty years, Iain has never stopped working, with music driving him forward every step of the way. The show will be a highly entertaining and intimate occasion, rich in stories and wonderful live music, presenting the story of an artistic life through the eyes of one of our most enduring singer-songwriters.

‘If there was an award for the role of Godfather of Americana in the UK, serious consideration would have to go to Iain Matthews. It’s all there in his excellent autobiography.’ Americana UK

‘Thro’ My Eyes is the best music read I’ve come across in a very long time.’ fRoots

‘Highly recommended both for its historical value and as a quick-paced, absorbing reading experience.’ Richie Unterberger’s Top Twenty Rock Books of 2018

Click here for more on Thro’ My Eyes: A Memoir

Wanted Man Study Series | Take Two

Route is delighted to publish a new edition in the Wanted Man Study Series, starting with Take II – Vol.1, Clinton Heylin’s monograph No One Else Could Play That Tune: The Making and Unmaking of Bob Dylan’s 1974 Masterpiece. Here’s a note from Clinton outlining the rebirth of the series.


Between 1983 and 1986, the Bob Dylan Information Office that I had co-founded in 1981 with John Bauldie, Dave Dingle and other friends – known to one and all as Wanted Man – published five monographs in its own, self-proclaimed Study Series.

Each volume, according to the series editor, the late John Bauldie, was supposed to be a ‘stud[y] of [an] individual LP record by Bob Dylan, or of particular themes in Bob Dylan’s written and recorded work’.

The first two volumes published were indeed devoted to specific albums: John Hinchey’s fine essay on Slow Train Coming and John B.’s own monograph on Dylan’s ‘other’ mid-seventies masterpiece, Desire. The intention was to produce work with an academic rigour outside of the rigid confines of academia, which back then was wholly disinterested in Dylan.

If academia has slowly woken up to Dylan’s cultural and artistic importance in the intervening decades – so much so that there is now an Institute of Dylan Studies at the University of Tulsa – the rigour that these Wanted Men displayed then (and now) is still disappointingly hard to find inside most mausoleums of higher learning.

As such, methinks now is the time to revive the Wanted Man Study Series, beginning with an account of what many fans consider the greatest of ‘individual LP records by Bob Dylan’: Blood On The Tracks; in it, I draw on new first-hand interviews and access to the full session histories for the original, so-called ‘New York’ album, recorded between September 16th and the 19th, 1974.

It is hoped that the rebirth of the Study Series will prompt others to follow in the footsteps of John Hinchey, Aidan Day, Nick de Somogyi and Bert Cartwright, submitting further potential volumes to myself – as John’s successor in the role of self-appointed series editor – via Route Books, our new publisher. After all, as the mercurial bard himself said, ‘You can kill a man, but you can’t kill an idea.’

– Clinton Heylin, September 2018.


Take !! – Vol. 1 of the Wanted Man Study Series, Clinton’s No One Else Could Play That Tune is available exclusively from Route. Click here to order a copy.