King of Clubs

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King of Clubs
by Maureen Prest

King of Clubs is a personal memoir of visionary showman James Lord Corrigan. Written by Corrigan’s confidant Maureen Prest, this is the only insider’s account of what really went on at his world famous Batley Variety Club, both in front of house and behind closed doors.

By bringing stars like Louis Armstrong, Shirley Bassey, Morecambe and Wise, Eartha Kitt and Gracie Fields to a humble mill town in Yorkshire, not only did Corrigan change the face of show business, he gave thousands of hard-working people something to smile about, a reason to put on the glad rags and be entertained. He was a showman extraordinaire and sprinkled stardust for all to share.

From his origins on a travelling funfair, his audacious climb through the world of show business, his turbulent marriage to his glamorous wife Betty, and his dramatic retreat, this is a story of rags to riches and back to rags. With a twist.

‘What was special about Batley was James Corrigan. He made the whole thing happen. He was special.’
Shirley Bassey

‘Corrigan did more for night life in Great Britain than anyone. I would put him with the great showmen.’
Danny La Rue

‘Batley Variety Club was a pinnacle in our career, even though we played the London Palladium.’
Cannon & Ball

‘Batley is a living aspirin.’
Louis Armstrong

Maureen Prest was the promotions and public relations manager for Batley Variety Club 1967-1974. She was a close friend and confidant of James Corrigan, the founder of the club. Maureen has worked as a theatrical agent, artist promoter and record producer. After leaving show business in 1974, she launched a successful fashion business with multiple outlets. Her book King of Clubs tells the amazing personal life story of James Corrigan.

King of Clubs will be released on the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Batley Variety Club, 26th March 2017. Be amongst the first to read it. Click here to pre-order a signed first edition. Orders will be despatched upon publication.

Launch event
Friday 24th March, 11am
Batley Town Hall

Pontefract Festival of Stories 2016 | Bringing It All Back Home

When world music magazine Songlines reviewed Ian Clayton’s book Bringing It All Back Home they declared the reading experience to be ‘The literary equivalent of a great evening in the pub’.  In the ten years since publication, Bringing It All Back Home has fast established itself as a modern classic of music writing. To celebrate its tenth anniversary, the inaugural Pontefract Festival of Stories made literal the Songlines review with a series of events over ten days that reflected the content of the book, incorporating music, film and good conversation. Ian Clayton hosted guests throughout the week. All events will took place in the intimate theatre setting behind the curtain at the Tap & Barrel, Pontefract. All tickets £5 and carried a £5 voucher to be cashed in at the Route bookshop on the night.

Run the playlist above or click here to see it in YouTube

Festival programme below.

Friday 23 September, 9pm
Northern Town
Glass Caves + Toria Garbutt

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‘That summer someone organises a Rock Against Racism benefit at Pontefract Town Hall. Topping the bill are the Leeds Marxist intellectual rockers Gang of Four. Bottom of the bill are our local punk band, The Thrust, named after a chain of petrol stations. Every punk in Pontefract is present. The Thrust have Mick Griffiths on brand new Rickenbacker, swinging his arm like Pete Townshend, and Pete on vocals. He hangs off the microphone stand like a wounded scarecrow and spits out his songs with mighty venom: ‘I’m a victim of the system, a proper little twat. I’m an ordinary member of society, society, so…ciety!’ And the immortal ‘Northern Town’. ‘You’re living in a northern town. Pit stacks t’only scenery you’ve got.’

A celebration of leading-light, home-grown talent. With live music from the sensational Pontefract 5-piece, Glass Caves, and stunning poetry from the rising star of the UK Performance Poetry scene, Knottler’s very own Toria Garbutt.

Saturday 24 September, 7:30pm
Young Man Blues
Juke Joint Night

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‘My home town is full of ghosts. It is also a blues town. Like all blues towns, Featherstone thrives on shadows and echoes of what once was. Featherstone, like the first two lines of a blues song, likes to repeat itself. Featherstone is the most remote of the blues towns, a long way from the Mississippi Delta, yet if you drew a line between New Orleans and Memphis you might find Featherstone on that line. Somewhere between Rolling Fork where Muddy Waters was born and Clarksdale, the birth town of John Lee Hooker, is Featherstone.’

The Tap & Barrel transforms into a juke joint with a night of blues, live and on vinyl records. Live music from Ben Buddy Slack.

Sunday 25 September, 6pm
One World
Global Threads + Chris ‘The Man in the Hat’ Martin

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‘Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the Pakistani ghazal singer had a voice that went right through me. A bloke in a restaurant in Bradford called The Kashmir put me on to him. He gave me a cassette of a live concert in Paris. Then I saw him in the green fields at Glastonbury. He was magnificent. After Glastonbury I saw a snapshot of him pinned to the wall at the back of the till in a curry house in Pontefract, next to one of Imran Khan. The owner told me that he’d been in there for a meal. A story in the Big Bill Broonzy at Castleford mould.’

Ian Clayton presents his Global Threads world music session, spinning vinyl records from around the world. We come all the way back home with live music and hollering from the great Yorkshire bluesman Chris Martin aka ‘The Man In The Hat’ with fingered-picked and slide blues guitar.

Monday 26 September, 7:30pm
Freedom’s Just Another Word
Dave Downs with Steve Ely

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‘I’m replaying in my mind something that happened in Wakefield Prison some years before when making the Jailhouse Opera. On the day of the performance, one of the soloists decided that he didn’t want to perform his song accompanied by his own guitar that he’d been trying to perfect all week. He played a slightly out of tune guitar to the Kris Kristofferson song made famous by Janis Joplin, ‘Me and Bobby McGee’. It is the last song he learned before coming into prison. The song that seemed to have kept him going for the nearly twenty years he’d been inside. The refrain ‘Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose’ never sounded any sadder. I cried at the end of that performance. When I got home I took out my Kris Kristofferson Greatest Hits and played that song about fifteen times one after the other.’

Dave Downs in conversation with writer Steve Ely about his astonishing life: growing up on the mean streets of Featherstone, the violence and dark-side of ‘the doors’, the brutality, despair and humour of prison and his unlikely redemption. A Dissonant Voices special.

Tuesday 27 September, 7:30pm
Local Interest
Quiz + Jess Gardham

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‘When my grandad told me that I should never work down the pit, he never really told me what else I might do. Well, what he actually said was, ‘If I ever see thee near that pit I’ll give thee a bloody good hiding!’ When I asked him what he thought I ought to do he said, ‘Read books, lad!’ I used the maroon leather-bound dictionary that my Auntie Alice won for occasional reference; my word hoard improved dramatically. I got a bollocking at the age of sixteen for knowing too many “posh” words. Then there was my maps. And where did they get me?’

A specially curated cultural quiz, with a Yorkshire theme. Live music from York singer-songwriter Jess Gardham, with a distinctive mix of pop, soul and acoustic sounds. Richard Hawley was a surprise guest, and played 3 songs in the break between the quiz questions and answers.

Wednesday 28 September, 7:30pm
Knocked Down By a Feather
Allan Agar + 1983 Challenge Cup Final Screening

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‘In 1983 Rovers reached Wembley and were to play Hull, a millionaire club. Against all the odds, the Rovers with ten miners from the same colliery in their thirteen, triumphed. Jürgen Bredebusch stood on the terraces with me. He still talks about it today. “Mighty Hull knocked down by a Feather.” He quotes the headline on the back of The Observer newspaper from the day after. In Berlin just before they knocked down the wall I once saw sprayed in foot-high navy blue letters, Featherstone Rovers 14 Hull 12.’

Former Rovers coach Allan Agar in conversation with Ian Clayton about the glorious day in 1983 when Featherstone Rovers beat Hull to win the Challenge Cup at Wembley. Followed by screening of that 1983 final in full.

Thursday 29 September, 7:30pm
Subterranean, Homesick and Blue
Andy Kershaw Presents Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home*
(*Andy couldn’t make the event, but rescheduled to present Highway 61 Revisited)

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‘I have spent a lot of time following signs out of my home town. And another part of my life trying to get back in again. Bob Dylan was the first man to pull me out of here and my gran and grandad had a bigger pull to draw me back.’

‘Our Ian went to see Bob Dylan and he’s never been the same lad since he came home.’ – Hilda Fletcher (Ian’s gran)
In association with The CAT Club (Classic Album Thursdays), legendary broadcaster Andy Kershaw presents Bob Dylan’s classic album Bringing It All Back Home in full and on vinyl. With Q&A.

Friday 30 September, 7:30pm
Bringing It All Back Home
Ian Clayton with Heath Common + Edward Clayton

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‘Everything reminds me of something. I have filled my house and my head with things: books, records, paintings, stories; souvenirs that have no meaning except to me. Sometimes I think my house is my head and my head has become my house.’

Ian Clayton discusses his life and work in conversation with Heath Common, with Edward Clayton on piano.

Saturday 1 October, 7:30pm
One For My Baby (and One More For The Road)
Jazz Night with The Meg Holch Quintet

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‘It’s a long way from the sleazy bars of New York and at the same time I’m sitting right in it. I’m listening to Billie Holiday pouring out a story to a tired barman, yet I’m nowhere near. What is it that? Why in some moments do I feel more akin to a black jazz singer from America than I do to my own Auntie Alice? I could say that Auntie Alice informs me about who I am and where I’m from. Billie Holiday takes me to places that I’d like to be from. Too simple minded that, though.’

A night of jazz on vinyl and live. The Meg Holch Quintet will serve up a mixture of some classic jazz standards with soul and funk fusion songs.

Sunday 2 October, 7:30pm
No Particular Place To Go
Kevin ‘Rev’ Reynolds

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‘Prince Keeyama, the Chicken Man, King of Bourbon Street, Miracle of the French Quarter and Master of Martial Arts is sitting outside a shop called House of Voodoo surveying upper Rampart Street from a tattered deckchair, like my grandad surveyed the beach at Blackpool. He starts to tell his stories. “The chicken is wise and alert. He’ll run and run. He wiser than an owl. He give you energy and knowledge. If you bite his head off, he give you knowledge too.”’

Kevin ‘Rev’ Reynolds in conversation about a musical odyssey to America’s Deep South he took with Ian Clayton and some friends from Pontefract. Ian was armed with pen, Kevin with camera. With photographic exhibition. Live music from Scott Wainwright.

Your £5 Book Token
Cash in at the Route Bookshop

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Throughout the 10 days of the festival, Pontefract publisher Route will have a bookshop in the theatre. Each £5* ticket purchased for the festival includes a £5 book token that can be cashed in at the stall on the night of the event.

The list of books on sale was tailored to each individual event, but the mix each night will included four of Ian Clayton’s memoirs, plus other Route titles, including a selection of books on offer for £5. For these titles, tokens were directly exchanged for a book.

See Route’s full booklist: www.route-online.com

Tap & Barrel
Your Home of Cultural Events in Pontefract

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All events of the inaugural Pontefract Festival of Stories took place in the intimate theatre setting behind the curtain at the Tap & Barrel, Front Street, Pontefract. The festival is part of the ongoing cultural programme at the theatre, which hosts a regular series of events and sessions throughout the year, with live music, conversations, cinema and vinyl records. All events take place in a warm, friendly atmosphere, with the best stocked bar in the district, that includes a selection of artisan beers, wines and spirits, as well an exclusive range of fine Pontefract ales.

Tap & Barrel, 13 Front St, Pontefract, WF8 1AN
www.tappontefract.wordpress.com
www.facebook.com/Tapintothebarrel/

Dedicated to the memory of
Völker Bredebusch
(1960-2016)

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‘I first meet Völker one evening in a bar called The Optimum. He is guest harp blower with a blues band that Jörge Petersmann has got together called Black Cat Bone. Völker is Jürgen’s younger brother. He is about my age, similar height and built like a brick shithouse. He has some right shoulders on him, through years of training to be in the German butterfly swimming team. If only Germany hadn’t withdrawn from the Moscow Olympics in 1980 he might have built a career as a swimmer. Völker took up joinery and music promotion. He has organised tours in Europe for artists who he’s a fan of, Eddi Reader being one, but mainly his hero John Martyn. Völker is a walking encyclopaedia of English folk-rock, blues, jazz and Bob Dylan. At the last count I think he had over four hundred John Martyn live bootlegs on tape. Völker grew up in that peculiarly German 1970s tradition of political activism, street theatre and impromptu gig organising.’

May this be the first of many festivals to come.
Tickets exclusively available at the bar.
Tap in.

 

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The Pontefract Festival of Stories is a fringe event for Wakefield Literature Festival:
www.wakefieldlitfest.org.uk

 

 

Red Shed Book | Stories Wanted

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Route is working with Wakefield Labour Club to create a book to mark the 50th anniversary of The Red Shed, to celebrate its colourful history and its contribution, over the last 50 years, to the Labour and socialist movement and the wider community. And we’re looking for stories from as many people with connections to the Club as possible. If you would like to make your contribution to the history of the Shed, or you know someone who has connections with the Club and has a story to tell, we’d love to hear from you.

Story Telling Sessions
To get the ball rolling, we have organised a series of story-telling sessions, led by author Ian Clayton. These are scheduled to take place at The Red Shed on:

Thursday 8th September 6pm-10pm
Saturday 17th September from 11am onwards
Wednesday 21st September 11am onwards
Monday 26th September 7pm onwards

Every assistance will be given to those who attend to ensure that their memories are included. No previous experience is necessary!

Ian Clayton commented that the sessions would enable people to tell their own personal stories and to herald the involvement and achievements of past members and the struggles they were involved in. ‘We want this to be an enjoyable experience for all those who have been involved in the Red Shed over the decades.’

If you are in contact with anyone who you think may have a contribution to make, please pass on these dates and encourage them to attend.

If you have story to tell but can’t attend one of the workshops, you can email your story to redshedmemories@yahoo.com

50th Anniversary Celebrations
The book project coincides with a production of The Red Shed, produced by Mark Thomas and currently on a national tour, and the Club’s own half century celebrations at the end of September. Former Wakefield MP David Hinchliffe said, ‘The Club’s fiftieth birthday will be marked by a significant stage production, events in the Club itself and now a book devoted to a shed and its relevance in half a century of political and social change. This is a very exciting project and I hope as many people as possible come forward to be a part of it.’

If you’ve been involved with the Club in any way overt the last fifty years, we’d love to hear from you. Likewise, if you know someone who has been involved, please pass this link on to them.

If you have any queries please contact the Club Secretary, Richard Council on 07948 525204 or email rchrdcoun1@blueyonder.co.uk, alternatively bring in your submissions to the Club!

Red Shed Website: www.theredshed.org.uk
Red Shed Facebook: www.facebook.com/theredshedwakefield

Anarchy in the Year Zero | Collector’s Edition

A special signed and numbered collector’s edition of Clinton Heylin’s account of the birth of Punk is available to order now. At standard cover price, the collector’s edition comes with a set of original postcards. First come first served. Click here to order.

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‘For those who weren’t there, but swear they were, now you are.’
– Richard Boon, former Buzzcocks manager

Anarchy in the Year Zero: Sex Pistols, The Clash and the Class of ’76 by Clinton Heylin is an account of a movement that not only changed the face of British music, but had a profound and lasting effect on the course of British culture as a whole. This is a forensic, passionate and breathtaking chronicle by one of the world’s leading rock historians, who was there in 1976 at the Lesser Free Trade Hall, Manchester, when the course of popular music changed forever.

Published to coincide with Year Zero’s 40th anniversary, the book reconstructs the narrative of ‘Punk ’76’ – the real Year Zero – authoritatively, if not dispassionately; to connect the dots not only literally (providing, for the first time, an accurate chronology), but laterally – by showing how many of the characters that circle the Sex Pistols spin off into new vistas of music, fashion and pop culture. Heylin’s distinctive approach of using multiple eye-witness accounts of all the key players in the story skillfully combines the objective rigor of a biography with the personal immediacy of a memoir. The result is that the reader feels as though they are there, on the inside, as the drama of this truly transformative year for British culture unfolds before us.

Clinton Heylin is one of the leading rock historians in the world, with over two dozen books to his name. These include biographies of Bob Dylan (Behind The Shades), Van Morrison (Can You Feel The Silence?), Bruce Springsteen (E Street Shuffle) and Sandy Denny (No More Sad Refrains), as well as his acclaimed pre-punk history, From The Velvets To The Voidoids, the one and only history of rock bootlegs, Bootleg, and, most recently, the highly acclaimed It’s One For The Money: The Song Snatchers Who Carved Up A Century of Pop, nominated for the 2016 Penderyn Book Award. He lives in Somerset.

‘Heylin has done a masterful job of mapping the when, where and who’s who in the Pistols pied piper saga.’
– Thurston Moore, Sonic Youth

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Clinton Heylin signing Collector’s Edition

>>Click here to order Anarchy in the Year Zero Collector’s Edition

My Express Column | Ian Clayton

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In the autumn of 2010, I was approached by the then editor of the Pontefract and Castleford Express, a lady called Rebecca Whittington, and asked if I might care to contribute a weekly column to the newspaper. We sat at my kitchen table and I asked, ‘What should it be about?’ Rebecca told me that I could write about local culture, but put an Ian Clayton twist on to it. I liked the idea, I have long been a supporter of the local press and advocate on its behalf at every opportunity.

We drank a second cup of tea and then Rebecca said, ‘We can’t pay you, but feel free to advertise any of your projects or books in your piece.’ I felt a bit deflated by this and so said, ‘If you think I’m worth having, you should pay me and you’ll get a good professional job, because after all, I make my living from writing.’ After some thought she offered me £25 per article. I declined that, so she went to forty pounds. I said, ‘If you can make it £50, you’ll get a good value piece of writing and plenty of thought put into it.’ She said that she would have to have a word with her boss, so we left it at that. A few days later, she phoned me and said, ‘Yes we agree that we will pay you fifty pounds, start this week and if you let us have a column every Monday morning it will appear each Thursday.’

So, I did and within a few weeks I started getting lovely letters from readers, all positive and telling me that it was great to be reading something interesting. After a couple of years, Rebecca decided that the column’s popularity deserved a bigger spread, so the little column became a headed page, with my name and a photo of me at the top. I think to reflect this they increased my fee to £75 and then after a couple more years to £100. For my part I decided to put more effort into my piece. Some weeks I would send perhaps a day travelling around researching and thinking about a story and another half a day writing up my notes. I’ve never been a greedy lad for money, so I always thought that for the effort I put in, the paper was getting good value. I have never claimed any expenses in all the time I have written the piece, beyond the fee. All bus and train fares and theatre tickets and purchase of books and music have always come out of my own pocket.

Rebecca moved on a couple of years ago and I then corresponded and sent my pieces to a lady called Hannah Thaxter, who has been kind and supportive about what I write, indeed, when we decided to collect the best of my pieces together and publish them in book form, Hannah was good enough to write the preface for me. She wrote, ‘At the heart of every local paper are the stories and memories, the pride and the achievements of those who live there. We have been privileged at the Pontefract and Castleford Express to share with our readers such musings from local lad Ian Clayton. His column is a favourite amongst our readers.’ I’m very proud of that book and prouder still to say that it was a local best seller, in a district that doesn’t have book shops.

At the back end of February this year. I received an email from a man called John Kenealy. He is the editor of the Pontefract and Castleford Express, but his office is in Halifax. He wrote:

Dear Ian

I am writing to thank you for your excellent contributions to the Pontefract and Castleford Express over the years. Your column is highly regarded and has given an added bonus to Express readers.

However, you will know how challenging it is to publish newspapers in a digital age and a time of great economic uncertainty. Most of the revenue on which we depend comes from advertisers and in tough times it is more important than ever that we live within our means.

As a result, very sadly, we will no longer be able to pay for contributions such as those provided by yourself.

At the end of the letter, John asked me to contact him if I needed to talk. I phoned him. I asked him to tell me why, if the column was popular and enjoyed by readers, they didn’t want it anymore. He said the decision was made purely on economical grounds and that all freelance writers were being laid off, apart from the ones who were willing to write for free. He hinted that I could continue doing the column if I was prepared to work free of charge. Writing is my job, I will not do it for free. I also told him that I thought the economical argument was a poor one; if readership decreases as a result then they have saved nothing. I also asked for a month’s notice, which he agreed to. Today, 24 March 2016, my penultimate column has appeared in the Pontefract and Castleford Express. I have written about aspects of local culture that disappear while you are not looking. I have also tried to let readers know that I will not be writing for the paper anymore. The Express have published my piece, but they have decided to leave out an important sentence. Here is the sentence they have left out.

‘Changes are on the horizon for this paper and I’m sorry that the decision makers have decided that my work here is no longer required.’

I really don’t know the extent of the changes and I have even less clue about who makes the decisions, John Kenealy told me that the decision to sack me was his. I suspect that he was told from someone above and that these people above have no idea of what makes this area tick. I will continue to be a supporter of local papers, but only if they remain loyal to the locality. I do not want to see my local paper, that I buy every week from the Post Office on Church Lane near where I live, become some kind of generic newsletter for big companies trying to sell stuff. I love writing for the Express and I know, because of all the feedback I receive that readers round here like what I put. If the purpose of a local press is to celebrate and uplift local life and culture, who then are these people in management positions who interfere with good things? We often hear that old saying ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ these days. I’m more than happy to carry on doing something for localness, I want to carry on writing for the paper, but I won’t allow people I don’t know and who don’t know this locality to tell me that I must work for free in order to do it. I’m not that simple!

>>See ‘Just Saying’ Ian’s blog in response to the support he received after this post
>> Ian Clayton’s Website

New Acquisition – Anarchy in the Year Zero by Clinton Heylin

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Anarchy in the Year Zero:
The Sex Pistols, The Clash & The Class of ’76
By Clinton Heylin

Route is delighted to announce the acquisition of Clinton Heylin’s explosive new Punk chronicle: Anarchy in the Year Zero: Sex Pistols, The Clash and the Class of ’76, to be published on the 40th anniversary of one of the most significant gigs in British popular music history, when The Sex Pistols played the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester. This is an account of a movement that not only changed the face of British music, but had a profound and lasting effect on the course of British culture as a whole.

Route editor Ian Daley said of the acquisition, ‘It’s an honour to work with Clinton Heylin, a writer I’ve long admired. His distinctive approach of using multiple eye-witness accounts of all the key players in the story, skilfully combines the objective rigour of a biography with the personal immediacy of a memoir. The result is that the reader feels as though they are there, on the inside, as the drama of this truly transformative year for British culture unfolds before us. It’s a great addition to our growing list of music titles and dovetails perfectly with our previous title The Big Midweek: Life Inside The Fall.’

Clinton Heylin is renowned music biographer and cultural historian with over 20 books to his name including From the Velvets to the Voidoids (the definitive history of American punk), over a dozen music biographies plus books on Orson Welles and Shakespeare’s sonnets. He is recognised all over the world as a leading authority on Bob Dylan.

Anarchy in the Year Zero is the story of the birth of Punk, with a capital P, in the only country where it was a mainstream movement: the UK; told entirely by eye-witnesses (Heylin included) whose words, then and now, have been held up to the light of history’s hindsight.

This is also the story of the rebirth of Rock, by a bunch of bands who set out to deconstruct and destroy the form, on the island that largely invented it and reinvented it at least twice in the fifteen years before Punk.

And it is the story of the ex-Catholic, semi-Irish, snot-nosed, working-class Cockney oik who dealt the final, fatal blow to England’s dreams of empire when he became a Rotten revolutionary.

But most of all it is the story of a handful of British youths who were inspired to raise their voice in song, and allow it to echo around the world.

It is a story that, till now, has only been told piecemeal: of one band blazing a trail gig by gig, convert by convert, to the pre-set agenda – not always adhered to – of a fetish shop owner until, within a single year, the whole island rocked to the sound of ANARCHEEE.

How did this happen

and why does it still matter?

>>Click here for more on Anarchy in the Year Zero

>>Click here for Route’s full book list

No Better Gift Than a Great Book

Gift-Wrapped-Book

Book lovers love the gift of a good book. Route is the home of quality, independently produced books. To help you with gift hunting, we’ve pulled together a selection of books that we highly recommend. There’s something here for all tastes, and they wont let you down. (Cheapest option is to buy direct)

 

The-Big-Midweek-minicover

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The Big Midweek: Life Inside The Fall by Steve Hanley & Olivia Piekarski – An unprecedented insight into the inner workings of the UK’s most mysterious and sublime outsider band. A Guardian Book of the Year, a Rough Trade Book of the Year, Readers Digest Editor’s Choice, this is the first insider’s account of life inside The Fall. Steve Hanley’s story unfolds like a novel; from 1979 when he joined his schoolmates Marc Riley and Craig Scanlon in The Fall, he puts us right in the heart of the action: on stage, on the tour bus, in the recording studio, and up close and personal with an eccentric cast of band mates. ‘Steve Hanley has seen one of British music’s most perplexing and brilliant institutions from the inside and lived to tell the tale. This is the absorbing, eye-popping, hilarious story of growing up in the feverish heart of The Mighty Fall.’ – Stuart Maconie

Nothing Ever Happens in Wentbridge

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Nothing Ever Happens in Wentbridge by Janet Watson – A vivid and moving story of a remarkable first love, friendship and the emotional consequences of teenage pregnancy. ‘This is a luminous book about real life: about love, loss, motherhood, daughterhood, about sex, longing and fear, regret and the terrible pain of hindsight. And it’s a fabulous story, whose last third I had to read in one sitting into the small hours. I loved it.’ – Mumsnet

SFMF-180

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Song For My Father by Ian Clayton – What happens when you only know your dad when you’re a young boy and then, one day, when you are middle-aged, he phones to say he’d like to see you again before he dies? ‘Ian Clayton has an unshakeable belief in the power of stories to bring people together, coming as he does from that great tradition of storytellers that includes the likes of Stan Barstow, Alan Sillitoe and his hero Barry Hines. Song For My Father reverberates with warmth, humour and joy and it’s a story people can relate to.’ – Yorkshire Post

Bringing It All Back Home

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Bringing It All Back Home by Ian Clayton – A modern classic. If you love music books, and haven’t read this one yet, it’s time to put that right. When you hear a certain song, where does it take you? What is the secret that connects music to our lives? Heart warming, moving and laugh out loud funny, Bringing It All Back Home is the truest book you will ever read about music and the things that really matter. ‘Ian Clayton has written not just a masterpiece about music but a beautiful and important work of social history. This is a literary triumph of irrepressible humour, touching humility and downright humanity. At the end of this book, you’ll believe Ian Clayton is your best mate.’ – Andy Kershaw

Rites

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Rites – by Sophie Coulombeau – This sizzling novel is the perfect summer read. Four teenagers make a pact to lose their virginity away from the watchful eyes of parents and priest. Fifteen years later, they reflect on the past and unravel how it all went so horribly wrong… There is no objective truth when it comes to different people’s memories of the same experience, it’s up to you to pick your way through the ambiguity. ‘Terrific. A story that’s intriguing, puzzling and entirely gripping.’ – Philip Pullman

Everything Now

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Everything Now by Steve McKevitt – If you like a good grumble about how the modern world is heading to hell in a handcart, this book holds a mine of ammunition for you. Written by an expert in the field, this is a shocking and funny whistle-blowing account of the techniques that are employed to mould public opinion, shape how we behave and control what we think. ‘Read this before you shell out for a new, ever-so slightly shinier mobile phone or pay a premium for anything that goes out of its way to convince you how ‘ethical’ it is.’ – Time Out, Book of the Week.

Carpet Burns

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Carpet Burns – My Life With Inspiral Carpets by Tom Hingley – Get yourself close up and personal with Inspiral Carpets as Tom charts the ups and downs of life inside a pop hurricane with wit and plenty of insight. Anyone interested in music life and the impact of Manchester’s music scene will quickly devour every word. ‘Oh my God! Every band is the same. I couldn’t put it down.’ – Peter Hook

Red Army Faction Blues

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Red Army Faction Blues by Ada Wilson – Music and politics. Bombs and acid. Peter Green and the Red Army Faction. All is seen through the eyes of an agent provocateur, as the peace and love generation of the 1960s gives way to violent terrorism of the 1970s. ‘Wilson brings the tumult of 1967 West Berlin vividly to life in this intriguing period thriller. Resonances with the Occupy Wall Street movement make this novel’s themes timely.’ Publishers Weekly

The Train of Fice and Fire

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The Train of Ice and Fire by Ramon Chao – Quite simply, a chronical of one of the craziest rock tours ever attempted. Colombia, November 1993: a reconstructed old passenger train is carrying one hundred musicians, acrobats and artists on a daring adventure through the heart of a country soaked in violence. Leading this crusade of hope is Manu Chao with his band Mano Negra. Manu’s father Ramon Chao is on board to chronicle the journey. ‘The real joy is in the detail, be it Chao Senior overheating in a polar bear costume until he loses consciousness or going so native that he gets himself tattooed as his son tuts disapprovingly. By the end you’re rooting for the cast of dysentery ridden, ceaselessly optimistic ne’er-do-wells and entranced by the madness of their undertaking.’ – Q Magazine.

Because Cuba is You

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Because Cuba is You by Ramon Chao – An exotic and historical romp through Galicia and Cuba, this magical realist story is an account of Ramon Chaos own family saga and the political maelstrom into which he was born, tracing a personal and political line from the Spanish-American War to the Spanish Civil War. ‘A historical narrative focused on the relations between Galicia and Cuba. Well written and full of entertaining anecdotes, Chao brings an imaginative dimension to the story of emigration.’ – El Mundo.

BRITISH-STORY-180

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British Story by Michael Nath – Hitch a ride an oddball group of characters as they call up the lost spirit of resistance in this literary romp through British history. Philosophical, frightening and hilarious, British Story is an adventure in imagination and a rallying cry for wonder. A Morning Star Book of the Year. ‘This frequently surreal tale follows an academic’s entanglement with an oddball group, led by the Falstaffian Arthur Mountain, who share a strange extended tale stretching back to wartime Swansea via Doncaster and Edinburgh. Reminiscent of the work of Kurt Vonnegut, this is a really engaging and entertaining yarn with plenty of knowing literary allusions.’ – Times Higher Education Supplement

La Rochelle

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La Rochelle by Michael Nath – The writing is the star of the show in this literary novel. Darkly comic, sharp and erudite, it’s been desribed as Proust in Peckham or Hamlet in Holborn. The disappearance of his friend’s woman stirs up the life of a doctor, placing him in the power of a subtle enchanter. Will it make or break him? ‘Stylish, very funny, discreetly surprising, this remarkable novel reads at times like a fable of England under New Labour, where nothing is quite what it seems and not much is worth what it costs.’ – Michael Wood

Red Laal

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Red Laal by M Y Alam – A bold slice of organised-crime fiction, M Y Alam’s novel is a compelling tale of survival, honour and family values. In Kilo and Red Laal, Alam has created characters beyond compare in contemporary British fiction. ‘Red Laal is a smart, tough and authentic revenge thriller best served cold, and marks out M Y Alam as a major name in gritty, contemporary gangster-culture crime writing.‘ – Telegraph and Argus

Spellbound

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SpellboundWomen’s Magic Over Men by Joel Willans – Ever since men painted on cave walls, they’ve been making art out of their feelings for women. Joel Willans’s prize-winning stories feature men battling for women’s hearts with weapons as diverse as chocolates and chairs. A spellbinding summer read with a slice of magic. ‘The thinking lad’s book for a busy life. Funny, cool, excellent prose, effortless to read… a heartwarming read for us girls too!’ – Alice Bragg

Born in the 1980s

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Born in the 1980s – These stories from ‘our so called generation’ are as vital as fresh air. Through love and lust, broken dreams and heartbreak, we see a generation finding its feet and carving out its place in the world. ‘If you were born in the 1980s and want to reminisce about “growing up”, are twentysomething and want to show your feelings instead of telling them, or not twentysomething and just want to learn something about the “next wave”, this is the book for you. It definitely captures the spirit of a generation up and coming.’ – The Bloomsbury Review.

For Route’s full book list, click here.