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October 07 , 2008

May Contain Flashing Images

Manchester, Music and Me!


As the only person with a camera attending the first Sex Pistols gig outside London at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester on Friday June 4th 1976, I unwittingly captured a piece of musical history which still intrigues people to this day. I was covering the event for the magazine that I was producing at the time entitled Penetration.
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Today those photographs, as well as many others taken by me during that period, are selling around the world courtesy of Getty Images appearing in books and magazines as well as featuring in a number of TV and film documentaries

I was born in Manchester when music first went 'pop' and the teenager made its first appearance in society. I left school at the earliest opportunity without any qualifications and very little interest in education or even reading. I worked in a photographic studio for one year before joining my father as a window cleaner which I worked at for the next ten years.

I fell in love with rock music at an early age and regardless of my lack of education produced two magazines. 'Purple Smoke' an arts magazine and the aforementioned 'Penetration Rock Magazine' as a consequence of this and my association with the music scene I quickly took the alcohol, drugs and backstage pass route to oblivion.

When people would be talking about whether their glass was half empty or half full I didn't need to ponder the question as I'd be at the bar getting a top up. Along the way with the help of several girlfriends and a large dose of realisation I decided to try and educate myself and improve myself as a person in general. I later became interested in comedy and spent fifteen years writing sketches for popular TV shows both in the UK and in Germany.

With this book the music and comedy blend together to create a style far removed from other books covering similar events and periods in time. It takes us all the way from my earliest recollections to today, in my late fifties, attending hardcore raves.

With anecdotes about the music scene and tales from behind the stage door with amongst others Motorhead, Hawkwind, Steve Peregrine Took Andthe Damned, through to my time living in the next room to Mick Hucknall and later as a neighbour of Richard Madeley, Judy Finnegan and Tony Wilson.

There are also tales from the church of Dirty Dick the Swinging Vic to a prostitute by the name of Tenpenny cabbage, from a glass collector in Cornwall called Rat Spew to a rugby player I accompanied to Paris by the name of Black Man's Bum.

An unusual journey through psychedelic music, rock music, punk, metal, techno, trance and finally happy hardcore, from the Pink Fairies to the Russ Abbot Show, Wayne County to the Jonathan Ross Show and with lots of previously unseen photographs and associated visuals.

The first page of the book features the song title 'Life's What You Make It' by talk talk and my story is of somebody who against the odds created a decent life for himself after such an unpromising start. My school reports said that I was a daydreamer who they expected would be a failure however one thing is certain with this book you can always expect the unexpected.
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