A big thank you to my soul sister Nora who recommended ‘Cider with Roadies’. It’s a sort of autobiography/ recent history of pop music by Stuart Maconie.
He writes - ‘Soul music the sound of the streets, the sound of youth, the sound of passion, freedom, the night. To be fully attuned to the pulse of soul music in the 1970s, to feel its beating rhythm and heartbeat in the sounds of the metropolis around you, in the traffic, in the bars, the schools, the clubs, the songs of the shop girls and factory boys at downtown bus stops, you had to be living in one of only a handful of places; Memphis, Detroit, Chicago, New York ….…or Wigan.’
Wigan - also famous for pier, pies, rugby and where Kaz passed her driving test as a schoolgirl from Chorley. I’ll forgive Stuart for his snide references to persons from Chorley because I love his self-effacing low-key sense of humour - he’s so like the lads I grew up with.
He takes us from watching the Beatles as a toddler with his mum, through the 11+, college, unemployment, teaching sociology in Skelmersdale and his career as music journo on NME.
But, although Beth told me about his dancing, I’d no idea that he had been a Northern Soul Boy from the legendary Wigan Casino. Carrying his Adidas bag containing a change of clothes and Johnson’s baby talc to make the floor slippier for his rolls, dives, slides, spins and back flips. He ‘spent the best part of 1974 dancing’ - defying the inherited DNA of the white, male heterosexual stereotype.
He writes about his music passions from soul, progressive rock and punk to the Fall, the Smiths and Blur.
According to Peter Kaye ‘Stuart Maconie is the best thing to come out of Wigan since the A58 to Bolton’.