From Backroom to Rave Room, from the Toilet Circuit to the Town Hall
Fraser Mann [+–]
York St. John University
Robert Edgar [+–]
York St. John University
Helen Pleasance [+–]
York St. John University
Venue Stories is an anthology of creative non-fiction that remembers, celebrates and reinvigorates our complex and plural relationship with small and independent music spaces. Written by musicians, promoters, fans and academics who have a shared passion for small music venues and musical cultures in all their splendid variety, this anthology features memoir, essays, life writing, historiography and autoethnography. Each chapter is united by a focus on the personal, the sensory and half-remembered. These are stories that cross disciplinary lines and blur distinctions between creativity, reportage and critical analysis.
Venue Stories pays a visit to the toilet venues, back rooms and ad-hoc club nights that make up so much of our musical landscape. It spends time in small and local venues and asks what they mean in personal and cultural terms. Writers visit celebrated spots, long forgotten spaces and emergent venues. Whatever the lineage, they are independent, original and wonderfully weird. The stories are memories of seismic gigs and life-altering raves. They are mosaic remembrances and recollections; funny, heart-breaking, rage induced and sometimes a combination of all of these things. This is a collection of stories by and for fans, band members, merch sellers, pint pullers, journalists with a freebie, roadies with a backache and sound techs with an earache.
Series: Music Industry Studies
Table of Contents
In the 80s I came to Leicester and went to every cheap gig in the city. I was in a Red Wedge style band The Soviets, and later formed my own band Po! which had some success in the international indie-pop fanzine world. I started a record label Rutland Records and sold mail order – mainly to Japan, Spain, USA and UK. Po! did a session for John Peel and got NME single of the week just as I was losing interest in striving for musical success. I researched and wrote half a PhD before giving up and doing journalism and teaching.
More than twenty years later, a chance meeting with another ex-indie popster, Polly Popinjay, led to us starting a joint blog – punkgirldiaries. This sucked us into the modern social media world and reconnected us with many thousands of people who, like us had been changed or formed by punk.
My latest project is unglamorous music, which aims to get new bands together and release music by older women; not simply nostalgia for when we were young, but a genuinely new sound from those you don’t normally expect to see in a newly-formed band.
University in 2017, writing her thesis on the figure of the male opera singer in nineteenth-
century culture. She has since published on a diverse range of topics including Billie Holiday’s autobiography and the gothic fiction written by Victorian opera star Sims Reeves. Her current research focuses on death masks in the nineteenth century and has been supported by funding from Princeton University. She is also curating an exhibition of late-Victorian musical portraits at the Royal College of Music in London. Anna often writes features for a range of popular magazines including BBC Music and Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. She is a life-long fan of rock music.
and Europe to attend clubs and events and be with likeminded people. The Mod Scene went on to influence every element of Abigail’s life. She ran her own club night, ‘The Revolutionary Freaked Out Fuzz Club’, for over 10 years in York with fellow music lovers Paul Lowman and Andy Gaines. She went on to teach History and set up a Sociology department mainly so she could teach youth subcultures to 17 and 18-year-olds. Abigail now resides in her 60s influenced home in York.
Welsh Review, 2019). His research considers the relationship between reading, writing, and
hearing, with an emphasis on sonic experience in contemporary fiction. He is due to complete a PhD on this subject at Aberystwyth University in 2021.
appeared in the journals Nineteenth Century Gender Studies, Italian Studies and Textile
History and she has given papers at major conferences organised by the National Gallery, the Courtauld History of Dress Association and the Association for Art History. Her interest in the intersection of global cultures is mirrored by her love of music. Growing up in the north of England in the late 1980s sparked a deep interest in underground house, hardcore and techno whilst her passion for jungle and drum & bass spans almost 30 years. In 1994, whilst studying History of Art and Italian at the University of Birmingham, she founded its first ever newspaper column to explore the genre. Immersed in labels such as Reinforced, V Recordings and Creative Source, her heart resides in the heady nights of Swerve, Quest and Metalheadz that defined the 1990s. She presents regular radio shows on Imperial Voice Radio, Energy 1058 and Kane FM – playing upfront and contemporary jungle and drum & bass that captures the spirit of the original sounds.
interests are centred around the representation of coma and brain injury in literature, film and media, working with survivors to curate narratives of lived experience. He is also a researcher with the Head Injuries and Homelessness Research Group in Sheffield. He is a keen music fan and played in various bands, his most recent being alt-metal group CreepJoint which was recently featured on Tom Robinson’s 6music show. His book, The Language and Imagery of Coma and Brain Injury, will be published by Bloomsbury in 2021.
correspondent and token punk rocker in the late 1970s. She was pop columnist for the
Liverpool Echo for several years.
emergence and development of the electro swing genre. After studying at De Montfort
University, and the University of Sheffield, in 2019 he received his doctorate from the
University of South Wales. He has previously had chapters published in Continental Drift: 50 Years of Jazz from Europe (2016), and Popular Music in the Post-Digital Age: Politics,
Economy, Culture and Technology (2019).
secondary and special schools in Essex and West Yorkshire before moving on to Higher
Education advisory work with both the Open and Leeds Metropolitan University. Gained
doctorate in 2019 with a study looking at the darker stories of Thomas Hardy and creating a series of scripts intended for a TV mini-series. Originally from Birmingham and now in my late sixties I look back at the progressive rock played in a club there in the late 60s and early 70s.
work published in the zines The Line Between Two Towns (2017) and Fan Club (2019). In
2018, she won the Wilko Johnson Writing Award for her music writing. She is a PhD student at York St John University and specialises in women’s rock music memoirs. She completed her Masters degree at the University of Sheffield in 2018, where she wrote her dissertation on the female body in women’s music memoirs.
currently concluding a PhD in this field. He is an avid amateur musician in his spare time,
playing the drums and the guitar. Originally from Middlesbrough in the North East of England, he moved to York in 2011. He comes from a musical family, and grew up around punk-rock DJs and record-shop owners. He is particularly interested in ‘local’ music and the cultural significance of independent venues in the North East.