We’re a creative lot us Wiganers and news has come to TNS of a new book being launched by Andrew Vaughan. Vaughanie is generally considered one of the Godfathers of independent writing in Wigan and also created Wigan Athletic’s first ever fanzine, the Cockney Latic in the late Eighties.
His brilliant new book is available to buy now on Amazon and you can read more on it’s blog:
AMAZON UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Faded-Lois-Dreams-Andrew-Vaughan/dp/0956238017/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409512271&sr=1-1&keywords=faded+lois+dreams
AMAZON USA: http://www.amazon.com/Faded-Lois-Dreams-Andrew-Vaughan/dp/0956238017/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409573342&sr=8-1&keywords=faded+lois+dreams
In the meantime here’s a bit of background to it and a brief extract:
Faded Lois Dreams is a novel set in London with the occasional visit to Wigan. It is a story about growing up, a story of discovery and friendship but most of all it is a love story: A love of girls, music, football and clothes.
As a clothes-obsessed music-loving football fan teenager Richard White always dreamed of living in London. By 1982 he was living this dream, and making his way in the big city. Faded Lois Dreams is the story of that year. The story of one young man and his friends as they face up to the joy and pain of living in the capital city. A city that reverberates to the sound of IRA bombs, post-punk, jazz funk and reggae. The charts are full of electro-pop while seminal records like The Message by Grandmaster Flash and Night Nurse by Gregory Isaacs edge their way into White’s consciousness as Margaret Thatcher and Britain wages war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. Set in the seemingly tranquil area of Muswell Hill where vampires roam the nearby cemetery and strange things happen behind the net curtains to Soho and Fitrovia where White and his friends party after dark. This is the London that evades the radar of the tourists and the media commentators. Written from the first person perspective – and with both humour and pathos – Andrew Vaughan describes in painstaking details the minutiae of London life. From the terraces to the clothes shops via the pubs, clubs and record shops. He documents the changing fashions, attitudes, love affairs, fall-outs and personal tragedies that occur in this tribal city where if you take the wrong turning you could be walking into big trouble. Take the right turning and you could find pleasure and love. But most of all Faded Lois Dreams is about friendship, identity and belonging in this transient city. Friendship, identity and belonging whilst wearing decent clothes and trainers, mind…
It’s chaos on the tube as there’s been some hassle at Arsenal and United – so a normal Saturday then. I jump off at Euston and cut through the backs down to Soho.
There’s a chill in the air as I pass the university: All the fresh-faced girls and boys embarking on a life in academia. With their college scarves, nondescript clothes and their clipped accents. We occasionally crash the bar at the ULU simply because they sell Stella Artois at ridiculously low prices but it isn’t for us. Not that the kids I hang around with aren’t clever and to be fair Guzzling has a degree but it just isn’t the type of place where we’d go. Strange really. I wish them well but it never appealed I just wanted to work. To earn some money to enable me to go out on Saturday nights and to buy new clothes. That old working-class way of dressing up to go out on a Friday and Saturday night. Been going on for years; Friday, Saturday and Sunday best. Fifty hours in a factory, the docks or down a mine and then all scrubbed up and down to the pub or club. Big bands, trad jazz, modern jazz, R & B, beat, pop and soul. The chain continues. Looking smart and looking crisp. Sure the fashions change but the chain is unbroken.
Tonight is a dressed-up night. Burberry mac, button down shirt, lambswool sweater, slacks and tassel loafers by Church. I’m meeting Claudette, away from work and just the two of us. Meal at Bianchi’s: Spaghetti Vongole and glasses of Valpolicella, followed by coffee, cigarettes and jazz at Ronnie Scott’s. We love Bianchi’s and Nic one of our gang from work, his dad Roberto works there. Lovely blokes, both Nic and his dad, from the south of Italy. Not sure what his dad does there but he always makes us feel welcome and it’s a great place. Photos of film stars and jazz musicians on the wall which is right up Claudette’s street. We keep it quiet and he looks after his son’s friends.
Claudette is always on time – which for a black girl is saying something – so I rush down Berwick Street over the discarded rotting fruit and this time only glancing into the record shop windows rather than go in as I normally do; where I while away too many an hour. Ignoring the whores and the rowdy tourists before I hear a shout from behind.
‘I’ve got there before you, ha ha.’
‘No chance I’ve been around the block and been propositioned four times while waiting for ya.’
‘You’ve certainly been around the block.’
‘P*** off, Rich and less of the wha’ppens mate.
‘Just because you listen to Culture and all that reggae s*** don’t mean you have to try and talk like us.’
‘Okay jazz kid.
‘For tonight and tonight only I’ll leave it out.
‘Anyhow who’s on at Ronnie’s tonight?’
‘Not sure but it’ll be better than that Augustus Pablo and Burning Spear stuff you normally listen to.’
‘I like a bit of funk with my jazz but tonight and tonight only I’ll get on your Coltrane tip.’
Strange how this kid whose parents hail from Kingston, Jamaica doesn’t dig the reggae beat. The bass, drums and guitar just moves me. It always has and, I’m sure, it always will. From Desmond Dekker to Dillinger it always makes me sway and bangs a great big nail in my big bloody heart. At home in the bedsit I crank the turntables right up high and let The Wailers, The Mighty Diamonds or Culture take me away. But for Claudette it is Monk, Coltrane, Miles and Chet and it’s a real proper cool Claudette that is with me tonight. In her Levi’s, loafers and pea coat. A cool Claudette for a cool Soho.
A cool Soho that has been the home to pimps, pushers and puffs for a very long time. A cool Soho that during the day is home to Bar Italia – where us cool f***ing boys drink cappuccinos and espressos and eat pastries while we watch the world go by. A cool Soho where we used to dance the afternoon away at Crackers and where we dig through the racks at Groove and Daddy Kool. European cool, black boy chic, reggae vibes, people at work and living their lives above the streets and a million, trillion other things. Then when night falls the place changes. The clientele may not change but the atmosphere and the place buzzes with criminality, art, sleaze, sex and drugs and rock and roll. And of course jazz. This jazz village. The reason why we are here tonight. Why Claudette loves the place: The history, the vibe, the beauty of it all. The beauty of jazz. The ultimate cool or so she’ll tell me over and over again. But I listen to her and love her for it and when I’m around at hers and it’s all a kind of blue I can see what it’s about. What it must have been like in the olden days in this den of iniquity that is Soho. Shopping at Austin’s on Shaftesbury Avenue for the latest American shirts, smoking Gauloises cigarettes in private clubs listening to modern jazz. The place where all the London kids would whack school and pop down to, to have a laugh and learn the real lessons in life.
Italy, Maltese gangsters, Budgie and Charlie Endell, food, art, music, crime, love, class, the dive bars, sex, race and every other thing that really matters can be found in the little village of Soho.
Tonight is lovely and even the jazz in Ronnie’s has some funk in it as we dance the night away. Right a f****** way…
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