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Venue Stories

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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.

Published: Feb 1, 2023

Book Contributors


Section Chapter Authors
Foreword Emma Warren
Introduction Fraser Mann, Robert Edgar, Helen Pleasance
Chapter 1
Peripheral Dancing Helen Pleasance
Chapter 2
Finding the Dirt: Nesh at Elektrowerkz Fraser Mann
Chapter 3
Chatting to Jarvis: Doncaster to Hull the Hard Way Robert Edgar
Chapter 4
Fascinating Rhythms Catherine Hughes
Chapter 5
The Bull & Gate, Kentish Town, London 1987-1991 Polly Hancock
Chapter 6
Bass Destruction Kevin Narrainen
Chapter 7
Girls with Guitars PunkGirlDiaries .
Chapter 8
(Princess) Charlotte and her 1980s Offspring O'Jays Ruth Miller
Chapter 9
The Brewery Arts Centre Peter Atkinson
Chapter 10
Insights from the Dressing Room Jon Stewart
Chapter 11
In Memory of the Standard: Classic Rock in East London Anna Maria Barry
Chapter 12
The New Breed: 1990s Mod Revival Scene in Leeds Abigail Gaines
Chapter 13
Leaning on the Bench in Leicester's Charlotte Ed Garland
Chapter 14
Scuzzy Romance: Playing the Bull & Gate Julianne Regan
Chapter 15
Spiritual Auras: Jungle Venues in Birmingham and the West Midlands 1993-7 Penelope Wickson
Chapter 16
The Wheat from the Chaff Matt Colbeck
Chapter 17
Eric's, Liverpool, 1976-1980 Penny Kiley
Chapter 18
The Warehouse Dawn Amber Harvey
Chapter 19
The Rainbow Venues and the Impact of its Closure on the Swingamajig Festival Chris Inglis
Chapter 20
Sold-out, Locked Out, Power Out Tom Hingley
Chapter 21
Mothers Club in Erdington Alan G. Smith
Chapter 22
Music Spaces and Music Memory Anna Elias
Chapter 23
Glitter, Rubber Ducks and Dinghies: The Georgian Theatre and the Teesside Gigging Community in the Early 2010s Amy McCarthy
Chapter 24
The Rock Garden: Conversations with My Dad, a Punk-rock DJ Tom Jackson
Final Word Mark Davyd