My 1998 book about British clubbing, based on my own experiences and on hundreds of interviews with DJs, promoters, musicians, fashion designers and clubbers. The book traces the roots of the music in Chicago, New York, Detroit and Ibiza; the frantic, E-fuelled summers of 88 and 89 in London, Manchester and beyond; the huge illegal raves in southern England and in Blackburn; and the subsequent rise of the superclub.
Out of print now, though copies are usually available on Amazon. I’m thinking of updating it as an ebook and would love to know if anyone would be interested in that – please email or add a comment to let me know!
I wrote this set of essays on women in pop with Sue Steward in 1984, when I was still at university, and very earnest and naive. We covered everything from the women who put vinyl into sleeves at EMI’s factory to screaming girl fans, managers to label owners and interviewed a wide range of musicians, singers, bands and artists, and although some of it is hopelessly dated now (the idea of anyone putting vinyl into sleeves ready for distribution, for instance!), quite a bit of it still stands up. There are interviews with key players in both early punk and hip hop, from Sylvia Robinson, the force behind Sugarhill Records, to The Slits and Poly Styrene.
My friend Gavin Hills was one of the most talented writers I ever worked with. But more than that, he was one of the loudest, funniest, opinionated, most alive people I’ve ever known. He died far too young, just after his 31st birthday, in an accident too absurd and upsetting to describe here. Trawling through his computer afterwards to put together this collection of his work was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The book came out in 2000, covering everything from clubbing, drugs, football and casuals to war and famine. The global conflicts he covered have moved on, the fashions and music has changed, but his words are still somehow relevant, and full of life. He remains a constant inspiration.
Edited by Richard Benson, this is a collection of writing on clubs, taken from The Face from1980 to 1997. My 1986 article on Chicago house appears here – one of the first to document the music bursting out of the Windy City’s gay clubs – along with several other features charting the post-acid house rave explosion and the eventual government and police clampdown, the rise of the female DJ, a new breed of gay clubs and a growing disillusionment with E culture.
An entertaining collection of essays about obsessive fandom, edited by John Aizelwood in 1994. I reprise my thoughts on being a Bay City Rollers fan in my early teens, a subject I also covered in Signed, Sealed & Delivered and in The Faber Book of Pop. In fact, over the years, I’ve probably spent more time writing about being a Rollers fan than I did actually being one! My tartan scarf lasted longer than my brief crush on Les, Woody and co: it was recycled by my mum, who took it to several Rod Stewart concerts.
Just after David Bowie died, The Guardian asked me to write a piece celebrating his style. As always with obituary pieces, it had to be written quickly, in a couple of hours, but I had some interviews with designers who had worked with him, done to coincide with the V&A Museum’s big Bowie retrospective. Later, a publisher asked if they could reprint it as a preface to a Bowie colouring book., which has to be one of the strangest – and most entertaining – reuse of something I’ve written.