About the Book
So who exactly is Sukie McClaren?
A Christmas-loving Cat lover? A Sound of Music Fanatic? A Fiercely Independent Woman?
She is all of the above. And when she is sent to Salzburg for a business trip a few weeks before Christmas, she thinks all her dreams have come true. As she packs her suitcase, the only things on her mind are Christmas markets, lots of snow and finally seeing the Doh-Ray-Me steps. Becoming the new best friend of the world’s hottest rock-star doesn’t even get a look in.
Pete Wallace is a reclusive, reluctant, rock-star and the world’s Number One, best-selling, male solo artist. It’s been three years since his last tour and he’s now preparing to go back on the road again. A week in Salzburg, schmoozing with the music press, is one of his worst nightmares.
He can’t wait for it to be over.
When Pete and Sukie meet, it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Lonely for too long, he begins to remember how it feels to be happy and, for the first time in six years, Christmas feels special again.
Eduardo di Santo however, whose kid sister suffered life-changing injuries at a Pete Wallace concert, is all set on getting revenge. When Pete’s new tour is announced, he begins to make his plans. Plans that will culminate in Pete’s demise.
Will Pete and Sukie’s new friendship die before it has a chance to flourish?
A Christmas tale full of love, laughter, friendship and revenge.
To enter for a chance to win this fantastic prize (£ or $) please click the above image.
Blame It On The Love Of Rock ‘n’ Roll
Part 2 – The Teenage Years.
My first proper ‘grown up’ gig was Adam and the Ants, the Prince Charming tour. I was only fifteen and I had begged my mum to let me go. We lived about seven miles from the centre of Glasgow and I would be getting a bus there and back. I was going with two other friends so she relented. I had to pay for the ticket myself but, having three paper-rounds at the time, this was not a problem. My mate got the tickets. I don’t know how he managed it as they were like gold-dust.
The venue for this momentous moment in my life was the rapidly disintegrating flea-pit known as The Apollo. Unknown to me at the time, this venue was, and still is, considered by many bands and artists as the ultimate music venue due to the explosive atmosphere and exuberant crowds. It had a massive, fifteen and a half foot high, stage and a bouncing balcony. The balcony was designed to do this and many bands would encourage the fans to jump more in order to see the effect. While I didn’t know the venue was iconic back then, I firmly believe that the magic of it set up my love and expectations for all future gigs I would attend.
I was fortunate enough to see a few bands at The Apollo before it closed its doors on the 16th June 1985 but the two most memorable for me are Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Nik Kershaw. I’ll start with Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Frankie-mania had hit Glasgow with the same force as it had hit the rest of the UK. This meant that when tickets went on sale for their tour in early 1985, there wasn’t a snowballs chance in hell of getting one. Yours truly, however, would not be thwarted by this. There were other ways if one used a little ingenuity… You see, living in Glasgow had certain advantages when it came to meeting your favourite band or artist because there were only a handful of hotels considered exclusive enough for the bands to stay in so it was easy to find out where the bands were staying when they were in town. My friends and I, however, had learnt that you do not hang around outside the hotel like ordinary fans. No. The secret is to dress nicely and buy a drink in the hotel bar. This technique had worked a few times and it was about to work again.
I was sitting in the bar of the hotel on the night of the 20th March 1985. Frankie had just played the first of two gigs at The Apollo and had come down to the bar to relax and unwind. At the time, the band had the reputation of being a bolshy and they were living up to it that night. Several girls had approached them to ask for an autograph but had been sent away with a flea in their ear and no signature. So I decided to go in with a different tack.
I walked over to the three band members who were the main perpetrators of the abuse – Brian Nash, Mark O’Toole and Peter Gill. The conversation went as follows:
Me: Excuse me, sorry to interrupt but I was wondering if I may take a photograph please?
FGTH: No you fookin’ well can’t.
Me: Phew! I was hoping you would refuse because you’re all so bloody ugly the camera would probably break!
FGTH: What did you say?
Me: I said you’re all so ugly you’d probably break the camera!
Cue 5 seconds of silence before they break out in loud, raucous laughter.
FGTH: Fook me! More front than bloody Blackpool this one! For that, you can take your photograph.
Me: Oh well, if you insist. But, if it breaks, you owe me a new one.
After the photograph was taken the banter continued between us and I was invited to join them, along with my friends of course. Through the course of the conversation, I was asked if I had been to the gig. Now I could have been very polite and simply said no but I chose to inform them that, if I wanted to listen to the sound of cats caterwauling, I would take myself off to the local animal rescue. This was met with the response of “For that, you cheeky mare, we’re putting you on the guest list for tomorrow night!”
Hah! Mission accomplished!
For the record, the gig was amazing, the atmosphere was electric and I hung out with the guys again back at the hotel. Overall, they were a great bunch of lads and fun company to be in.
The other memorable gig at the Apollo was Nik Kershaw on the 11th of November in 1984. I had been a fan of Nik’s for a few months prior to him hitting the big time earlier that year. When my friend Pam and I entered the foyer of the venue we saw his manager hanging around. We recognised him from a gig of Nik’s we’d been to in the summer so we went over to say hello. He remembered us and we got chatting. He left us with the instruction to head back to their hotel afterwards and he would ensure we got to meet Mr Kershaw himself.
After the gig, Pam – who had only just passed her driving test two days before – haired it down to the hotel and we were sitting with a drink in the bar before the band had even gotten off the coach. As promised, we were introduced to Nik and I can tell you now that he was one of the nicest, sweetest musicians I have ever met. He was polite, funny and quite happy to have a laugh and chill out. When he and the band found out that Pam and I were also attending their gig in Edinburgh a few days later, we were invited to meet up with them all again because ‘we were fun and we didn’t hassle them’. Once again, Nik and his band were simply lovely and friendly and we had a blast just hanging out with them. Nik Kershaw was, for quite some time after that, my absolute hero and I didn’t miss any of his gigs. Including one very big, extra special, event that brought a whole new experience to rock and pop music…
Thanks so much, Kiltie. Don’t forget to catch up with the rest of these fabulous guest posts!
For Part 1 – The Early Years, see My Life, One Story At A Time yesterday
For Part 3 – Live Aid, have a look on Carole’s Book Corner tomorrow