Happy Mondays’ Gary Whelan: Exclusive Interview

Happy Mondays’ Gary Whelan: Exclusive Interview

These days Gary “Gaz” Whelan is living it up in the Canadian city of Toronto, a far cry from the days he shot to fame as an integral part of the Madchester scene as drummer for the Happy Mondays.

Today Gaz spoke exclusively to SalfordOnline.com about Bez’s political career, growing up in Salford and why David Moyes ended a Mondays overseas tour.

Bandmate and friend Mark “Bez” Berry recently announced his plans to stand as a candidate for Member of Parliament for Salford and Eccles in the next general election, declaring he wants “free energy for everybody.”

Bez on BBC News

Bez on BBC News

Whilst he admires his friend’s spirit, Gaz believes the reasoning behind the move is to shine a spotlight on plans for fracking at Barton Moss: “I don’t think Bez feels he will become an MP, I think he’s just trying to bring as much attention to what is going on and starting dialogue.

“I think it’s great that he is actually doing something with conviction, he is very passionate about the environment and other issues, as am I.”

So will Gaz become a campaigning champion for the environment?

“I have little spare time; one day, maybe.”

Gary (left) with the boys.

Gary (left) with the boys.

One thing Gaz is passionate about is his beloved Manchester United.

The latest palaver, the sacking of manager David Moyes, or as he calls it, “the Moyes situation”, has left a particularly sour taste in the mouth.

The ousted Scot, Gaz reveals, was the reason a tour to Australia and Japan had to be shelved.

“He was never my choice. I was up a ladder in Toronto painting my house when I heard the news on the radio.

“I hit the ladder with my hand out of frustration and the ladder slipped Harold Lloyd-style to the ground and I damaged my ankle and wrist and we had to cancel, so it was a bad start for me.

“United are my passion, I always see them as a Salford club and explain the connection to folk when I travel.”

Speaking of Salford, Gaz is a proud Salfordian (as are all the Mondays – bar Mark Day).

Born in Weaste and bred in Swinton, speaks fondly of his days growing up in Salford: “I miss the Salford humour and the Joseph Holts pubs, but being the youngest in the band, I have pretty much been on tour since I was sixteen, so I’m used to being away.”

“I go back to Salford quite a lot as the band is still based in the region. Salford’s the gateway to Manchester. Everything that built Manchester came through Salford Docks. And, of course, it’s the birth place of Tony Wilson.”

The late Tony Wilson

The late Tony Wilson

Will he ever return to his native land? It’s a tough ask for Salford to compete: “Toronto has over three hundred days of sun a year. I’ve lived here for six years now, prior to that it was Australia. Not sure where next…”

Review: The Ghosthunter

Review: The Ghosthunter

I’ve been to the city of York many times; Clifford Tower, the Shambles, and the Minster. I’ve even been on ghost tours. They take place after dark and are led by a cloaked, theatrical fellow in a tall black top hat holding a detailed and decorative walking stick for added authenticity.


Amongst the old city’s historical buildings we walk, to be told dark tales of the plague and the grisly Victorian times where children were kept captive and treated worse than dogs by Dickensian evil, greedy types.

The Ghosthunter was based on this concept.

A monologue by the talented and charming Tom Richards, this hour long piece focuses on a ghost hunter who likes a pint and talks cynically about the trade.

A satirical take on the foolish punters, writer Stewart Pringle gives us a comical insight into the world of the ghost hunters of York whilst cleverly entwining classic ghost stories, culmination in a nice, neat twist.
The problem for me, and others it would seem, was that it was pretty boring. It was an hour long straight through with no interval and took a good twenty minutes to get going.

It wasn’t quite engaging enough. I don’t want to blame that on Tom Richards’ performance, because he did everything that was expected of him and more. I’m just not sure that the dry, tedious and samey language completely works in a monologic performance. Maybe if such a narrative was accompanied by a more visually appealing presentation, it could have been enjoyable. As it was I was dying to get the hell out of there. I definitely couldn’t have survived another hour. But hey, what do I know?

The play is produced, directed, written and performed with obvious class. It’s just too boring and fringey to be massively popular.

I think that it would work if, say, you were in a couple and in the beautiful and magical ecclesiastical province of York, where you could be submerged in the oldy worldly Middle Ages vibe and could go for a drink afterward. It would definitely work in that setting.

DJ Adam Guy: Exclusive Interview

DJ Adam Guy: Exclusive Interview

Salford and Manchester based house music DJ, producer and family man Adam Guy grew up playing football on the streets of Salford and dreamed one day of becoming a footballer. Unfortunately he never realised his football dreams so became an internationally renowned and respected house music DJ instead.

In an exclusive interview with me, Adam talks of his rise to the top and his days as a youngster growing up in Salford. He also has some advice for aspiring DJs.

He’s played on the same bill as dance music giants like David Guetta, Roger Sanchez, Eric Morillo and Calvin Harris, is a regular at the world famous Warehouse Project in Manchester and has played Eden in Ibiza. He also has credits on numerous dance compilation albums including the smash hit 100% Ibiza Anthems and has played – and will play again – the celebrated institution that is Bowlers.

The Boothstown lad who was born in Hope Hospital (Salford Royal) first started to mess around with the decks as a youngster: “When I was around aged 14, me and my mates used to exchange old school DJ mix-tapes; they were like gold dust.

“Then I saved up and bought some vinyl decks of my own. They were awful at first but it was a start and something to do and learn. Every bit of money I had, I spent on records, trying to mix and scratch.”

His passion for house music has taken him all over the world to many glamorous destinations. But his first residency abroad was in the Spanish town of Lloret De Mar – a popular location, at the time, for young British party lovers – in 2001: “Me and my best mate blagged it and landed a residency each. Don’t ask how?”

After putting on some small nights in Manchester, the consistency paid off and Adam was playing with some of the biggest names in the world: “the biggest gigs I have ever played would probably be the Warehouse Project, Es Paradis, el Divino club in Ibiza and Eden in Ibiza.


“We did these every year as part of the Manchester night 2Risque that was run by Jason Herd and Robo.” (Jason Herd was top 10 in the charts in 2005 as Herd & Fitz with I Just Can’t Get Enough.)

He recently played Anthems of House at Bowlers to a massive 7000 people and plans to return: “I was a little nervous at first but I soon got in the zone. I’ve been booked to play it again so I must have done a good job.

“My most recent gigs are in Manchester as I host a monthly classics night called Stu Allan Presents with artists such as Rozalla, Kklass, Sweet Female Attitude, and Jon Fitz from the ‘90s.”

So what advice would Adam give to youngsters who’re wishing to emulate the success of Adam Guy and other top drawer international DJs? “Young people who are starting out should teach themselves to DJ properly no matter how long it takes.

“Don’t use these programmes that do it for you. Also, invest in a start up music production kit such as Cubase, Ableton Live or Logic and just keep practicing and try to come up with different beats.”

Adam’s current Album, 100% Ibiza Anthems is available to download from iTunes.

Salford Red Devil’s Clean Up


Tuesday was going to be an interesting day. My editor at SalfordOnline.com asked me and Cat Heuston if we’d go and film a special community event that was taking place in the Weaste area of Salford. As I’m always keen to add to my skills and push myself with regards to my journalism career, I was more than happy to accept.
The event was being held at the Salford Red Devils’ former rugby ground The Willows, and was basically a clean up of the area.
SalfordRed Clean-up

The Salford Red Devils moved to their new ground in Barton in 2012 and the site that was left behind has become a dumping ground for local fly-tippers.

Sergeant Mike Parker, the local neighbourhood policing sergeant for Weaste and Seedley got together with the Salford Red Devils Foundation and Salford City Council’s neighbourhood manager for Claremont and Weaste Claire Fewell to clean up the area in a Pride in the Community event that not only brought some members of the community together, but also encouraged the younger children to take pride in the community in which they live.
It was also great to see the kids having a kick about with the Devils, compounding the message that it’s cool and fun to respect your area.

We had a lovely day with everyone who was involved with the event. And it was great to meet with the residents who have obvious pride in their area and who turned up with their kids to help with the clean up.
Everybody gathered tens of bags of rubbish and the bin men came to collect it all at the end of the day leaving the place looking much cleaner.

Although I didn’t envy my editor having to edit all that footage we shot, the end result is pretty good.

Hopefully we’ll be going back on Thursday to film a coaching session for local kids in the area by the Salford Red Devils. Watch this space.


World’s Shittest Waxworks


Every now and then we should give a nod to the shittest waxworks in the world.
From ‘I Can’t Get You Out of my Nightmares’ Kylie, to ‘It’s a Little Bit Funny Looking’ Elton John; a transsexual Neil Kinnock to a rather butch looking Jennifer Garner, the works of art below unintentionally bring joy to thousands around the world!


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Media Mogul’s Metioric Fall & Rise

Media Mogul’s Metioric Fall & Rise

With five number one singles on America’s Billboard charts, a plethora of bestselling books and not an hour in the day when he wasn’t on the radio somewhere in the world, Swinton-born Chris Brophy had it all.

But over the period of a few months he was homeless and destitute.

In his new book: You Can be a Radio and TV Presenter, Chris Brophy uses his extensive expertise to show how people can follow their dreams and be a successful, confident presenter.

Co-founder of Salford City Radio and a former presenter on Manchester dance station Kiss 102, Chris’s passion for presenting inspired him to start his company, Play Media Training Ltd, hosting workshops to teach people of all ages and backgrounds how to be take that next step to become a confident TV or radio host.

Chris spoke exclusively to me about his new book, his spectacular downfall, and his ultimate rise to the top again: “I wrote the book because I’ve worked in the media for over 20 years.

“There’s lesson plans from all of the many workshops I’ve done with Play Media Training Ltd plus some anecdotes about my experiences in the industry – like when I met the boys from JLS in a sexual health clinic in Eccles.”

For the record, the JLS boys were just promoting their own brand of condoms in Brook clinics across the country.

Chris had some inspirational stories from his life experience to add to the book: “There was a point in my life when things were going great, I had 2.2 million listeners worldwide, I’d had five number one singles on the Billboard Top 100 charts in America and I was a successful music consultant.”

But around the end of 2006, his life unravelled in a tragic turn of events when his and his girlfriend’s baby died in their arms after a premature birth: “I don’t really talk about this, but she was born seventeen weeks prematurely and passed away not long after in my arms.

“We were devastated.”

Yet more turmoil was to come: “Then I lost my job, I broke my ankle; so was immobile for months, and my grandmother died of cancer.”

Ultimately, Chris’s relationship with his partner couldn’t take the strain and collapsed under the pressure and he was made homeless; reduced to waiting in Salford Council’s offices for a flat to come up.

These overwhelming and shocking turn of events are enough to make a man crumble into self-pity and despair and Chris was faced with a life-changing decision: “I had a choice: either sit there crying and feeling sorry for myself, or start writing and building up a business and getting my life back.”

With sheer courage and determination, Chris started to build up his life: “Salford City Radio was something we came up with on the back of a beer mat in Wetherspoons pub in Eccles.

Salford City Radio Days

Salford City Radio Days

“And from there I started to build my confidence back up. I got back with my girlfriend, who’s now my wife, and I’ve not looked back since.”

He decided to tell this story so that others would be inspired by it: “I just want people to know that no matter how bad their life is, they can build it up again.”

And build it up he did. With his new book and successful, sell-out media training workshops, Chris is back up there again.

You Can be a Radio and TV Presenter by Chris Brophy is available as an e-book online here

Review: Scooby Doo the Musical, The Lowry. Rating: 5/5

Review: Scooby Doo the Musical, The Lowry. Rating: 5/5

Those pesky, meddlin’ Mystery Inc. kids arrived on stage in the iconic Mystery Machine to ecstatic approval at Salford’s Lowry Theatre. I’m not embarrassed whatsoever to admit to being as – if not more – excited than my 8 year old, Catherine.
I wasn’t alone, mind: there were tons of grown up couples without small people in tow. They came in their droves to watch the iconic, legendary American cartoon come to life in this spectacular fun-filled show.

scoob tweet

The gang have been called to the ancient Pyramids of Egypt by Velma’s Egyptologist friend Otto (Douglas Walker) to solve the mystery of some lost treasure. And we all know what’s in Egypt, right? Mummies! Lots of ‘em.

The Gang

The Gang

The gang embark on a spooky adventure which, naturally, involves lots of hilarious slap-stick Scooby and Shaggy moments. The mention of ghosts or mummies results in either one in the others’ arms, clinging on for dear life, or hilarious leg wobbling.
A brilliant moment came when the mummies were behind our two comedy heroes and the crowd gave a deafening: “They’re behind you!” Only for Scooby and shaggy to walk in a circle to look, but obviously the mummies just stayed right behind them, resulting in them all foolishly walking in circles.
My absolute favourite part was the classic baddies-chasing-the-gang scene. It’s where, in the cartoon, a song plays and it cuts to different scenes of the gang being chased/chasing/tripping up etc. The cast played it out brilliantly. The cool, loud pumping music really added authenticity.

Twitter was awash with positive feedback:

Even Corrie’s Tina O’Brien got in on the action:

I guess with something as dear to people as Scooby Doo, one has to tread very carefully when recreating such an institution. After all, it’s not really the kids they need to impress; it’s us mums, dads, grandmas and granddads that grew up watching it, fixated at who the baddie was going to be at the end.
Lest we forget; Scooby Doo is not only a comedy classic, it has everything to offer, from spooky monsters, cool songs, and terrifying twists. This show had absolutely everything the originals did and more!
Catherine even got a high five from Shaggy when the gang came into the audience for a bit of parent picking on.
Funky street dancing and acrobats, brilliant – and I mean brilliant – songs, hilarious Scooby and Shaggy camaraderie, Velma’s know-it-all brilliance, Freddy and Daphne’s chemistry, and side-splitting routines make this a show not to miss this Easter.
It was just so much fun.
One thing I will say, though: the show’s based very much on the more modern Scooby Doo series and not the one from the ‘80s, ‘90s or even the ‘00s. So Freddy’s character is a little more diluted, which is a shame because the bossy, leader-of-the-gang Freddy was rather charming.

Reform Radio Will Change Lives in Manchester & Salford

Reform Radio Will Change Lives in Manchester & Salford

This week I was lucky enough to be invited down to the Reform Radio Manchester studios in Chorlton.

The station launches on 1st May 2014 and I’ll be getting involved with a whole host of different projects; from delivering news bulletins to holding workshops throughout Greater Manchester.
Reform Radio Manchester focuses on giving 18 – 30 year olds in the Greater Manchester area opportunities to get involved in new and exciting projects. This is something I am really interested in as Manchester and Salford have so many talented and innovative young people that, for whatever reason, have either lost their way or feel they will never get the opportunity to follow their dreams.

We’re so lucky to live in such a huge, enterprising city that we all need to take advantage of the opportunities these wonderful cities offer.

Manchester and Salford are rising from the ashes of the recession of the last six years and the future’s looking positive.



Salford’s Lowry and MediaCityUK bring a massive influx of money and industry, with plenty of prospects for those who are willing to learn and make daring, courageous decisions. Not forgetting the openings for young people who want to get involved with politics, journalism, public relations and much more.

As well as music, gigs and all the latest news, Reform Radio Manchester will keep everyone up-to-date on all the latest job or training opportunities in the area and money saving tips and advice. But most of all they’re all about giving young people the opportunity to realise their dreams.

We can achieve anything when we put our mind to it, so let’s hear it for Reform Radio Manchester.

Trials and Tribulations of TV news


OK, so Kate Adie and Clare Sambrook won’t exactly be quaking in their boots. But I’ve had so much fun with this TV News assignment.
At the beginning of the semester I detested TV news, but I’ve actually enjoyed it so much that I think I might even choose it as one of my options.

It all started when I saw a news story in the M.E.N. about a ghost in the cellar of a pub in Bolton. A friend with whom I used to work – who is now a professional ghost hunter – forwarded the link to me on Twitter.
It gave me the idea of taking my ghost hunting friend – Ben Cott – to Salford’s famous Ordsall Hall and see if we could find any paranormal activity.

The lovely people from Ordsall Hall were great and gave us the run of the place for as long as we needed. I was also lucky enough to have a lovely guide called Cynthia to run through the history of the building and the ghosts that are supposed to haunt it.

We did get some supernatural readings, but as I only had a time of one minute thirty seconds for my package, I couldn’t really fit all of the information in. Hence it kind of just finishes.
Although I’m pretty disappointed in that aspect of the project, I’m still pretty proud.
But you can’t produce a spooky video without spooky music, right?

I was searching online for copyright free music when I thought ‘Hang on, why don’t I just play it?’ So I played around with my daughter, Catherine’s keyboard until I had a decent spooky tune. I recorded it onto a Marantz and added it to the piece via Avid Newscutter.

As I say, Kay Burley won’t be biting her nails to the quick, and Yvette Fielding won’t be panicking on the phone to her agent, but as a fun project, I learned a great deal and had so much fun producing it.
If you’re going to comment, don’t be too mean please. I know it’s not Sky News, but it’s mine and it’s cute.

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, Salford’s Lowry Theatre

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, Salford’s Lowry Theatre

Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap is the longest running show in the history of British theatre. Quite an accomplishment considering this classic whodunit is pretty lukewarm and somewhat dated. I’m obviously of the minority, though; as The Lowry was jam packed with eager Christie fans and the atmosphere was alive with anticipation, and the show’s run of over 25,000 sold out performances pretty much speaks for itself.
A diamond anniversary tour – the first ever tour of the show outside London – the show boasts an impressive cast of capable and accomplished actors. The set was impressive: the living area of the classic old-school country manor with doors leading off into the different rooms – the drawing room, the study, the kitchen, etc; and the typical not-so-subtle comedy made this performance a bit of an all rounder with something for everyone, if you like.

The overall impression on Twitter was pretty positive.


One by one, each character harvests suspicion as their sordid pasts are brought in to question until the murderer’s identity and motive are finally revealed in a nail-biting finale.
The production and performance were exceptional. I loved Anne Kavanagh as the moaning and nit-picking Mrs Boyle and Michael Fenner as Mr Paravicini was charm and magnetism personified.
Other stand-out performances came from Ryan Saunders and Ellie Jacob but, to be fair, the actors were all top drawer performers and certainly didn’t disappoint; though they were well within their comfort zone taking on this classic thriller.


The problem for me was not the production itself but the dated narrative. Obviously the most obscure character is going to be the one unveiled as the murderer at the end. There are twists and turns, but nothing that more modern, gritty writers don’t provide with abundance.
I know that the dated concept is classic and is the reason this show is so popular. As I mentioned earlier, it offers something for everyone (except young kids, obviously), and is massively sold out; but I did have to stifle the odd yawn, and I was clock watching through most of the second half. Sorry.

Photographs: © St Martin’s Theatre Company