Michael Halpin Journalism


News: Rolling Stones Set To Release ‘The Marquee – Live in 1971’ DVD


As part of the Rolling Stones From The Vaults series, the band are to release The Marquee – Live in 1971 on both DVD and iTunes this June to coincide with the re-release of Sticky Fingers during the same month.

The intimate London gig took place on 26th March 1971 and was filmed for US television, shortly after The Stones had completed their ‘Goodbye Britain Tour’ in preparation for their much publicised exile to the south of France.

The short Marquee set comprised of ‘Live With Me’, ‘Dead Flowers’, ‘I Got The Blues’, ‘Let It Rock’, ‘Midnight Rambler’, ‘Satisfaction’, ‘Bitch’ and ‘Brown Sugar’.

A well as the restored concert footage, the DVD extras include alternate takes of ‘I Got The Blues’ and ‘Bitch’ as well as the bands ‘Brown Sugar’ performance for Top Of The Pops in 1971.

From The Vaults: The Marquee – Live In 1971 is released by Eagle Rock Entertainment on 22nd June.


News: Rolling Stones To Re-issue Classic Sticky Fingers Album


The Rolling Stones are set to re-release their classic 1971 album Sticky Fingers in June of this year. The re-release will boast the re-mastered original album along with a treasure trove of extras including previously unreleased live tracks, alternate takes and a bonus DVD showcasing two tracks (‘Midnight Rambler’ and ‘Bitch’) from the Stones intimate gig at London’s Marquee club in March 1971.

Containing such classics as ‘Brown Sugar’, ‘Wild Horses’, ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking’ and ‘Sister Morphine’, the re-released Sticky Fingers is available as a single album as well as Deluxe and Super Deluxe Editions for Stones completists. All are available on CD and heavyweight vinyl as well as being available for digital download.

Highlights of the Deluxe Edition include an alternate version of ‘Brown Sugar’ featuring Eric Clapton plus alternate versions of ‘Wild Horses’, ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking’, ‘Bitch’ and ‘Dead Flowers’. Live tracks from the Stones at The Roundhouse in the spring of 1971 are also featured.

The Super Deluxe Edition Box Set, includes all of the above mentioned plus a new live album entitled Get Yer Leeds Lungs Out which features the Rolling Stones live set from Leeds University in 1971.

A 7” vinyl featuring ‘Brown Sugar’ and ‘Wild Horses’ is also included in the Super Deluxe Edition Box Set.

The Super Deluxe Edition is housed in a presentation box with hardback book complete with real zip on the much celebrated Levis Jeans front cover. The hardback limited edition book recounts the making of Sticky Fingers as well as an extensive essay written by legendary journalist Nick Kent.

A Limited Edition Deluxe Double LP set complete with alternative Spanish cover is also available.

Originally released in April 1971, Sticky Fingers was the first album featured on the Rolling Stones own ‘Rolling Stones Records’ label.

The number one, multi-platinum selling album spent five weeks at the top of the chart and received across the board critical acclaim upon its release.

Produced by Jimmy Miller, Sticky Fingers was recorded over a number of sessions in several different studios between December 1969 and January 1971 including the now famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama.

As well as Andy Warhol designing the famous Levis Jeans cover, the album also boasted a number of impressive guests including Ry Cooder, Billy Preston, Bobby Keys, Nicky Hopkins and Jack Nitzsche along with the writing assistance of Marianne Faithfull.

The Sticky Fingers re-release is available on 8th June.


Kaleidoscope Magazine: News Feature – The Who 50th Anniversary Vinyl Releases

The Who Kaleidoscope


Please right click on the link above to view my Kaleidoscope Magazine news article and interviews for The Who's 50th Anniversary Vinyl Releases.


The Who’s back catalogue gets the heavyweight vinyl treatment and instigates a plethora of reissues for the band over the coming months.  MICHAEL HALPIN speaks to those who made it happen.

Kaleidoscope was excited to meet up and discuss some of the highlights of The Who's remasters with both Andy Macpherson and Jon Astley, the men who have laboured over The Who's various remastering and remixing projects for over 20 years.  Macpherson excitedly tells how he spent the summer of 2014 re-mixing Live at Leeds.  Similarly, Jon Astley spent "all of 2014" remastering the bands 11 Studio albums in preparation for The Who’s 50th anniversary celebrations.  Each album has been pressed in the 180gm heavyweight vinyl format, giving every connoisseur of The Who the best possible vinyl listening experience for 2015.

Along with the albums a 7" singles box-set of The Who’s Brunswick 45s has just been released.  This is the first volume of a four-part set of their British singles by labels (Brunswick, Reaction, Track and Polydor).  Plus any day now, for Record Store Day 2015, a unique pressing on blue vinyl of their newest recording ‘Be Lucky’ is available backed with a newly remastered version of the song where it all began - ‘I Can’t Explain’.  This latter master utilises Shel Talmy’s original tapes for the first time since the original pressing and Macpherson still marvels at the recording today.  “I always thought that was one of the best drum tracks I ever heard. People talk about Keith Moon being a shambolic genius, but if you listen to that drum track, it’s about as accurate as you get. A Wonderful piece of drumming.”

Working on The Who’s remixes and remasters over the years has become Astley and Macpherson’s forte, and A Quick One along with The Who Sell Out have both seen their fair share of running repairs.  Astley goes into some detail with the story.  “The funny thing about A Quick One is if you listen to the (original) vinyl it comes down about 12 decibels from the first track on side one (‘Run Run Run) to the last track on side one (‘Cobwebs and Strange). They wanted to master it loud but they couldn’t fit it all on at that volume. So gradually, the whole side gets quieter. You don’t have to do that with digital (processing).”

Macpherson is equally as amazed by some of the imperfections on the original artefacts. “There’s some great things on the remixes of The Who Sell Out.  The original album is out of key, so it’s flat. The remix puts it back to the speed it should be, making it brighter and more punchy, although some fans would prefer the lazier feel of the original - and that’s fine too.”  Regaling Kaleidoscope with more tidbits, he reveals how the recording of  ‘I Can See For Miles contains "the best overdubbing of all time!  Moon doing the rolling snare and Pete Townshend with the diddle-diddle-diddle electric. The band do the vocals live…and the vocal harmony arrangement in that track is outrageous!”

Admitting that both Tommy and Quadrophenia were "extremely hard to remix," Macpherson now describes working on the latter as being like doing a "degree in mixing."  However the enthusiastic narrative which both men share when discussing The Who’s unrivalled '60s and '70s material suggests that fans are in for huge sonic treats over the coming weeks.

All 11 of The Who’s studio albums, plus their recent retrospective The Who Hits 50! are available on 180gm heavyweight vinyl now as is The Brunswick Singles Box 1965-1966.  On April 18th a blue vinyl 7" of ‘Be Lucky’ is released as part of Record Store Day.









Shindig Magazine: Happening Right Now – Blossoms


 Psych-pop riffs, intriguing vocal melodies and an absorbing film noir aesthetic have all combined to result in Blossoms being championed by the likes of The Charlatans, XFM and BBC 6 Music in recent months, as well as gaining favourable nods from BBC Radio 1. Something of an achievement for a band who told Shindig recently, “we want to be heard by everyone... at school discos, office parties, the radio … everywhere.”

Blossoms have emerged fully formed from North West England’s rich musical landscape (in their case Stockport) and right now they appear to be strong contenders for unbridled success in 2015.

They describe their sound as “ethereal nostalgic sonance” and Lead Singer Tom Ogden possesses a chilling Richard Ashcroft style baritone which also contains elements of Nick Cave’s glorious vocal rasp - the notes at the lower end of Ogden’s vocal register giving Blossoms something of a timeless quality.

To add further fuel to their fire, Tom Ogden also holds the precious gift of a classic wide-eyed-front-man glare, hinting that Blossoms have a lot to explore beneath their initial surface.

Sprinklings of The Doors, The Mysterians and early Deep Purple are all evident in Blossoms musical arsenal, as well as hints of both Wire and Echo and The Bunnymen coming to the fore within their perfectly stirred psych-pop melting pot. It is also no mean feat that already one can enthusiastically ponder what direction their future musical creations may take.

Their debut single ‘Blow’, produced by The Coral’s James Skelly, has been picked up on the antenna of many a receptive ear, namely BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamaq, who broadcast the band playing live in session from Maida Vale studios last September. The release of the bands follow-up single ‘Cut Me And I’ll Bleed’, again produced by James Skelly, is likely to increase their listenership further when it is unleashed on the public in March.

Blossoms recent work with Skelly came to fruition after he heard ‘You Pulled A Gun On Me’, one of the bands earliest compositions. Blossoms Bassist Charlie Salt picks up the story:

“He heard ‘You Pulled A Gun On Me’, loved it and was like, ‘You’s are f***ing boss. Come and jam with me.”

“When the man who’s written some of the greatest guitar tunes in the last 10 years invites you to go to his house for tea you pinch yourself. It's an absolute pleasure to have the prominent writer of Butterfly House working with us, not to mention the back catalogue of The Coral and the respect he's gained.”

Resplendent in Beatnik style black polo-necks with Scott Walker style monastery keys hung around their necks, it remains to be seen whether on not Blossoms intend to study Gregorian chanting as was once Scott Walker wish but Charlie insists that their appearance is actually a reaction to “Jacamo, Freddie Flintoff and Banter.”

“We wear black on the outside but black isn’t how we feel on the inside… Anyone who buys whatever Flintoff's donning and uses the word ‘banter’ doesn't really hold a place or portfolio for criticism do they?” Charlie concludes.

Indeed they don’t Charlie…indeed they don’t.

Blossoms will tour the UK throughout February and into March.
‘Cut Me And I’ll Bleed’ is released on March 2nd through Skeleton Key Records.


Piccadilly Pulse: Can Mancunians beat George Osborne at multiplying 7×8 after his TV maths gaffe?


George Osborne dodged a simple maths question earlier today while being interviewed by a panel of school children on Sky News.

Seven-year-old Samuel Raddings, from Manchester, who contributes to a children’s newspaper called First News, asked Mr Osborne whether he ‘was good at maths?’ before directly following up his question with another teaser when he said: "What's seven times eight?"

The Chancellor of the Exchequer answered the first question perfectly well and said: “I did maths A-level so I have been tested at school."

However, the answer to the latter proved a little more challenging and Mr Osborne, who some may claim has got his sums wrong in the past, said:  "I've made it a rule in life not to answer a load of maths questions."

Mr Osborne’s guarded response begs the question: did the man in charge of Britain’s purse strings actually know the answer?  Or had seven-year-old Samuel really managed to stump him?

Just in case, you are overthinking the question, the answer is 56.

Here at MM we took to the streets of Piccadilly to ask the public the same question:

What is seven multiplied by eight?

Correct Incorrect
70% 30%


Not bad Manchester.

In fact, the majority of those who answered correctly managed to do so in less than three seconds.

It seems that all of those primary school days spent endlessly reeling off times-tables have been useful ones after all.

In fact, those who answered quickest were the eldest people we approached.  Stockport-based Sonia Cliff, 70 and Julie Talbot, 60, from Wythenshawe, both answering in less than two seconds.

Slightly worryingly, however, one accountant who was approached gallantly answered ‘64!’ before realising she was wrong and turning as red as the seats at Old Trafford.

Mike Price, a 45-year-old souvenir shop employee from Ancoats, thankfully answered correctly after a 16 second-countdown before commenting: “I should know this – I was playing darts all day yesterday!”

Meanwhile, 26-year-old David from Salford simply replied: “Do I fuck!” when asked if he knew the answer.

Is it important for the Chancellor to know his times-tables though?

“Well it doesn’t fill you with much confidence if he doesn’t, does it?” said 37-year-old consultant Chris Jones.

Kyle Kuzon, a 17-year-old college student, simply shook his head in disbelief when we informed him of Mr Osborne’s embarrassing situation.

Designer Kelly, 37, took a more balanced view asking: “Does he really need to know?  Surely he can use a calculator if he really needs to!”



Manchester Argos staff join national 24-hour strike in protest over shift patterns that ‘ruin work/life balance’


Manchester Argos warehouse staff are joining a national 24-hour strike tomorrow in a dispute over shift patterns that they claim will ruin their ‘work/life’ balance.

Approximately 1,000 warehouse staff employed by Argos are set to walk out across the country tomorrow at around 6.30am in a national strike.

Members of the country’s largest union, Unite, are threatening disruption to deliveries from five Argos warehouses across the UK including Greater Manchester’s Heywood warehouse.

Unite national officer Matt Draper said: "The crux to the dispute is Argos' determination to push through a new 24/7 shift pattern, without offering our members a decent compensation package to offset the severe disruption to their personal and family lives at weekends.

"In many cases, it is going to cause havoc with childcare arrangements and mean spouses and partners will see much less of each other.  The company's plans will seriously undermine the 'work/life' balance."

Mr Draper explained how some members already work weekends, as already agreed with Unite. However they fear the new proposals will impact a lot more on their family life.

“The management has offered a one-off payment of £2,400, which, quite frankly, is woefully inadequate given the massive changes in shift patterns that are being proposed,” said Mr Draper.

“The proposals also include a new measuring system for their work which, we believe, could be used as a tool to dismiss workers.”

However Argos have defended the proposals, claiming that the changes represent the best way forward for both them and their staff as part of a company-wide ‘transformation plan’.

Speaking to MM, Argos Assistant PR Manager Lou Hedges said that the company are engaging with the distribution employees’ over the terms and conditions proposed changes.

Ms Hedges told MM: “We believe the proposed changes represent the best outcome for the security of our colleagues and Argos alike.

“As such, we are now asking colleagues to accept the changes to their contract in order to help us realise our transformation plan.

“99.8 per cent of our Distribution colleagues have already accepted the changes to their contract and we are working hard to understand and address any outstanding queries or issues.

“We have been advised of the strike and have contingency plans in place to ensure a normal service for our customers.”

Unite have urged Argos to return to the negotiating table and relax the new criteria in the hope that an agreement can be reached.

Argos workers have previously staged a 24-hour strike on June 15 against these plans.


‘Our finest moment’: Inspiral Carpets join forces with poet and punk muse John Cooper Clarke for upcoming album


Inspiral Carpets have collaborated with legendary Salford performance poet and punk muse John Cooper-Clarke on their latest album.

In recent months the band have been busy recording and mixing their first studio album in 20 years, Inspiral Carpets, with original vocalist Stephen Holt.

The collaboration with Cooper-Clarke on the track Let You Down was described by keyboard player Clint Boon as ‘one of the band’s finest moments’.

The track is an intense slab of garage-psychedelia which draws inspiration from both The Doors and Van Morrison’s Them.

With a long instrumental passage in the middle of the track and sparse lyrics, the band began discussing adding a guest to the track with John Cooper-Clarke being dubbed as ‘their only choice’.

The band felt that the heavy Northern imagery of the track instantly lent itself to John Cooper-Clarke’s style.

Clint said: "He immediately accepted the band's invitation and recorded his vocal in one take using lyrics he'd written especially.

"We felt privileged to be joined by John on the record."

Following Cooper-Clarke’s recent collaboration with The Arctic Monkeys and his appearance on Have I Got News For You, the ‘Bard of Salford’ has found himself gaining his greatest bout of recognition since his 37-year career began.

The new album is scheduled for release on Cherry Red Records in late September 2014.

You can watch the band at the following summer festivals:

Friday June 18: Azzano X Pordenone Festival, Italy

Friday July 11: Bedford Corn Exchange

Saturday July 12: Frome Festival

Sunday July 13: T in the Park, Radio 1 Stage

Friday July 25: Palmfest, Reus, Spain

Thursday September 25: Circolo Degli Rome Club, Italy


Ready to rumble: Bolton’s Amir Khan announces Reebok Stadium gala dinner for his Foundation launch


Bolton boxer Amir Khan will jab his recently-formed foundation into life at a Reebok Stadium gala dinner on Saturday June 14.

The Amir Khan Foundation, which has recently teamed up with Human Appeal, aims to provide support to disadvantaged young people both in the UK and worldwide.

The foundation's first task is building a children’s orphanage in the deprived area of Kashmir in Pakistan.

Khan told a packed press conference: "The Amir Khan Foundation will allow me to give back to the community, help youngsters and kids from poverty stricken backgrounds and help kids who are disadvantaged both from the UK and abroad.”

Khan, who became a father for the first time last week, also believes that the foundation will enable him to be even more hands-on with his charity work.

The foundation also aims to assist communities and charities in need of support, be it a local football club needing a new kit or a community abroad hit by a natural disaster or crisis.

This black-tie gala dinner will be held at the Reebok Stadium, which is to be renamed the Macron Stadium in July, and will feature entertainment including motivational speeches from those at the heart of the foundation.

All funds raised at the gala dinner will go directly to the foundation’s work.

Individual tickets start from £50 with tables ranging from £500 to £1,000. There are also a number of sponsorship packages available.

To purchase tickets, tables or to enquire about sponsorship packages contact Riz Malik on 07968 110095 or email him here.

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Let me entertain you: Manchester United great Teddy Sheringham appointed West Ham attacking coach


Former Manchester United and England striker Teddy Sheringham has jumped at the chance to link up with former Millwall teammate Sam Allardyce at Premier League outfit West Ham United.

Sheringham, a key member of United’s 1999 treble-winning side, has teamed up with Allardyce on a part-time basis as the club’s new attacking coach.

The Hammers are under orders to produce more ‘entertainment’ in the new season and Sheringham said the opportunity immediately grabbed his attention.

"Sam phoned me a week or so ago and asked me if I fancied it. It was far too good to resist really,” said the 48-year-old, who played alongside Allardyce in the early 80s at the south London club.

Let me entertain you: Manchester United great Teddy Sheringham appointed West Ham attacking coach

| By Michael Halpin

Former Manchester United and England striker Teddy Sheringham has jumped at the chance to link up with former Millwall teammate Sam Allardyce at Premier League outfit West Ham United.

Sheringham, a key member of United’s 1999 treble-winning side, has teamed up with Allardyce on a part-time basis as the club’s new attacking coach.

The Hammers are under orders to produce more ‘entertainment’ in the new season and Sheringham said the opportunity immediately grabbed his attention.

"Sam phoned me a week or so ago and asked me if I fancied it. It was far too good to resist really,” said the 48-year-old, who played alongside Allardyce in the early 80s at the south London club.

"Being a West Ham boy and coming from the area, it fits nicely in all that I'm about, what with working alongside Sam and knowing a few of the players as well.

"I know the environment, I know everything about West Ham, so it was just too good an opportunity to turn down."

Sheringham, who scored 147 Premier League goals during his career, retired in 2008 after 24 years that included playing for Nottingham Forest, Tottenham, Portsmouth and Colchester United as well as West Ham, United and Millwall.

Sheringham will be tasked with adding potency to West Ham’s forward line following disappointing displays last season that produced just 40 Premier League goals, the division’s joint-fifth worst attack.

The frustration of West Ham’s supporters grew with the team's route-one style gaining regular jeers from fans who are traditionally used to seeing their team play attractive free-flowing football.

Their disapproval came to a head in March when they booed after West Ham’s 2-1 victory over Hull, to which Allardyce cupped his ears in disbelief.

West Ham’s board have assured that Allardyce’s position is confirmed but the club have outlined a number of improvements that need to be made, including a more entertaining brand of football, the recruitment of an attacking coach and more influence from the owners in transfers.

Argentinian striker Mauro Zarate became the club's first signing of the summer on Wednesday.


Unfinished business: The return of Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff for Lancashire has cricket abuzz


Cricket legend Andrew Flintoff has stepped out of retirement to re-join Lancashire for this season’s Twenty20 Blast.

The former England and Lancashire all-rounder returns after a four-year absence from the game to play for Glen Chapple’s Lancashire Lightning squad.

Preston-born Flintoff made his debut for Lancashire in 1995 and went on to perform for England in 79 tests, 141 one-day internationals and seven Twenty20 games.

"I feel young; I behave like I'm young, it’s the easiest decision I've made in my career,” Flintoff told BBC Radio 5 live Sport.

“Lancs think I can do it; I think I can do it. I can't guarantee performance but I'm going to have a go at this. I've got to prove myself.

"I don't want it to be one year. You see Brad Hogg playing in the Big Bash, Brad Hodge is playing for Australia at 39, Glen Chapple's 40 and still charging in in four-dayers."

Flintoff, known affectionately throughout the country as ‘Freddie’,  was a leading light for England’s Ashes triumphs in both 2005 and 2009 but a series of injuries forced his retirement in 2010.

Following the decision, Flintoff has rarely been out of the public eye and in 2012 he made his boxing debut, also undertaking much media work.

In 2010 Flintoff began appearing in Sky TV’s A League Of Their Own and in 2011 he briefly became a commentator on the PDC World Darts Championship.

In 2012 he returned to commentary during the World Matchplay and is also a presenter on BBC Radio Five Live.

Flintoff had hoped to play alongside India‘s Sachin Tendulkar for Marylebone Cricket Club in an invitational match against a World XI in July, but disappointingly for Flintoff former West Indies great Brian Lara became the preferred choice.

Flintoff said that being second choice to Lara was his inspiration to come out of retirement.

"I thought, ’They're all 10 years older than me and they've not played for years.  It was getting knocked back and wanting to play, practising and realising 'I can still do this',” he said.

“There was unfinished business when I retired.  I'd sooner try and have it not come off than sit at home for the rest of my days thinking, 'I should have tried this, I should have had a go.' I don't live like that."

Lancashire play Birmingham Bears in the NatWest T20 Blast at Emirates Old Trafford this Friday (6.30pm) though Flintoff is expected to kick off his season in the home match against Yorkshire next Friday.