John Sharrock Taylor

John Sharrock Taylor

Writer, Genealogist & Patient Choir Basher

NEW BOOK

Six Steps from Wigan Pier
and a bag of Uncle Joe's Mint Balls


JMD Media/DB Publishing
www.jmdmedia.co.uk

Click on 'Barman's Bottom Knocker' (left) for an extract from the book.

What does Gandalf have in common with George Formby, Oliver Cromwell and a girl who sang for Hitler with military secrets hidden in her knickers? The answer is Wigan. When my son Richard mentioned the theory that each one of us is no more than six ‘steps’ from any other person on the face of the planet I realised that I’d stumbled upon a wonderful framework for one of my favourite activities: telling tales.

Wigan is a rich source of pies, tripe, cowheels, coal, cotton, culture and, above all, stories. Some of the tales in this book connect with me or my family. All of them connect in some way with Wigan, and while a few start and finish within a cock-stride of the Pier, others will take us as far afield as Gallipoli, the Deep South of the USA and the humid jungles of Central America in two bloody civil wars.


What would a Wigan book be without the Latics and the Warriors? But who now recalls that Puccini’s greatest Turandot is buried just outside the town?

       Some secrets are revealed here for the very first time, as in the American Dream of Uncle Alf, Wigan collier and Henry Ford’s right-hand man in Europe, who lost his chance of a knighthood when a deserted wife exacted a tragic revenge on Blackpool sands. 



You may already have met Dicky Nutt, Paddy Gore, Pop Skirrow, Old Merryballs, Madame Teapot, Bloody Wogdin, Hoppy the Coroner and the Mad Clapper, if not, you are in for a rare treat as you embark on your own Six Steps from Wigan Pier.


SIX STEPS FROM WIGAN PIER


And a bag of Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls



CHAPTER 1: I WAS A BARMAN’S BOTTOM KNOCKER

Featuring the Exploding Bus Driver


MINT BALL: DANDLING GANDALF

Sir Ian as icon and babby


CHAPTER 2: UP FOR TH’ CUP

Death to Sentellins


MINT BALL: CHRISTMAS IN DELHI

Dickens, monkeys, carols and fake snow 


CHAPTER 3: THE LAND OF THE JEWEL

The hotel at the end of the Universe


MINT BALL: A LOAD OF MUCK AND AN ACTOR

A matter of the billing


CHAPTER 4: BLOODY WOGDIN

Adventures on (and in) the canal


MINT BALL: CHRISTMAS EVE IN WIGAN

Erotic desperation in the snow


CHAPTER 5: THE LANCASHIRE CARUSO

Pied Bull to Covent Garden and back again


MINT BALL: SAVING CORPORAL COCKRELL

Great Uncle Jack survives the Somme


CHAPTER 6: MERRYBALLS

Like Colemanballs or those coloured dittos you hang on the Christmas Tree


MINT BALL: IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE NERD

Making the geeks grovel


CHAPTER 7: THE MAN WHO KILLED A KING

My relative the regicide


MINT BALL: LAUGHING ROUNDHEAD

Wrong but romantic or right but repulsive?


CHAPTER 8: UNCLE ALF & THE AMERICAN DREAM

A Wigan miner becomes Henry Ford's right-hand man in Europe


MINT BALL: THAT WAS JENNIFER MOSS

Bittersweet memories of a lovely lass


CHAPTER 9: MME TEAPOT TAKES DRASTIC MEASURES

Introducing La Belle France to the chip butty


MINT BALL: LES SOUCIS DE QUASIMODO

How not to ring a bell


CHAPTER 10: WINNIE AND WILSON

The romance that never was


MINT BALL: BLETCHLEY GIRLS

Wrestling with enigmas


CHAPTER 11: THE PEDANT AND THE PIRATE

Wigan's Rumpole of the Bailey


MINT BALL: THE SPY WHO WENT OUT INTO THE COLD

A Wigan lass sings for Hitler


CHAPTER 12: EVA THE DIVA

The Definitive Turandot


MINT BALL: WHO DO I KNOW YOU’RE NOT?

No ermine for Uncle George 


CHAPTER 13: POP SKIRROW BATTERS BONAPARTE

Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Wigan


MINT BALL: CHRISTMAS DAY IN HOSPITAL

Making the baubles fly


CHAPTER 14: LUVVIES, FLOOZIES & FLIVVERS

Mechanical affairs of head and heart


MINT BALL: GETTING IT RIGHT

Wigan's super bordello


CHAPTER 15: MINING BUTTY

Emmanuel comes to Wigan


MINT BALL: KEEPIN’ THI CHEERS A-WHOM

Talkin' proper in Orrell and Billinge


CHAPTER 16: UNDIVIDED BY A COMMON LANGUAGE

Dan Quayle and that P-O-T-A-T-O-E


MINT BALL: EDEN WAS IN APPLEY BRIDGE

The shocking truth about Moses


CHAPTER 17: TURNED OUT NICE AGAIN

Let's hear it for  Battling Beryl


MINT BALL: NEW YEAR WITH MACHINE GUN & TANK

Explosions in El Salvador












Sincere thanks to Uncle Joe and the Directors of William Santus Ltd for allowing me to use their iconic logo and for keeping us aglow since Adam was a lad.