The Rake


special thanks to Chelsea Barracks

If you had been driving the 30-minute stretch from the Cheshire town of Frodsham to Connah’s Quay Labour Club on a Saturday night in 1987, you would almost certainly have chanced upon a blond-haired boy banging out songs in the passenger seat of his father’s car. Tuning up for another night in a room fog-thick with cigarette smoke in front of an almost exclusively male working-class audience, the young boy was nevertheless unperturbed by the reaction (or lack thereof) his performance would provoke. It certainly wasn’t the £18 a night he was turning up for, although that was more than enough to keep him in hair gel and magazines for another month (he’d use one to read about his idols Depeche Mode and the other to mimic the hairstyles). Connah’s Quay Labour Club was just one of many such venues the teenager would visit to test out new material and work on his act. While his friends were out on the town, this ebullient, self-assured boy was in his bedroom, headphones

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