Richard Houghton contacted more than 100 newspapers seeking help for his book about the fans of the Rolling Stones. For example, he wrote to the Banbury Guardian, seeking readers who’d attended a 1963 concert at the Winter Gardens. He wrote that he’d “love to hear what people wore, what they had for tea, whether they’d missed the bus”. He reminded the readers that the support act at that ‘dance’ was Banbury band The Astranaughts. Tickets for the August 16, 1963 concert were 7/6, which is 37.5p.
“I wrote to every local newspaper in the towns and cities where the Rolling Stones played between 1962 and 1966 (apart from the small club gigs they played in the early days and where it would be difficult to track down the relatively handfuls of people who saw them then, although one or two have come forward).
“I asked the newspapers to print my letter appealing for people to get in touch and my reasoning behind that was that a lot of older people still rely upon the printed media to get their information and would probably be avid readers of their daily or weekly local newspaper.
“Many newspapers have printed my letter, and over a dozen have been in touch asking for more information because they’ve wanted to do a feature about my book, but several haven’t. I’ve had to resort to Twitter to try and get the attention of the editor of the newspaper or whoever it is who actually decides whether the letter gets printed or not.” Although a couple of English papers close to home still hadn’t got back to him.
Mr Houghton said there hadn’t been a Rolling Stones book that had covered the life of the fans in post-WW2-austerity Britain, and the rest of the places the Stones toured. And he has read hundreds of books on The Rolling Stones.
Stories have appeared about him in newspapers in England, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. If anyone has any details they can remember about attending Stones concerts from 1962-66 he can be contacted at email@example.com or 32 Manor Avenue, Preston PR2 8DN.
READERSVOICE.COM: Where do you live and what’s your daily routine?
RICHARD HOUGHTON: I live in Preston, in Lancashire. It’s about 12 miles west of Blackburn, which the Beatles made famous when they sang about ’4,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire’ in A Day In The Life.
I’m not a full time writer. I’m a director with a large housing association in the North West of England and so my day job takes up four days a week. Working on this book has been taking up most of my waking hours for the past two months – there’s always correspondence to open, emails to reply to, interviews to conduct with fans who’d rather talk to me than write or email and lots and lots of material to edit. It’s a labour of love, though, and I’m enjoying every minute.
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- copyright Simon Sandall