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ALL PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED PICTURES OF LIMAHL!
Mmmm! Crunch that carrot!
No, Limahl didn't cook a meal for me. As far as I can recall we
did this photo shoot in the record company's kitchen.
Ah, that mean and moody look! The man can really turn it on when
he puts his mind to it...
"Hurry up and take that ****ing picture!" - I don't think
that's what he said but I suspect it was what he was thinking.
Oh Gosh! Now's he's throwing a tantrum! Looks like he's accidentally
chopped his favourite carrot...
Limahl's Home Town
I was born and brought up in Wigan, which is basically a very working-class,
industrial Lancashire town.
My father was a miner for over twenty years and, when I was little,
my family was very poor. We lived in a very ordinary council-owned
house in a very ordinary street. There was me, my mum and dad, my
grandmother, my two elder brothers and my younger sister.
I went to St. John's junior school, which was just down the road
from our house. I hated school because I wasn't very clever and
I'd find it frustrating trying to learn things. I just wasn't interested.
I knew that I wanted to be a singer, so I wasn't interested in anything
apart from music. I told some of my close friends about my ambitions,
but they just laughed. When you're at school in Wigan, the bright
lights of London and stardom seem impossibly far away.
Wigan, like other small towns, can feel very claustrophobic. That's
especially true if you never go to other places, if you work in
Wigan and socialise there as well. The only singing I ever did during
my schooldays was with the church choir - and even then, I was never
given any solo parts!
While I was growing up, my relationship with my parents went though
a very bad time. I fought terribly with my father until eventually
I couldn't stand it any more. He was a very difficult father and
he didn't really understand the way I thought. But I was adamant
about what I wanted to do. I didn't want to go to work in some factory
or in the mines. More than anything, I wanted to get away from home.
Even after I'd left school, my father Insisted that I get back home
no later than 10.30 in the evening. It drove me nuts. I wanted a
bit of freedom.
The only good thing I can remember about Wigan at that time was
the Northern Soul music scene which started at the famous Wigan
Casino, where they played soul records that you'd never hear in
the national charts. I felt that I really belonged to something
through being a part of that. We'd all dress up in really baggy
trousers with big square pockets in the sides. They were a joke,
really. You could have made three pairs out of them. We all wore
similar styles of shirt too, with pleats in the back. People used
to go around boasting, "I've got a pleat in the back of my
shirt!” Brogue shoes were a must because they were the best
for dancing in. And black, woolly hats were very big in Wigan.
Finally, when I was sixteen, I left home and I left Wigan. I decided
to have a go at getting into show business and was lucky enough
to get work in a few shows. I travelled all over the place - London
, Swansea, Spain , everywhere. I quietly lost my northern accent.
I hated the Wigan accent and deliberately got rid of it. A regional
accent can be a big disadvantage to an actor. You need to have a
'clean' accent but be able to do regional accents as well. When
I go back hone now I do sometimes find myself slipping back into
the local accent - especially if I get angry. It took me ages to
get out of the habit of saying words like 'glass' with a short 'a'
instead of a long one. I also had problems learning to say words
like 'book' and 'look' without saying 'boook' and 'loook’,
which is what they say in Wigan . Although I didn't like Wigan when
I lived there, I quite enjoy going back these days. It's good fun
to get back to your roots for a while. But I could never live there
The reactions I get from people when I go back can be quite funny.
The neighbours who had never had much to do with mum and dad, suddenly
started speaking to them after I became well known. One of the neighbours
said to me recently, ‘Ee, you’re doin’ a’right,
lad. I bet you’re earning a bob or two, like…”
I’m not sure if he was being nosy or just friendly. People
are like that in Wigan.
Interview and photographs by Huw Collingbourne
Why is Limahl cooking a delicious carrot stew in the photographs?
Your guess is as good as mine. Although I took the pix myself, I've
lost the interview that went with them and I can't honestly recall
what it was about. Presumably something to do with Limahl and carrots!
I do at least still have a copy of a different interview that I
did with Limahl - all about his home town of Wigan - and that's
the interview you see here.