I’m just back from the Christmas visit to my partner’s family in Standish, near Wigan, Lancashire.
That’s it above. Just a few yards away from there (the picture is forgrounding the town stocks, incidentally,) there’s a shop that was selling a DVD called The Rise and Fall of Wigan’s Cooling Towers. Sadly the shop was shut on the day I passed.
There’s also a pleasant wee pub up the road which has dire warnings in the toilet of the penalties for anyone caught selling drugs, which gave me a real timeslip back to Grassmarket pubs in Edinburgh in the eighties…
The title of this post is a bit mis-leading, because as far as I know, Laura Marling has absolutely no connection with Standish; but in a roundabout way, it is because of Standish that I became interested in her work.
I used to enjoy the writing of Laura Barton on a Friday in the music supplement of The Guardian, even more so when she adverted to her home as being Wigan and in one cataclysmic column actually mentioned Standish by name.
Barton was an early adopter of the work of LM and praised Alas I Cannot Swim in print; possibly because of this, she was given a preview copy of I Speak Because I Can (ages before its release if I recall) and was effusive about the leaps and bounds which had been taken.
I figured if Laura Barton, who had once mentioned Standish in a national paper, liked it, it would be good enough for me. And hence “discovered” LM, which has enriched me ever since. A happy accident.
I’ve found discovering new music becomes increasingly difficult with age; there’s only so much time left and although I did go through quite a pious phase in the mid-nineties where I avoided listening to anything I had heard before, it became clear there’s a reason we have music that we listen to repeatedly – some music is just so good.