The ramblings, thoughts and observations of a forty-something who likes his Northern Soul rare, his walks breathtaking, and his football played on the ground…

Andrew was born in Stoke-on-Trent and is now in his early 40s. Andrew lived the first half of his life in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire in the United Kingdom. In 1990 he went to study at The University of Leeds, and after graduating eventually settled in Yorkshire, working for the same large organisation for 20 years. Andrew lives in Leeds with his wife, two step-kids, three spoiled rotten cats called Hadley, Amelia and Daisy, and an equally spoiled Bevan the whippet-cross, and Patch the Jack Russell.

For 28 years Andrew has been a supporter of Stoke City FC. For those 28 years they have been largely rubbish. Even promotion to the Premiership does not bring the complete satisfaction one might expect. It might seem hard to credit to the casual observer, but a long running dislike of the team’s former manager and in particular the brand of percentage football devoid of style has left Andrew apathetic about what others excitedly clamour for. Well supporting an unfashionable club always has always been about endurance over enjoyment hasn’t it?!

Andrew really enjoys to travel and to visit new places. He enjoys the outdoors and finds most inner contentment when walking several thousand feet up a mountain, especially in the Cumbrian Lake District or Scotland. Andrew has been lucky enough to journey to Australia, Iceland, Hawaii, New Zealand, the USA amongst other places, and hopes to see Asia and Africa some time before the great referee in the sky blows his final whistle. Andrew combines the love of the outdoors with his hobby of photography. Capturing the moods and atmosphere of a special place is second only to experiencing it first hand.

While jetting around the world may not seem conducive to combating climate change, seeing different parts of the world and experiencing its diversity of wildlife and flora has made Andrew passionate about the Environment. He is a member of Friends of the Earth and does his best to leave as small a footprint as possible on this planet as he walks the journey of life. Politics formed part of his degree and has been an interest of Andrew’s since standing in a mock election at school. In those days he fought a lonely battle on behalf of the Labour Party thrashed at the ballot box by a tide of Blue peers, but the subsequent shift of the political theatre to the right of centre has left Andrew without representation from the main three British parties. The Red Flag flaps no more, the Labour Rose is wilting, and Andrew now embraces shades of Green, and joined the Green Party in September 2008. The return of a caring co-operative society, fighting injustice, and fighting the cause of the underdog underpins Andrew’s beliefs. Leaving something behind for future generations, realising the consequences of our actions, and acting for the benefit of the many not just the privileged few completes a basic summary of his position. You may say he’s a dreamer, but he’s not the only one.

A musical end to the last paragraph drops a large hint about another one of Andrew’s passions. An eclectic taste in music which includes 1960s Pop, 1960s Soul, Ska, R&B, Indie, Punk, Classical and Opera, finds Northern Soul at the zenith. Northern Soul started as an underground movement formed around the rare sounds of mainly Black American groups who failed to make it big in the 1960s and 1970s, yet were idolised ever since by discerning music lovers largely in the North of England. Northern Soul’s popularity has spread over the years such that 14 years after the legendary Wigan Casino finally closed its doors, it was discovered by Andrew and become his favourite genre. Music which marries driving rhythms with heart-felt lyrics delivered by vocals which drip hurt and passion is always going to stir the soul and so it was for Andrew. A dancer, amateur collector and finally a DJ, Andrew has got his kicks out on the floor to many a Northern Soul gem.