[sic] Magazine

Confessions of a bootlegger.

Brett Spaceman spoke to long-time mate and even longer time bootlegger, ‘Tarquin’ (not real name) – a figure almost as legendary as his beloved home town Manchester’s music scene. The discussion ranged from legendary concerts and venues to sex shops and (ahem) trousers. This guy is fantastic, read on:

Brett Spaceman: What are your earliest memories of gigs?

Tarquin : Gary Numan supported by Nash The Slash at Mcr Apollo sept 1980, he’s a mad Canadian guy in a white suit and bandages who plays electric viola, he’s on tour this month in the UK I think. His first LP was quite poppy and not at all like he was live at the time, I saw him again a few years back. we used to go down the Apollo loads, we usually had front or 2nd row tickets at the side because no one realised there was no row a or b at the sides and people thought it was a shit view. My 2nd gig was Stiff Little Fingers, then The Cure front row on the picture tour (Faith LP), then Kraftwerk at the Free Trade Hall

Spaceman: I remember Nash The Slash from some flexi disc. When did you first get into the bootlegging and were you planning on trading at that point?

Tarquin : OMD at the Apollo 1980, someone from school lent me his recorder. Nah, they were for personal use.

Spaceman: What do you think is the attraction of owning a concert recording?

Tarquin : Memories, different versions, unreleased stuff, cock ups!

Spaceman: How much has the technology and process of recording changed over the years?

Tarquin : It’s easier now with digital recorders; you can trim off the crap at the start and end and adjust recording levels etc

Spare room syndrome

Spaceman: So do you miss cassettes?

Tarquin : Nah there’s 1400 of ’em in the front spare bedroom.

Spaceman: You’ve been fairly open about it all. How have you been able to keep the bands onside? I mean, you are pretty much mates with most of them.

Tarquin : You just start talking to people, or they come up to you, as happened with the Inspirals who asked us who wed come to see, and we said you!

Spaceman: What is the worst bother you’ve been in with bands, management, lawyers or even Police?

Tarquin : Fuck all really, a mad ex mate (female) did grass me to Kula Shaker’s manager one night, I’ve been stopped at the academy one time whilst a bit pissed going in, so I just said id put it in the car, so I just shoved it down my trousers and went back in

Spaceman: Are there rival bootleggers? Turf wars, etc?

Tarquin : Nah I know a good few of them, some have become really good mates

Spaceman: Is the trading much a sideline for you?

Tarquin : No, more of a hobby really.

Pants to Policing

Spaceman: Have you ever captured anything interesting or bizarre on one of your recordings?

Tarquin : Ha-ha id better not answer that one, something does spring to mind though

Spaceman: Has anyone tried to block you releasing any particular performance?

Tarquin : Yeah a few don’t like it; Hooky lets me record but not release them. a couple of new bands with new songs have asked for me not to give them out, and I don’t give out desk tapes without asking, I’ve got a stunning I Am Kloot one from London where Rich the soundman played with his digital desk for a minute and said, right, you’ve now got what’s coming out of the PA! Normally you get the quieter instruments louder as the desk compensates

Spaceman: For you, who is the best mixing desk operator?

Tarquin : Rich, see above. But also Oz Di and Eddie, from Oz pa, sound engineers to everyone from the north from 82 onwards, New Order where I know them from, ACR, Inspirals, Charlatans, Primal Scream. The Fall

Spaceman: Favourite venue?

Tarquin : Deaf institute Mcr, it’s beautiful, Gulliver’s Mcr, because it’s a tatty cosy pub with great staff. Tilburg 013 because it has a hotel at one end of the street and the venue at the other, and every other building apart from 3 is a bar, the others are 2 takeaways and a sex shop, which my mates Mrs. went into by mistake

Spaceman: Favourite concert?

Tarquin : Too many, some New Order, Kraftwerk, Gabrielle’s Wish, Puressence, Fall, Inspirals early on

Spaceman: Favourite band(s), past and present?

Tarquin : See above, there’s some great new bands in Mcr, the Sandells, Plank, Frazer King, Factory Star, Working for a nuclear free city, Dirty North, Gnod, The Narrows, Womb. …

And from further afield, Factory Floor, Replicas (2 girls from London, haunting fragile pop, I saw them last night, as well as 3 other gigs!)

Spaceman: You remind me, I still need to check out the last Working For A Nuclear Free City album. Loved the first! What do you see as the future for bootlegging? It seems to me that while album sales diminish concerts seem to be resurgent.

You can't catch me

Tarquin : I think someone will very soon put a phone out with decent recording possibilities.

Spaceman: Has the internet hurt your trade?

Tarquin : No because I never really sold them anyway, only a little bit, probably only made £400 max. It’s all out there free to trade now

Spaceman: Any regrets, bands did you missed out on seeing ?

Tarquin : Joy Division, only just missed them. Ultravox (John Foxx era) I also managed to miss OMD, Simple Minds, Bunnymen, Bauhaus and a few others at the Hacienda.

Spaceman: Who would you wish to see play gigs again?

Tarquin : The Chameleons!

See, I told you he was a legend! If you want more from Tarquin he may or may not be related to author of the following blogspot.

Tarquin Live Blogspot.

Both Tarquin and I urge you all to check out those up-coming bands using the links provided. Anyone seeking the identity of Tarquin should write in, addressing their concerns to “Someone who gives a shit”. Please quote the code B1N on any correspondence.

The Sandells.


Gabrielles Wish.

Frazer King.

Factory Star.

Working for a nuclear free city.

Dirty North.


The Narrows.


Factory Floor.