Many years ago I hosted a short-lived but apparently popular show on Live365, an online radio station. They offered a range of packages, and of course as a northern cheapskate I chose the free option, which meant zero promotion or storage space.
Nevertheless, I constructed a handful of episodes in which I chatted to characters and played music. All the tracks were by me, recorded with a friend a few years earlier; all the characters were me too. The one that stood out was Barry Meat, former rock star and self-styled Fat Bastard Mayor. Inspired by the still-bizarre rumour that rock star Meat Loaf was looking at properties in nearby Hartlepool after becoming a fan of the football club (no, really), the Fat Bastard Mayor even had a song, to the tune of ‘Bat Out of Hell’.
Years later, Barry Meat is still around (figuratively speaking) living rent free in my head. He’s now the mayor of the Yorkshire Triangle, a tryptic of villages in North Yorkshire: Crabladder, Banjostring, and Fannyride. Largely retired from the music business, Mayor Barry Meat resides in his country pile where he lords it over the residents and fights with councillors.
Barry Meat’s Yorkshire
That brings you up to date with the background to Only Planet: The Yorkshire Triangle, a spoof Lonely Planet guide. It is here that the oversized rock legend details some of the highlights from his part of the world, from odd piers and windfarms to wartime relics and mines.
I first started work on this in 2019, getting firmly to work on it in early 2020… and then was stopped in my tracks by the emergency of unprepared home schooling. Refocusing efforts in 2020 to focus on work while it was there (particularly as two of my regular clients were no longer outsourcing) and teach the children until after Easter, there simply wasn’t an opportunity to do any personal projects. Photography is largely complete, drawing wholly on my own photos from locations across Yorkshire and Teesside.
At this stage, the book is around 50% complete, but I’ve also started playing with the idea of an audiobook version to accompany it. I’ll be releasing both electonically for free. A print version of the book (and hopefully a calendar) are also on the cards, depending on how other things fall into place, for a suitable fee.
Who is Barry Meat, really?
If you’ve heard of the post punk act Slitorist, a band who decided to embrace the hair metal era of the 1980s and shred and shag their way around North America and Europe long after that type of camp rock had gone out of style, then you’ll know exactly how Barry Meat is. His voice will echo around your head whenever you think of tracks like ‘Racing Mind’ and ‘Airscrew’. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a copy of their number one LP Daleside Old Legover, and while their Live Aid appearance was cut short when drummer Jizzy Radley shat himself, no one really noticed because Queen were on next.
Want to know more about Barry Meat and Slitorist? Keep an eye out for Only Planet: The Yorkshire Triangle, set to be spammed across every social network I have access to later this year.