Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Link4Life in Rochdale: A Child of the Enlightenment?

DOUBTS about Link4Life's committment to the spirit of Voltaire and the Enlightenment in the arts, will continue following the decision of Link4Life boss, Peter Kilkenny, to refuse to stock the current issue of Northern Voices in the shop at Touchstones in Rochdale Town Centre.  Touchstones bookshop had sold copies of the previous issue of Northern Voices with our review of the Liam Spencer exhibition in last year, but this year they returned Northern Voices 13 having read the mildly critical article by Debbie Firth of the Touchstones Challenge campaign group, dealing with what she thought was a Link4Life managerial bias against the arts in Rochdale.

This is disappointing as Northern Voices 13 carried an interview with Sylvia Lancaster, the mother of Sophie Lancaster, the murdered 'Goth girl' and new romantic, from up Bacup.  It also included a review/ excerpts from Catherine Smyth's book 'Weirdo, Mosher, Freak: the murder of sophie lancaster', which is on sale in Touchstones Bookshop.  In the 1970s, the Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP), according one of its former editors, John Walker, had some difficulties getting the reference library to stock that paper in what is now Touchstones but was then the Rochdale Central Library.  The difficulties were overcome at that time, because the local librarian stood up to the politicians who wanted to exclude that controversial local publication. 

In Rochdale town centre, copies of Northern Voices 13 with Debbie Firth's article in, is available at Gallery Number Ten at 10, Bailie Street, and at Martin's News in the Rochdale Bus station.

The printed version of NORTHERN VOICES 13, with all sorts of stuff others won't touch and may be obtained as follows:

Postal subscription: £5 for the next two issues (post included)

Cheques payable to 'Northern Voices' at

c/o 52, Todmorden Road, Burnley, Lancashire BB10 4AH.

Tel.: 0161 793 5122.


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