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SLATEHEAD

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Slatehead

Bobby Drury left Liverpool after O-levels, knowing he had f***ed them up. Free now, he hitched to Snowdonia. His mum came crying on the phone, "You've failed them all?" Bobby knew that. 'No, Mum, I've led Vector.' This was Thatcher's lost generation. The slate quarries were walking distance; they'd have a smoke, a party in an abandoned hut, try and climb something. A small culture emerged of punks, nutters, artists and petty thieves, crawling up abandoned rock, then heading to the disco at the Dolbadarn. These were the Slateheads.

The people in these interleaving worlds - the punk dole dropout star- climbers; the Victorian quarrymen pioneers; the Welsh-speaking grandson of a ropeman, abseiling in to bolt sport climbs like Orangutang Overhang in the Noughties, Lee and his mates slogging west today - all are polished like nuggets in this 360 view over patience, pride, respect, thrill, movement, the competing claims of home and agency, and above all, a belief in second chances.

Shotlisted for the 2020 Boardman Tasker Award.

Slatehead Spec:

  • Author: Peter Goulding
  • Publisher: New Welsh Review
  • September 2020
  • Edition: 2nd (paperback)
  • Illustrations B&W + colour photos
  • Pages: 344

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