Page 1

issue five

WELCOME the fifth issue of The Magazine This month we’re all about local events. We preview the Alderley Edge May Fair and - thanks to the efforts of Frank McCarthy - we bring you a potted history of the Wilmslow Show. We also find time to alert you to the Alderley Edge Spring Art Fair and of course, there’s our regular What’s On page. Occassions such as these play an extremely important role in the life-cycle of local communities. There are usually two or three such focal points scattered throughout the calendar (Chrismtas light switch-ons for example), events in which hundreds, often thousands of residents get to bump into each other and which bring visitors into the area in significant numbers. More often than not the organisation is down to the work of a handful of dedicated people so this month we’d like to use this column to urge you to support them, even if it’s just by telling friends about the events and turning up for them!

4-5 7 6-7 6-7 12-13 14-15 19 23 26-27 32

news window dressing Wilmslow Show fashion Jake Shoes Famous Henrys interiors art travel gifts

What’s been happening

34-35 37 30-31

Kian Egan what’s on music

The Westlife star’s plans for the future

The man behind the glass A brief history Marvellous maxis Nearly 40 years of independence Number two arrives in Wilmslow Trampled underfoot - we look at rugs ACO arrives in Alderley Edge We go poolside A chocolate free, egg-themed Easter

The best days out and about The important new releases

Stockport Office 0161 244 9896

Publishing Director Publishing Director Editor Marketing Director Photographer

Paul Taylor Chris Roberts Paul Day Heather Roberts Matt McNulty

07901 557788 07805 149850 07981 086684 07790 634011 07757 287285

Wilmslow Office 01625 541106 @WilmslowMag Wilmslow Magazine



HEADLANDER 2014 Toploader and Stooshe to headline Headlander Festival in Bramhall 21st & 22nd June - Stockport Rugby Club



he Alderley Edge May Fair is being held on Saturday 17th May but the fun begins the evening before. On Friday 16th there will be a round-robin crown green bowling match for all the family starting at 5.30pm. Anyone can join in and bowls will be provided if you haven’t got your own. Then the fun run leaves the park at 7pm. This is a 5k run organised by Tony from Running Bear, and this will return to the Park about 8pm. There will be entertainment in the marquee starting at 7pm until 10pm, a bar supplied by Corks Out, and Hoggy Hog Roast will have lots of foodie treats to sample. The May Fair starts at 10am on the Saturday, and the parade passes through the village at 11am. There are two arenas with entertainment throughout the day, fairground rides, zorb balls, Punch & Judy and much more. There will also be a Fancy Dress Competition organised by Kids Unlimited and a Fun Dog Show organised by Paul Chilton and Dorothy Carpenter. The Tug of War this year will be organised by Sam Etchells of the Bosley Tug of War team.

ollowing last year’s success, the Headlander festival returns to Bramhall this year for a second year. Staged to provide affordable entertainment for the whole family, the festival takes place in the 13 acre grounds of Stockport Rugby Club. Five marquees will be buzzing with events, stalls and workshops during the day, with a food festival and skate park. 75 acts have signed up to provide 80 hours of live music across five stages, offering rock, indie, reggae, ska, blues, jazz and acoustic. Chris Keene, who masterminds the festival along with a team of volunteers from Bramhall, said “We are incredibly excited to bring Headlander festival back to Bramhall. Last year blew us away; the atmosphere was electric.”

National as well as local bands are spotlighted on both Saturday and Sunday nights.....and Battle of the Bands returns, providing a showcase for up and coming talent. Bands wanting to take part can find out more on Headlander’s website. Since winning last year’s Battle of the Bands, Purge have gone from strength to strength playing live round the country. Now signed up by Castle Rock Studios in Alderley Edge, they are recording their first EP. Tickets go on sale at retail outlets, online and at the venue from £10 pp for a day ticket, family fun day tickets at £10 per adult (U16s go free), with charity proceeds donated to Millie’s Trust and OXJAM. www.headlanderfestival. or contact Chris on 07913 674481.

l l Waitrose Wilmslow l


As the Hoopers window displays change yet again, we chat to Andrew Hornby, the man responsible


How did you get involved in this business? I’ve been in window dressing for about 18 years. I started when I was 19. I served my apprenticeship here. Nicola Paxton was the display manager then and she took me under her wing and taught me everything she knew. The she left to have a baby and I became the display manager. Although the correct term is visual merchandising manager.

You’re working on Spring now? Yes. The scheme has been split over three phases. Phase one was Monochrome which had a 1950s spin, phase two was What’s New Pussycat? and we’re working on All Things Bright And Beautiful. So we’ve moved from greys, black and whites all the way to the brights and florals we’re doing now. And this is timed to coincide with the clocks going forward and the arrival of Spring. What’s the lifespan of a window scheme? This will be in for about eight weeks, then we go into a scheme called Naughty Cool, which will have a nautical theme. That will run for about six weeks then we go into Sale and that will take us up to the new season which is Autumn. We’ll get two phases

from Autumn because it’s a shorter season and then we go into Christmas. The Christmas windows are in around 4th or 5th November. Fashion-wise, we try to change the windows every two weeks. That’s the clothes on the mannekins and the accessories.

How do you approach a display? It’s like painting a picture. You’re open to criticism straight away and people may like it or hate it. Going back a good few years we did a Christmas scheme based around Moulin Rouge. It was little bit racy - there was a lot of lingerie - and that raised a few eyebrows but the important thing was that people talked about it. But whatever we do in the windows we try and bring in store, so the customer gets the feeling of what we’re actually trying to promote. How long does it take to create a scheme? It takes one to two weeks depending how complex it is. It can take a day just to pick the fashion. There’s four of us in the team and we’re also responsible for all the graphics and the point of sale. What’s the most ambitious scheme you’ve done? That would be the Nutcracker display. We were

very lucky to get all the costumes from The English National Ballet. That was probably the biggest thing we’ve done. We told the story of the Nutcracker from the first window right the way through to the last. But we’re good prop makers so we can build staircases and so on. The displays are slightly more corporate these days - there are only four Hoopers in the group but they like to keep consistency across the brand - so we have less free reign. Do you keep an eye on other windows? We tend to go down to London at Chrismtas and see the big displays, at Harrods and Selfridges. Our budgets aren’t small but their’s are huge. Harrods for instance did one based on a 1920s locomotive theme and every window was a different carriage with a different scene in it and of course, at the front there’s a real steam engine. Do you have any idea what you’ll be doing this Christmas? We’ll probably have a meeting around May to discuss what we’re going to do this Christmas. But we’re talking about doing something very traditional this year. We’ll see...


WILMSLOW SHOW- A As it prepares for its 102nd event, Frank McCarthy, Chairman of The Wilmslow Show, looks at its fascinating and often turbulent history


etails of the very first Show have been lost, but the earliest record dates from the 1897 Show Schedule. This Schedule published by the organisers, the Alderley Edge and Wilmslow Horticultural Society, makes reference to a ‘Past President’ suggesting that this was not the first Show. This means that the Show has been held for at least 115 years though because of gaps during the war years, the 2014 Show will be the 102nd. In the late 19th Century there were numerous large houses in the area, where one or several gardeners were employed. The Society staged a large horticultural show in the Harden Park area and advertised it at the time as the largest one-day show in the North. The show was undoubtedly a big event in the local social calendar and a large proportion of the entries were grown and staged by the gardeners of local residents in their employer’s name. Major spectacles at the show were large trade exhibits by many of the nationally known horticultural specialists and there were big displays by several of the regional local authority parks departments. Shortly after the First World War, reflecting new horticultural fashion, the Society became the ‘Alderley Edge and Wilmslow Horticultural and Rose Society’. The show continued to be held at Harden Park and remained of a purely horticultural nature. During the 50s and 60s with the decline in the number of large houses and thus the number of employed gardeners, the mood of the show changed and an increasing

W- A BRIEF HISTORY number of entries were from people doing their gardening in small or medium sized gardens. The membership of the Horticultural Society reflected this change, but the show continued in much the same form until the late 60s. A succession of shows on wet days, coupled with the inability of a purely horticultural show to attract large numbers of people caused a financial crisis and the Society came to the brink of collapse.

to keep the younger generation happy. The Show proved very successful with around 3,000 visitors enjoying a the day out.

Fortunately a few of the committee members of that time together with some members of the Society had the determination to try and revive its fortunes and a stop-gap small show was staged in the Public Hall, Wilmslow. In its own way this was quite successful and for a number of years this was repeated and a small marquee was used to ‘extend’ the Hall in later years. The last of these ’Hall’ shows was in 1976 by which time the finances of the Society had been revived and there was a general enthusiasm to stage larger shows again.

A great boost to the Show’s fortunes then took place when the Bollin Valley Partnership joined the show, not only for them bringing rare breed and other animals to the show, which proved extremely popular, but also for their invaluable help and expertise in the setting up of the showground. The partnership between the Horticultural Society and Bollin Valley in the staging of the show lasted until 2006.

The 1977 show was held on the Carnival Field, Wilmslow and although the horticultural element formed the backbone, it also included other attractions of interest to a wider audience. Other appropriate local organisations were approached, with a view to them staging their own activities. This proved a successful strategy, and the National Cactus and Succulent Society staged their annual show (as they do to this day), the Wilmslow Riding Club staged a gymkhana and the local Austin 7 Club staged a Rally. Several local Flower Clubs put up exhibits, and there were smaller exhibits by the Police, the Manchester Flying School, the Waterways Preservation Society etc. There were also some children’s amusements on site

From the beginning the show had been held on the second Saturday of July, but as the number of entrants to the competitions grew the day was switched to the Second Sunday to allow time for exhibits and entries to be set up.

Whilst planning the show for 2000, the Society learned of a ‘Millennium Show’ being organised at Wilmslow High School on the same dates as the Wilmslow Show. This unfortunate clash was resolved when the Society and Bollin Valley agreed to join with the Millennium Show committee to hold a joint show at the High School. Since then the show has remained at the school being held as a oneday event on a Sunday – usually, as before on the second Sunday in July. Since 2001 there has been a rapid increase in the appeal of the Show with the introduction of major new attractions. The Horticultural marquee still houses the flower, vegetable and craft competitions many of which are specifically aimed at local schoolchildren but the Show now also presents a


Fun Dog Show and a Classic Car Show. The Animal interest includes a Mini Zoo, with many exotic small animals, Longhorn Cattle, and Shire Horses. The modern show has a whole range of attractions including a full scale Fun Fair, a wide range of catering and a Bandstand. Late in the organisation of the 2006 Show, the withdrawal of the Bollin Valley Partnership forced the committee to employ a contractor to prepare the site. This led to an unexpected drain on the Shows resources and the first financial loss for a long time. Following on from this and having made great efforts to maximise income, the cancellation of the 2007 Show was not lightly undertaken. The marquees had been erected and up until the Friday there was still hope, but the torrential rain, which had caused floods throughout the Country continued unabated. The field was so wet that even light cars were unable to drive any distance before becoming bogged down. The consequent loss of income suffered by the cancellation placed the future of the Show in some jeopardy. Representations for assistance were made to the Local Authority, Macclesfield Borough Council and with the enthusiastic support of all the local Councillors the Authority made available a grant. This grant and subsequent help from the new Cheshire East Council has helped to make the future of the Show secure. With the active support of Wilmslow High School and its staff, more and more local organisations and businesses are playing an important role in organising and staging the Show including the 7th Wilmslow Scouts, who man the car parks, the Rotary Club of Wilmslow Dean and of course Wilmslow Lions who have played such an important role over the past eleven years. The hundredth Show held in 2011 was a great success and broke all attendance records – with around 7,000 visitors it was possibly the biggest event ever held in Wilmslow. Because of its growing size, the Show became a Ltd. Company in March 2012. It is the largest annual community event in Wilmslow and not only provides a focal point but allows many of the local voluntary and charitable bodies to raise funds and bring their presence and activities to the attention of the Wilmslow and wider community. The 2014 Show will be held on Sunday 13th July


We look at some of this year’s classiest maxis

Savoir Tribal Print Maxi Dress £29 from Isme

Strappy print panel maxi £15 from Primark

Å 10



Lace panel maxi dress £70 from Lipsy


Darling Selena Dress £79.00 from Modiste, Bramhall


The holiday staple you get full use from.

Brave Soul Womens Leopard Print Maxi £19 from Get The Label

Somedays Lovin Yellow Maxi £55 from Eternal Envy, Stockport & Heaton Moor


Oasis; Animal Maxi Dress £16 from F&F






Limited Edition Maxi Dress £49.50 from Marks & Spencer


JAKE SHOES In 1975 Jake Shoes opened on Prince’s Street in Stockport . The original owners named the shop after their infant son and, 39 years later, Jake has overseen a major refurbishment of the shop. We paid a visit to this independent stalwart


ust as Hillgate was once the main route into Stockport before the A6 came along, so Prince’s Street was the place to shop prior to the creation of the Merseyway Shopping Centre. Less than ten years after the creation of this iconic concrete monolith, a shoe shop called Jake opened at the Debenhams end of that very road. This was 1975 and four years later the editor of this magazine bought a superb pair of black and grey two-tone shoes from them. Probably his mother paid for them. It was the mod-revival era and 16 year-olds were paying attention to the design and quality of their clothes for the first time. It’s telling that the other pair of top shoes in the editor’s collection back then were a pair of white winklepickers from Shelleys in London. The point of course is that Jake Shoes were streets ahead of anywhere else even then. This is particularly impressive given that Jake himself was a mere six years old at the time. “My mum was a hairdresser in Briddlington,” explains the now grown-up Jake, “She was very into fashion, she’d go down to London to buy shoes and clothes and when she got back everyone would ask where she got them from. So on one trip she went to a wholesalers, bought half a dozen pairs of shoes and put them in the hair salon window. She sold them within a week and made more money from that than she did cutting hair in a month. A few months after that she sold the salon and opened a shoe shop.” The family subsequently moved to Macclesfield and opened a shoe shop there. By 1975 this had relocated to Stockport and the new operation was named after the two-year-old Jake. 39 years later it is still there and, even better, Jake is now running it.



Jake Shoes 115-117 Princes Street, SK1 1RB 161 480 5558

“I always loved the shop. I spent my life in their growing up. My mum kept wanting me to take Saturdays off but I wanted to be at the shop. But I never actually thought I would take over - even though I had no real plans for what I would do. But my mum and dad went off travelling America for a year and when they came back they decided they didn’t want to go back to work we had to decide whether they should sell it or whether I would run it. I panicked and thought “Oh God, what would I do?” So I took it over. You would be hard pressed to come up with an independent retailer in the heart of Stockport to compare with Jake. For one thing, town-centre independent shops aren’t meant to survive through decades and generations these days. They are generally squeezed out, one way or another. For a while, Prince’s Street held out, but as Jake himself observes, “There’s no-one else any more. When you think back to the old days there was us, Zico opposite, the Suede and Leather Bar, a few menswear shops. It was quite a good little street.” So it is slightly ironic - and undoubtedly impressive - that Jake has quietly taken the fight to the corporates and in 2001 opened a second store in Manchester, which has now relocated to the Arndale centre. But we’re here in Stockport for the new-look Jake. To keep ahead of the game the shop has been given a comprehensive makeover that should ensure that its future will fairly reflect its past. “It’s given the shop a new lease of life. We’ve taken out the sale area which has made the shop look nicer because everything’s a bit more spaced out. We’ve had a mixed reaction to that but we’ll just have sales at sale time now. We’ve also taken out a staircase and knocked a wall through.”

The shop caters equally for men, women and children, a versatility that has helped establish its reputation, “People know that they can come here and get fixed up with a pair of shoes. The whole family, mum, dad and the kids.” The balance of the product range has shifted slightly over the years. What was once a comparatively small selection of kids shoes - essentially Kickers and Timberland - has grown considerably, overtaking the mens’ because, as Jake suspects, “kids’ feet grow., men will make do.” By way of redressing the balance, the refurbishment sees the mens’ collection being pushed to a position of prominence at the front of the shop. Brand-wise Converse are a popular line but so are Ugg, for whom Jake has a particular admiration “we do a lot with Ugg and they are really changing as a brand. They’re coming out with some really nice styles, not just the classic Ugg boots. They do some very nice kids’ products. “ On his own feet you’re most likely to see Converse or Timberland, both of which he describes as “perfect for running round the shop”. With a beautifully designed new interior the shop is well positioned to head into its fifth decade next year. This will also be the year when work will start on the huge Bridgefields development that wil occupy the space between Prince’s Street and the motorway. Like many people, Jake is positive about the development although understandably nervous about the disruption that will come with the building process itself. But when it is all complete, Jake Shoes will be there, defiantly representing the independent traders who contributed so much to the retail heritage of this area.



he relationship between a man and his barber has changed over the years. His role is no longer to replicate the last haircut he gave us or to ensure we leave with a slightly short version of that with which we arrived. People are after different looks, often from one visit to another, and in recent years the concept of being loyal to one barber has faded as people act on recommendation or the desire to try out a new place. That new places exist is obvious. Barber shops are springing up all over the place, doubtless attracted to the availability of low cost high street premises and the idea that they can open without a great deal of initial investment. A way to be your own boss, in a cash-based business, for a modest outlay. Of course, this merely muddies the waters for the customer, there’s a surfeit of choice but no guarantee of quality. Chris Syddall, owner of Beluga Restaurant & Bar in Bramhall was also aware of this problem. Furthermore, he recognised that the proliferation of owner-operator meant that these one-man-band barber shops could suffer from intolerable queues during busy periods. As he explains, “I thought ‘isn’t there more to it than this?’ They don’t have time to make you a coffee because they’re rushing people in and out And I don’t want to sit and wait, my time’s important. But, if I have to wait, look after me.” This was the starting point of Famous Henrys, the barber shop concept which Chris launched in Cheadle Hulme towards the end of 2013. The concept has become a mini-chain with the recent opening of the second Famous Henrys, on Green Lane in Wilmslow.



FAMOUS HENRYS Chris has no idea how to cut hair but, as he points out, he’s not a barman or a chef either, yet Beluga has traded successfully for 14 years in an increasingly competitive environment. It is this knowledge of the service industry that informs his idea of how a barber shop should operate.

The Wilmslow shop enjoys three full time and two part time staff so there’s no rush to get people in and out of the chairs as fast as possible. The shop is also open seven days a week and they have been rewarded for this industry by seeing Sunday become the second busiest day of the week.

Both units were originally barber shops and both have been refurbished and rebranded to a high standard. The interiors are bright, clean and uncluttered. The customer offer is of an equally high standard and if a short wait is necessary, you’ll be looked after. “I spent two years researching the market and in all that time only one place offered me a coffee. Women get offered that as a matter of course and I know that some of those places advertise themselves as unisex but I want to get my hair cut in a barbers. I’m not a prude, I like the atmosphere of a good barber shop.”

So what about the name? “When you can call something anything you want, it’s actually quite hard to come up with something,” reasons Chris, “but I wanted something different to everything else around. So I thought of Syd’s Barber Shop but that seemed a bit old, then I came up with Henrys and that seemed stronger. So that led to me thinking about famous Henrys and that led on to us having pictures of famous Henrys in the shops; Henry Winkler, Henry Kissinger and so on. Of course, the reaction we get is dependent on age. Young kids don’t know who Henry Kissinger is but the old people probably don’t know Henry Cavill is the latest Superman. There’s Henry VIII, Henry Fonda, Thierry Henry, Lenny Henry. So we have the pictures and a bit of a description of them and the idea is that we’ll build up memorabilia surrounding them. Happy Days annuals, boxing gloves for Henry Cooper.”..

Coffee isn’t the only refreshment you might be offered, beer and fruit teas are also available and if you want to read something you’ll find a better selection than the previous day’s Evening News quality glossy magazines and dailies which include the likes of the Financial Times and The Telegraph. “Someone said to me ‘not many people read the Financial Times’” says Chris, “I said, I know, and I’ve got a load of £150 bottles of Krug in my bar and I don’t sell many of them but they’re there, and the fact that they are there says something about us. About our offer. Yes, we have Zoo and Nuts but we have Men’s Health and GQ.” There’s also free Wi-Fi, a box of chargers for all manner of phones, an X-Box with FIFA 14...

Having an instantly recognisable name and such a strong identity is all part of the brand building exercise. “Some people will be charging £7 for a haircut and wondering why we’re so busy when we’re charging a little bit more but it’s the same reason why people will pay £3 for a coffee in Costa rather than half that for one across the road. It’s the whole experience, the guarantee of quality.“

Famous Henrys Grove Chambers, 36 Green Lane, Wilmslow 01625 522505



RUGS CLOCKWISE from top left: Kaleidoscope rug, £125 - £395 from John Lewis Tonal Tuft Teal rug £90 - £240 from Next Play Rug (85cm x 115cm) £95 from Wovenground Mejlby Rug (200x300 cm) £85 from IKEA Sofia Rug (120cm x 170cm) £160 from Debenhams Conran City Block Rug £199 from Marks & Spencer

Contemporary & Bespoke Kitchens from Germany’s leading kitchen brand

As one of the World’s leading kitchen brands, we mix German quality and craftsmanship with our specialist design service throughout Cheshire and the North West. Created specifically for you and your lifestyle, each of our kitchens is designed, produced and professionally installed by our experienced Installation team and project managers. Appointed as Wilmslow’s only Neff Master Partner & Elite Silestone Showroom, our customers benefit from exclusive products and additional savings across leading brand appliances, worktops & accessories. Our Neff, Miele & Siemens demonstration kitchens play host to regular cooking and baking events, whilst allowing you to test what appliances suit your lifestyle and home. If you’re looking for inspiration and would like to see how an Intoto kitchen might look in your home, call in to our showroom to discuss your ideas and plans. Opening Times: Monday - Saturday 09.00 - 17.30 Sunday & Evenings – By Appointment








Whether it’s a resort or a city centre hotel, eveyone likes a pool. It’s just that some pools are more to like than others...



The sculpturally spectacular creation that is the inverted green copper arch of Hotel Unique houses 85 designer rooms and ten suites tied together by free-flowing public spaces. And what else could you put on that roof? Surrounded by the stacked skyline of São Paulo, the crimson tiled pool boasts an underwater sound system, iconic views of Ibirapuera Park and even a signature martini served at the soul of the hotel, Skye Restaurant & Bar

BOUCAN BY HOTEL CHOCOLAT, SAINT LUCIA Located 300 meters (1000 ft) above sea level and framed by commanding Caribbean boulders, Saint Lucia’s oldest cocoa estate Boucan, by Hotel Chocolat is sweetening the deal, marrying raw nature with responsible luxury. 14 private lodges are crowned by Club Boucan, offering an impressive 50 foot black quartz infinity pool, volcano views and dedicated service.

AVALON HOTEL, GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN Sweden’s first Feng Shui certified hotel, 101-room Avalon Hotel embodies clean nordic design. The uncomplicated and functional reign, with special attention given to holistic tendencies - both in design and wellness. The rooftop retreat offers an urban panorama with 360° views over central Gothenburg, and the dramatic glass pool overhangs the edge of the roof. For the treasure hunters out there, a 24 Karat gold-plated snake mosaic lies beneath the water.


E, Sテグ PAULO ,








, SW









EN all hotels can be booked via: 27



Contact us for terms and conditions. Applies to new vehicles contracted between 1/4/14 and25/4/14 registered the same day, max ÂŁ250 spend off DVLA website Apil only.

All of our cars are offered at the best price possible, this means no haggling or hassle for you. Buy with confidence - The internet makes car buying more transparent. This is why we check our prices daily, to ensure we are extremely competitive. You can be confident that you are getting the best value for your money. Our Price promise - Should you find a similar used car for less within 14 days of purchase we will refund the difference*



Egg coddler £15.95 from

Get your egg to fit your toast. Heat resistant silicone egg shaper. £5 from John Lewis

Mr Egg The hammer opens the egg, the cap warms the egg and holds the shells plus a spoon for eating the egg. £14.95 from

Double Egg Timer A four and an eight minute timer, letting you cook your eggs to perfection. £12.50 from Occa Home

Egg-Q-Ber: Get your egg to fit your sandwich. £4.99 from




A night of family entertainment including stars of X Factor and Britains got talent

X factor’s Giles Potter (pic to follow, 1 attd for pos only) Alexander Stewart (you hold) Ewan Sim (you Hold) Henry Gallagher (you Hold) S Club

Henry Gallagher

Alexander Stewart


Ewan Sim



The Manchester Grammar School Target the World’s leading universities; study at a World-leading academic school Whole School Open Event Thursday 15 May 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm Applications for Sixth Form welcome - bursaries available

For further information contact Kath Heathcote 0161 224 7201 Ext 234 or @MGSmagic

talking point

KIAN EGAN He was one of Westlife. He won last year’s I’m A Celebrity and he’s now embarking on a solo career. Imagine FM’s ChellceAJ sat down with Kian Egan to find out exactly where he’s at. Obviously Westlife were a big deal, how do you find it now that you’ve gone solo? I try not to compare them. I think being a member of Westlife is pretty surreal in itself, given how amazingly successful Westlife was and the things that we did over the years were truly incredible so now, I’m not really thinking about that. Westlife to me was the career, this is the cherry on the top. It’s a bit of fun, I’m still enjoying it. So it’s not about having the number ones or the success, it’s because it’s a passion and everyone wants to do things they’re passionate about.

of them aren’t real - not mentioning any names - but you can see that it’s not real, you can see that they don’t have a genuine friendship, that they’re being forced to have a chat and being forced to have a bit of banter together, rather than it naturally happening. The difference with Westlife is that we put it together ourselves, it came from an organic place and it was built on friendship. And obviously as the years went by things changed - not that we ever lost that friendship - but we became a aware of what we were doing.

How nice to be in that position you can kick back, do a single, do and album and not put pressure on yourself... I could put pressure on myself. People probably expect me to do that and expect me to think that I’m going to have huge success but it’s really not about that. I see this as an amazing opportunity. When my children are older - I only have one little boy at the moment - all I’ll tell them about is Westlife. Then I’ll be like, “oh, and I did this by the way...” But it’s also a pleasure to think that people want me to do what I’m doing as well.

So you’ve got a new single out called Home, a lot of people will think you’ve redone the Westlife song of that name but it’s not is it? No, it’s a completely different song.

People definitely want you to do it! Would you want your little lad to do it too? To follow in your footsteps? If that’s what he wanted. I would obviously try and explain to him that it’s not as easy as he thinks it’s going to be, just because his daddy got to do it. The thing I’ve noticed throughout my career is actually how difficult it all is. I don’t think we realised how easy we had it in Westlife, I really don’t. How big it blew up at the start and how we managed to maintain it. I think we thought “oh, this happens to everybody” because when you’re young, 18 or 19, you really don’t know what’s going on. I think you all kept it real though... Yes, I think we were real. That’s the thing about Westlife. And watching other boy bands today I can see that some


The main thing I remember about Westlife was you all sitting on stools and doing THE best air grab I have ever seen. Can you talk us through it? Ha! Yes. You’ve got to do a slow rise, a quick grab, then down you come.

The new album is also called Home, In this context, what are you referring to when you say that? In my mind it’s about going back to your roots and back to where you come from and hanging out with the people that you really love, that you want to hang around. And it’s also about being out on the road a lot, being away from your family and friends and even though there are loads of people cheering for you every night it really isn’t the same. In Westlife the best gigs were always the gigs our parents were at. It wasn’t different for the fans, but it was different for the people standing on stage. You don’t get to go round every fan after a gig and say “so what did you think of that?” And if you did they’d probably all say it was brilliant but with your friends and family you’ll get a real opinion. What I have noticed because of that single is that in a band you’re never sure who’s singing where and when, but listening to this I’m suddenly thinking “Oh, that’s his voice, he was really strong in Westlife... Well it’s funny because I didn’t sing a lot of lead vocals in Westlife so for me this was a fantastic opportunity to prove to a lot of people - including myself - that I can do it. Not sing, I know I can sing, but that I can make a record and sound good. And I’m really proud of it.

And I think even a lot of Westlife fans though “oh, he doesn’t do a lot of singing” and the media’s attitude would be “he was just a backing singer in Westlife” and yes, I was a backing singer in Westlife but we had two World class singers in Shane and Mark and I always thought we should have the best foot forward for the band. Of course, having done this album I’m now thinking I should have put myself forward more, ha!. I think the single has a Westlife feel, is the album like that? Yes, a bit. The whole album isn’t a million miles away from Westlife. I mean, first of all, I’m a fan of Westlife. I wanted it to still have that feel, power ballads and so on but to be a bit more rocky, a bit more Bryan Adamsy is how I kind of hear it. Bryan Adams meets Westlife meets Bon Jovi. Last year you went away from singing and you were crowned King of the Jungle. That must have been crazy for you, did you think for a second you could win it? No. Not in a million years. I was a fan of I’m a Celebrity, so I knew what the show was all about and I’d watched it year after year. In fact I was asked to go in two years in a row and the first year I said no. Then when I did say yes I thought “if I’m the second or third person out, I’ll be happy” I just didn’t want to come out first, I don’t think anybody wanted to come out first. So I thought I’d go in, have a bit of fun and see what happens. What’s the worst thing that could have happened? My worst case scenario was that I’d be back doing what I was doing this time last year - sitting on my sofa with my feet up, doing some surfing, taking care of my little boy. Living a pretty simple life. But that’s not what happened. Have you still got the crown? No, they wouldn’t let me take that out of Australia. They’re very funny with that type of thing That’s annoying, were you upset about that? Oh no. It was only a piece of plastic with flowers wrapped round it. People often say that that sort of experience changes the way they look at life, did it teach you that all that matters is your beautiful wife and your son? I was always of that opinion anyway. I think doing the things I’ve managed to do in my life, as soon as I had a child a lot of alarm bells went off in my head and I realised that lot of this stuff that I used to stress and worry over really doesn’t matter. And ever since then I’ve always been of that attitude. So I had that attitude going into the jungle, did it make me feel that even more? Absolutely, it made me want to have more children and grow my family, but overall.. The experiences I’ve managed to have in my life are incredibly unique and if this all ends tomorrow I can’t really give out can I? Do you need to be kept grounded? I think everyone needs to be kept grounded. I go surfing for that. A ten foot wave will put you on the floor, I’ll tell you that much. You’ve been very busy of the last 12 months, what can we expect from you in the next 12 months? I have no idea is the honest answer. Everything that’ s happened since last November has been a total shock to me. I’d like to get on stage and do some live stuff. I think that’s the next step musically anyway. And apart from that I’d like to do more TV presenting. It’s good fun. It’s... I’m not going to say that, its the wrong word., it’s less... serious. The music industry is so serious, so cut-throat. TV is a lot more fluffy and a lot more kind. Kian’s Album ‘Home’ is out now


Wilmslow Magazine Issue 5  

The Magazine for Wilmslow Issue 5

Wilmslow Magazine Issue 5  

The Magazine for Wilmslow Issue 5