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Music fan and writer Stuart Cosgrove is joined by BBC presenter Vic Galloway and online magazine Louder Than War's John Robb at XpoNorth to look at writing about music


By Margaret Chrystall


SOUL is the music that made it into the heart of the young broadcaster and writer Stuart Cosgrove who will be talking about The Story Behind The Music at a special panel discussion at XpoNorth creative industries event on Wednesday.

He has now written three books looking at the history of both soul music in American cities at crucial points in its history – and also one on Northern soul which inspired him to become a fanzine writer.

Since then, he has gone on to form a cutting-edge career as a journalist and in TV, largely for Channel 4.

Detriot 67.
Detriot 67.

But he also became a familiar voice on BBC Radio Scotland with Off The Ball, indulging his passion for football alongside Tam Cowan.

An early job saw Stuart become a staff writer with the black music paper Echoes and he later took a role as media editor of the NME (New Musical Express).

But his most recent achievement has been the completion of his four books for Scottish publisher Birlinn.

Memphis 68
Memphis 68

In Memphis 68, Detroit 67 and Harlem 69, Stuart used his knowledge from his degree including American politics to set the scene for the evolving history that surrounded the music in his chosen ‘melting-pot’ cities.

Stuart said: “I’ve been very lucky that my love of soul coincided with some of the big themes of the era – civil rights, the war in Vietnam and black power so the books are as much about the social history of the time as they are about the story of the music.”

John Robb.
John Robb.

Detroit 67: The Year that Changed Soul was nominated as best music book of 2016. Memphis 68: The tragedy of Southern Soul, which won the Penderyn Award as music book of the year – which has been called the Mercury Prize for writers. Last year, Stuart completed and published the final book in the series, Harlem 69: The Future of Soul.

Harlem 69.
Harlem 69.

He said: “One of the key theories about good writing is to write what you know – I’ve been a fan of soul music since I was 15 and living in Perth. Over the years that passion has helped me build up knowledge that is reflected in the books.”

Vic Galloway. Picture: Carina Jirsch
Vic Galloway. Picture: Carina Jirsch

Stuart will talk on writing about music – and turning your passion into books – with two other well-known journalists and writers. BBC Radio Scotland presenter and journalist Vic Galloway, whose books include Songs in the Key of Fife, is also on the panel with online magazine Louder Than War’s John Robb.

Stuart says music will always be at his core: “One thing that is consistent in my life is the joy I get from listening to Motown – no matter how down I am – it lifts me and brings joy into my life.”

The Story Behind The Music is on Wednesday, July 3 at 2.15pm in La Scala Cinema, Eden Court, Inverness.

Other daytime events worth looking out for on Wednesday include:

Modern Music Entrepreneurs in The Jim Love Studio, Eden Court, Inverness (10am-11.15am) with a panel featuring Jo McAlinden and Be Charlotte (Charlotte Brimner).

A&R Worldwide Global Keynote with Dougie Bruce (La Scala Cinema, Eden Court, Inverness, (11.15am-12:30pm). Dougie Bruce famously signed Adele to UMPG before joining Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment and he is in conversation about music publishing and A&R with Sat Bisla, resident and founder of A&R Worldwide.

HMUK Scotland: Spotlight on Career Longevity: guests include Mogawi's Stuart Braithwaite (Studio 2 (2nd Floor), Eden Court, Inverness (1pm-2:15pm) Help Musicians Scotland will be discussing career longevity with Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai, Rock Action Records), Jenn Butterworth (one of Scotland's leading folk guitarists) and Dave Arcari (touring blues musician, Buzz Records). Help Musicians Scotland is the Scottish office of independent music charity; Help Musicians UK.



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