It’s cold and dark and I’m walking down a street just on the outskirts of Wigan town centre looking for the British Legion. Now I know you might be wondering what the hell I’m doing spending my Friday night at the Legion, well it’s not because I’m meeting up with some old war buddies to discuss rations of bully beef, it is in fact for the launch party of issue 5 of Sideburn magazine.

The said magazine is described as “The world’s finest, most glamorous, most colourful, most informative, global-reaching go fast, turn left magazine. All right, the world’s only go fast, turn left magazine. The place where every weekend is a dirty weekend”

This description may still leave you (like me until a couple of weeks ago) unsure of what the publication is actually about. Well people, it’s all about motorbikes and particularly the ones that get driven around virtually sideways on circular dirt tracks, hence the ‘turn left’ and the ‘dirty weekend’ in the description. So my apologies if the latter of the two gave you mucky pups a different idea entirely.

Even though tonight is based around a bike magazine, my reason for being here is that it’s going to be a great night of art, music and a little bit of burlesque thrown in for good measure.

On entering the mock Tudor fronted building I make my way through to the function room at the rear and pay my measly three quid entrance fee. Not only is the door price low, the bar prices are great too, £1.80 a pint, bargain! The room is exactly what you would expect from this type of establishment. Tables and chairs are uniformed in setting, a bar at one side, the glory wall on the other and a small wooden dance floor in front of the curtained stage. I can only wonder at the turns that have graced the stage over the years, I visualise overweight stand up comedians with ruffled shirts clutching a barrel glass of best.

The room tonight has a few changes made to its look, mainly with the addition of a wall filled from end to end with the Davida Helmets Moto-Photo. I’m not a massive fan of bikes and you won’t find me browsing art galleries staring at pictures, but the photos on display here tonight are pure class. On the dance floor are a couple of real life bikes that are being admired by people that have a better knowledge of these machines than me.

The music coming through the PA is being supplied by Sir Johnny Alpha and Mr. Murdo and the choice cuts they are spinning vary throughout the night from sixties garage, beat, mod and soul.

The first part of the night kicks off when tonight’s in-house band The Stags take to the stage and give us some of their fun filled garage and psychedelic tunes such as ‘Sex Fizz’ and ‘Do The Ton’. After this it’s time for one of the bikes to be returned to the front of the stage and from the sidelines appears burlesque performer Bambi La Beau.

She’s dressed in mechanics overalls, not too sexy you might think, but as the music plays and she cavorts sexily around the bike, the overalls are removed to reveal black leather top and skirt. It’s not long before these also fall to the floor to leave her in just red fringed knickers and nipple tassels, which gets a great cheer from both male and female onlookers alike.

Another short set from The Stags takes us to raffle time which hosted by the band themselves. Prizes include a Davida helmet, which is worth an amount that easily reaches triple figures, a hundred pound tattoo voucher, a proper naff painting (which I really wanted to win) and a large stuffed toy donkey, which has to be sawn in half to make it into two prizes.

I’ve had a top night and heard some great music, so if you get the chance to attend any of these future events I would recommend doing so and the fact that it was all held at the British Legion makes it all the more worthwhile.

Simon Zaccagni

‘Accidental Editor’ of Silent Radio from its inception in 2009 through to 2020. None of this was planned; I’ve never been in a band, never been part of the ‘music scene’ and never expected to be the gaffer of a music website with loads of dedicated music loving writers. I bought my first record when I was 8 and haven’t stopped buying since. I love crate digging for bizarre and weird stuff, but equally happy ploughing through press releases looking/listening for something I’ve never heard before.