Time to Read Blog

The Cutting Edge: Leslie Cavendish and the Beatles

Posted Thursday 9 November 2017 by Ian Anstice in Opinion

Leslie Cavendish with scissors

Leslie, thanks very much for agreeing to send in these replies. Why did you write this book?

The reason i decided to write the book now was because I lived through an important time in history "The sixties" where everything was changing which included music/fashion/hair and all the important social changes that was happening at that time.

I was also lucky to have been involved with Vidal Sassoon with his geometric haircuts and The Beatles who experimented with all different styles of music. Dont forget I was a big Beatles fan so to me It was like winning the Beatles Lottery.

I was taught at Vidal Sassoon that the best way to be with clients was to keep quiet and listen and not ask to many questions, so when I met Jane Asher and Paul McCartney I just got on with my work and never bothered them with autographs and asking for locks of hair and Beatles questions etc.

I have kept quiet for a long time and I felt now was the time to let people know what an amazing journey I was on through that period of change and also my magical time with "The Fab Four",so I have now put it all down in my book "The Cutting Edge".

How did you get the book published?

Leslie Cavendish - Cutting EdgeI had the story to tell as I have a good memory and many press cuttings letting me know that I wasn't dreaming it.. I found the publisher "Alma Books" after I had contacted many publishing houses who all said it was a good story but.....I met Lorenzo who is a book agent (Book on Tree), he read the synopsis and decided that it was a story that had to be told as it was different to any he had read about life with the Beatles and the culture of the sixties.He then got in touch with Alma books and they thought that it would make a good read and they believed in it and so it was published on August 21st 2017

How have you promoted the book?

I have been doing many events and also newspaper/radio and TV to promote the book, including Whitechapel library, Oldham Library, The Book Club Shoreditch, The Club at The Ivy(London), a TV documentary at the Sassoon academy, Gulf Radio, Talk Radio, Litchfield Festival, German Beatles convention, the Daily Express and a few other news publications, and I have been asked to go to New York in March for the Fest for Beatles to do a Q/A and book promotion as the book will be published in March 2018 in the USA.

So, go on then, whose hair have you cut?

I have cut The Dave Clark 5,The Who,The Bee Gees,Tony Curtis, James Taylor, Bob Weir, Peter Cook, Jane Asher and many Apple recording artists,Linda McCartney,Suzanna Leigh,James Hunt, Lance Percival, Sir Stirling Moss and their wives and girlfriends, Robert Stigwood and many DJs from the BBC, Emperor Rosco, Stuart Henry, Ashton Gardiner and Terry Stamp and brother Chris, and not forgetting the Apple staff.

How did you meet the Beatles?

Jane Asher was a client of mine and one Saturday morning after cutting her hair she asked if i was doing anything this afternoon because if not could I go around to their house and cut the boyfriend's hair. George Harrison and Leslie Cavendish

I new her boyfriend was Paul McCartney so of course I said yes and after her saying thats good she said "what time is convenient for you" so I said about 6pm (I had gone to football to see QPR v Swindon: we won 3-1) and she said that time is fine,I asked where do you live and she said 7 Cavendish Ave (next to my second favorite sporting place, Lords cricket ground) ,I said thats really strange because thats my surname.Jane said to me "well maybe it was meant " and it was.

Tell us a Beatles anecdote

I was asked to do an interview for Disc magazine and the journalist was also a client of mine.So we went to the Picasso cafe in the Kings Rd and she asked me about the texture of the Beatles hair, I hadn't realized that she was up to something and because I thought i was Jack the Lad (street wise) I just went along with it.

What about Pauls hair she said. His hair is in good condition and he has also a good head of hair. George--very good hair and its quite thick. Ringo-his hair is also thick and good to work with.. John -His hair is ok mmmmmmmmmmmmm. She picked up on that said if any of the Beatles in years to come was going to lose their hair i suppose it would be John?

I hesitated and said "Well if you say it like that I suppose that could happen" Then we just carried on for a bit and then the interview was over. A few days later I get a call from Derek Taylor(Beatles press officer) at 11pm at night and as I picked it up I knew something was wrong as he wouldn't call at that time unless its important.

"What have you said to the press" I replied I don't know what you mean.So why are they saying that Beatles hairdresser Leslie Cavendish says that Lennon is going bald?

In the morning I bought the papers and yes there it was "Beatles Hairdresser says John Lennon is going bald", I knew when I went to work that morning Lennon was going to call me and after about one hour the phone rang and it was John.

As I answered it i could tell it was his voice because he said in that John Liverpool accent "Leslie", With that, I just said I'm sorry about this but they took it out of context and I blabbered on just saying i didn't say it. Lennon then interrupted my pathetic apology and said "Dont tell me about the f-----g press taking things out of context look what they did to me saying that I said The Beatles are bigger than Jesus Christ", With that he stopped and said am I really going f-----g bald? again I said no. He replied "well, you better come over now just in case it starts to fall out"

I then went over to Saville Row and met him and trimmed the ends of his hair. He could have been really uptight with me but he wasnt and it showed he had a sense of humour.


My book,The Cutting Edge: The Story of the Beatles’ Hairdresser Who Defined an Era, was published in August 2017. Please use this link below if you'd like to buy a copy.

Earning your Awards: Stockport Children’s Book Awards 2017

Posted Tuesday 31 October 2017 by Rachel Broster

One often sees award ceremonies in the news but how often does one think about all the effort that goes into them? Or consider that it's sometimes the culmination of months and months of work. This guest blog post by Rachel Broster gives an insight into everything involved.

It takes a whole year of planning and preparation to build up to our fantastic awards ceremony in the autumn.  First, we enlist some willing volunteers to read the books we have been squirrelling away all year. Them from this we create a long list which will be whittled down to a shortlist.

Stockport CogheartRunning alongside the longlisting and shortlisting, we promote the Book Award packages to Stockport schools, encouraging them to participate in to the process. This year we had great take up with eight primary and two High schools buying in. They get to help choose the winning books, have dedicated sessions with a local artist to create art work related to the books and tickets to the Awards ceremony where they can meet the winning authors.

So the calendar is:

- Spring term. The schools receive the books, relevant to their age groups, along with a pack of voting forms, blurb about the books and a form for them to nominate their Reader of the Year.

- May and June. We are planning the activity days and arranging for the artist workshops in schools.

- July: This is the activity day. We were rather ambitious this year, with over 30 children taking part (eek!). By 10am, Marple Library was alive with the sound of children discussing the shortlisted books and we had done the first vote to see which title is the favourite (will it be the same at the end of the day?). The children talked about what they liked and what they didn’t like about each of the books. After lunch, each group did a little performance, acting out a bit from one of the shortlisted books.

Stockport Activity DayAt lunch time, the children ate their packed lunch and rehearsed their performances. After the performance. we gave Oscars all round! Votes were re-cast, with the recults very interestingly not being the same as when we started!  The activity day has helped the children to see the books in a different light.

Karen Allerton (the artist)  brought in all the fabulous art work done by the schools, and the onerous task beings of deciding whose work will be the winning author’s prize.

Stockport medals- October: Presentation Night. All the votes have been counted and re-counted. The winning authors are on their way. Our fantastic compare Craig Bradley, That Poetry Bloke, is briefed and is busy delivering school workshops during the day. All our VIP guests including the Mayor of Stockport have been invited. By 7pm, the venue is ready, the authors and distinguished guests have arrived and there are over 300 children, parents and teachers buzzing with excitement.

We showed our fantastic video of the activity days and the children talking about their favourite books. Then children were invited on stage to read the nominations and announce the winners. The winners were:

The winning Stockport Awards authorsEmma Yarlett – "Nibbles the Book Monster" for best picture book

Jo Cotterill – "A Library of Lemons" for best read for juniors

Stewart Foster – "The Bubble Boy" for best teen read

Authors got on stage, collected their prizes and made speeches..

The book sale and book signing with the authors rounded off the evening. What an amazing night. By 9pm, everything was finished and tidied away and we all went off home to bed ready to start it all again tomorrow for 2018.

And yes, that picture below is that of the Mayor "dabbing" with the children!

Dabbing with the Stockport Mayor

Independent Writer? Be Your Own PR Department!

Posted Monday 25 September 2017 by Ian Anstice

Independent Writer?  Be Your Own PR Department!

Diane Hinds on how to promote your book

So, just because you’re independently published, this is no barrier to generating much needed PR coverage for you and your book.  You just need to think how to go about it.

We have seen an increase in the self-publishing market and there have been a number of successes - EL James, Andy Weir and many more.  Some writers I have met are just happy to publish and leave it at that.  With the wealth of writers I’ve met with interesting stories to tell, it is a shame to let the books sink.  It doesn’t take a lot to generate media coverage.  Just a little time and patience.

Diane HindsThe most important thing to consider is your message.  What is your message?  How clear are you on this?  Next, you need to research your local media.  This is a good starting point and they are more inclined to find you of interest, due to your local angle.

Also, do you know your target audience?  If so, consider where they go to find out about similar books to yours being published?  What do they read?  What’s the demographic of this target audience?  Do your research!  Remember some people are not technically literate so what traditional media are they reading for example the older generation?

One thing I advise when you are putting together your personal PR campaign is to avoid advertising spend.  All this should cost you are: pennies in telephone calls, travel/accommodation and time.  If you’re invited to be interviewed on television, away from home, then this may incur expenses which are tax deductible.  Normally these are covered by the publisher, if you’re traditionally published, but you will have to cover these costs as you are self-publishing.

You need to put in as much effort to running your own campaign as you have to writing and completing the book for online sale, or you will risk minimal sales.

Traditional media gives the author valuable ‘third party validation’ and can be circulated on your social media accounts.  Now would be an ideal time to set up your Twitter and/or Facebook accounts as you need to start developing on online presence.  You can find other online platforms that work better for you.  For example, if you’re writing a travel book/blog then images work well for you.  These can be shared online on Pinterest, Instagram or other image based social media sites.  You can also add images to your posts.

Can you lead the news agenda?  This is where your message is so important.  Can you support it with industry quotes and ground breaking research?  These will strengthen your campaign.

If you want to know more, you can find out about my talks in your local area by visiting Time to Read’s website or visiting: www.TheEntertainmentBureau.co.uk/Events/.

Go for it!

Diane Hinds

Wirral Free Bookfest

Posted Wednesday 13 September 2017 by Ian Anstice in Latest Libraries News

Wirral Bookfest returns to Wirral's with some fantastic events in Wirral's libraries between from 3 to 30 October.

All of the events are in libraries and they are all free, featuring local authors who have made good, local authors making good and those who are experts on authors.

Find out more via the Wirral BookFest website

North West Libraries

Librarians in the North West have pioneered partnership working to encourage new readers into libraries. Time To Read is a partnership of librarians engaged in reader development activity in public library authorities in the North West Region. 22 public library authorities in the region currently support Time To Read.

Keep up to date

Follow Us

  • flickr
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • twitter

We use cookies to help us provide you with a better service, but do not track anything that can be used to personally identify you.

If you prefer us not to set these cookies, please visit our Cookie Settings page or continue browsing our site to accept them.