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The first official biography of song-writing genius Jake Thackray is on its way

Twenty years after the legendary Loiner’s passing, Scratching Shed Publishing is delighted to announce that it will shortly be publishing the first, much-anticipated biography of the late, great Yorkshire singer-songwriter, Jake Thackray.

Admired by Neil Gaiman, Jarvis Cocker, Jon Richardson and Arctic Monkeys, among many others, Jake is increasingly recognised as one of the greatest and most original British songwriters of the twentieth century; a unique talent and master storyteller, whose songs are full of wit, poetry, irreverence and humanity.

The book, published in August 2022, reveals that his life was every bit as extraordinary as his songs. It takes in his childhood in the terraces of Leeds; his three years in France and war-torn Algeria; his early career as an inspirational, idiosyncratic, highly creative teacher; his meteoric development as a songwriter and performer, and discovery by the BBC; the records he made at Abbey Road, rubbing shoulders with The Beatles and influencing their music; the fame and fortune brought by his remarkable television career…and his decision to turn his back on it all.  It is the story of a complex, immensely private man who remained a mystery even to his friends.

Eight years in the making, Beware of the Bull – The Enigmatic Genius of Jake Thackray has been researched and written with the full support of Jake’s family. Benefitting from exclusive access to his personal papers, it includes previously unpublished letters and poetry, enabling Jake’s distinctive voice to be heard afresh. It also contains the complete lyrics of many long-lost, previously unpublished songs. It is beautifully illustrated, with previously unpublished and rare photographs.

The authors have devoted much of the last two decades to ensuring that Jake’s remarkable legacy is preserved. John Watterson has featured on Radio 4’s Great Lives and Dave’s Meet the Richardsons, whilst Paul Thompson has co-ordinated the release of two Jake Thackray DVDs, including the 2014 BBC-licensed Jake Thackray and Songs(‘Outstanding’. Mojo. ‘Magnificent.’ The Independent.) They are also both seasoned performers, with John nationally recognised using his stage name, Fake Thackray. They have recorded two albums together: The Lost Will and Testament of Jake Thackray features many long-lost songs, while The Resurrection of Frédéric Debreu is a collection of Thackray-inspired material written by Paul and comic novelist Alex Marsh.

‘We are delighted to be able to share Jake’s story with the world,’ says Paul, ‘and particularly pleased to have brought the project to fruition with Scratching Shed Publishing. It is fitting that the book is being published in Jake’s hometown, and with his distrust of big corporations, he would certainly have approved of our choice of a small, independent publishing house. We have all been on the same page from the outset, and are all equally committed to shining a light on his enigmatic genius.’

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