Stoke: A Unique Haven of Art, Music and Literature
One of Stoke’s best attractions is its alluring mix of past and present. The city has a strong sense of history and culture as well as the many delights that any modern-day city has to offer. Travelling couples will never run out of things to explore and experience while in Stoke.
After a romantic dinner, couples will certainly like to sample one of the favourite pastimes in Stoke -- clubbing or pub-crawling. Although nightlife in Stoke cannot really be compared to the pulse and electricity of, say, London or New York, Stoke is slowly getting there as its night-time attractions have boomed in recent years. Numerous clubs and pubs have established well-earned reputations in Stoke, along with dozens of bars, restaurants and theatres, several of them outside the centre of the city. There is also a prominent cinema in Shelton, which is also considered as one of the city’s leading art houses.
The music scene in Stoke is one of the best things about the city. There are several nightclubs that have captured the attention of locals and tourists alike, such as Torch. During the 1970s, Torch established itself as the centre of the Northern Soul scene.
In Longton, Shelley's Laserdome made a significant contribution to the rave and house music scene during the late 1980s to the early 1990s. This served as the launching pad of Welsh DJ and music producer Sasha's (Alexander Coe) career. Shelley's also featured frequent performances from another famous DJ, Carl Cox. The legendary club was closed down eventually by the police in Staffordshire.
Stoke was dubbed as a "Techno City" during the 1990s, a title which was coined by the press. The efforts of other Stoke’s nightclubs made the city’s attractions comparable to such big names as The Void in Hanley and Sankey's Soap in Manchester. Acts from Bizarre Inc. and Altern 8 highlighted the city's party reputation.
Aside from its electric techno scene, Stoke has also been home to several celebrities in the music business, including:
- Slash of Guns 'n Roses
The lead guitarist of this 90s super metal band, also known for his trademark curly mane and mean guitar riffs grew up in Stoke.
- Producer and DJ Andy Moor
- Composer Havergal Brian
- Guitarist and music hall star Gertie Gitana
- Lemmy of Motorhead
- Singer Patricia Leonard
- Murdoc Niccals of Gorillaz
- Robbie Williams. Perhaps the most famous pop star of the bunch, he based most of his songs on his hometown. Songs such as "Angel," "It’s Only Us "and" Burslem Normals" have direct or indirect references to Stoke.
Art and Literature
British novelist Arnold Bennett, who some consider as the greatest realist writer of the 20th century, was born in Hanley one of the old small towns that formed Stoke-on-Trent. His novels were mostly based on everyday life in small towns, many of which captured the pulse of Stoke. However, Bennett usually included only five towns in his work, instead of six, excluding Fenton, the town that was federated as part of Stoke in 1910. Bennett also instigated the changing of the official name of the town's newspaper –from "Sentinel" to "Signal." Later on, the city’s radio station adopted this identity created by the great writer.
Aside from Bennett, there are other writers whose roots can be traced back to Stoke. Some of them are:
- playwright Peter Whelan
- poet Pauline Stainer
- novelist and playwright Arthur Berry
- poet John Wain
- poet Elijah Fenton
- artist and poet Charles Tomlinson
Many renowned artists were also born in the city, such as sculptor Arnold Machin and Sidney Tushingham. Andrew Van Buren, the famous master illusionist, was born in Stoke and is still based in the city, when he is not performing out of the country.
Stoke is also the proud birthplace of many actors. Hugh Dancy from "Black Hawn Down," Neil Morrissey of "Men Behaving Badly" were all born and bred in Stoke, . The same goes for other notable thespians like Alan Lake, Hanley Stafford, Jonathan Wikes and Freddie Jones.
Television personalities are also abundant in Stoke. The list includes:
Frank Bough - Nationwide & Breakfast Time
Bruno Brookes - Top of the Pops
Anthea Turner - Blue Peter
Nick Hancock - Room 101
Peter Wyngarde - Flamingoes Only Fly on Tuesdays
At present, the city is earnestly improving its environment in order for people to consider Stroke-on-Trent not only as a great vacation place, but also a place to live, work and thrive.