“Charlie Matthews’ love story begins in a pebble-dashed house in suburban Bolton, at a time when most little boys want to grow up to be Michael Jackson, and girls want to be Princess Di. Remembering the Green Cross Code and getting out of football are the most important things in his life, until Auntie Jan gives him a gift that will last a lifetime: a seven-inch single called ‘Lucky Star’…
On his ninth birthday, Charlie discovers Madonna, and falls in love. His obsession sees him through some tough times in life: being persecuted at school, fitting in at a posh university, a glamorous career in London, finding boyfriends, getting rid of boyfriends, and family heartbreak. Madonna’s music and videos inspire him, and her fierce determination to succeed gives him the confidence to do the same – and, ultimately, to let go of his idol, and find his own voice.”
Delighted to be on the blog tour today for the totally fabulous The Madonna of Bolton by Matt Cain which was published yesterday. I want to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and the publisher for my copy of the book which is Unbound’s fastest-ever-funded novel, with pledges from David Walliams, S.J. Watson, and Mark Gatiss, as well as from countries where to be gay is currently still illegal and is published to coincide with Madonna’s sixtieth birthday.
To celebrate publication of the book, I am absolutely thrilled to bring you a guest post by none other than….Madonna! No, not really but the next best thing in the author himself, Matt Cain, who has unveiled for you:
‘Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Me’
* I may have been brought up in Bolton but I was born in the neighbouring town of Bury, where I lived till I was two, and I went to secondary school and sixth-form college there, as both of my parents worked in the town.
* Yes, I loved Madonna when I was growing up but I was obsessed with pop music in general. Acts like Five Star, A-Ha, the Pet Shop Boys, Kylie Minogue, Janet Jackson, Take That and Erasure were all firm favourites at various stages of my teens.
* Before I went to university I spent my gap year working as an au pair in France. I’d asked the agency to place me with a family in central Paris but I was sent to a tiny village 50 minutes outside the capital, with a host family that was very unhappy as the parents’ marriage was falling apart. It was a pretty miserable year for me but I did get lots of time to read and travel into Paris on my days off to drink in everything the city had to offer.
* People always assume I studied English at university but I actually did French and Spanish and also spent a year working as a language assistant in Madrid. And before you ask, yes I did used to be fluent in both but the truth is my languages have gone to rack and ruin now. I did have a French boyfriend for a while and that helped but it’s been downhill all the way since we split up. Once I’ve established myself as a novelist I need to rectify the situation and bring my languages back to life!
* I didn’t move straight to London after university; I spent a very happy year in Manchester, working for a cable TV channel called Granada Men and Motors, which was the equivalent of Page 3 on the screen and starred various glamour models in series like 4Play, Lady Lust’s Lovelies and The Centrefolds. I’m not particularly proud of the work I did here but I got on well with all the girls and, as the saying goes, I was young and needed the money!
* Once I’d moved to London, I spent eight years working on The South Bank Show for ITV. One of the first profiles I made was of Craig David and we were filming in the studio one day when he needed someone to translate the chorus of a new song he was working on into Spanish. I obliged, was given a thank-you in the album notes, and when Spanish was released as a single, it reached number 8 in the UK Top 40. So I like to think I can cross having a top ten hit off my bucket list!
* In order to get the job as the first ever Culture Editor on Channel 4 News I had to do seven interviews and tests over the course of twelve weeks. Every night at home I’d practise speaking into a little camera on my own until I gradually grew more and more relaxed. When it came time to record my screentest we did it on location on the University College London campus and I had to record a mock report and live broadcast on some minor controversy surrounding the film Slumdog Millionaire. I’ve no idea where the footage is now and dread to think how bad I must have been but it did the trick at the time and I was offered the job a few weeks later.
* While working at Channel 4 News I had a pacemaker installed in my heart. I have a rare health condition that means my heart cuts out for up to twenty seconds at a time and then starts again. It was misdiagnosed for over thirty years (including as epilepsy for a while), until doctors finally worked out what it was in 2012. My condition has the rather snappy name of autonomically mediated syncope with asystole and it made me an anxious wreck for decades. Now my pacemaker kicks in whenever my heart cuts out so I don’t lose consciousness anymore. It’s my most treasured possession – there isn’t a day goes by that I’m not thankful for it. It genuinely changed my life and I’ve never looked back since.
* When I was working as Editor-in-Chief of Attitude, I received a lot of attention for stripping naked for our Body issue, writing about my experience of taking HIV prevention drug PrEP, and going on an undercover mission to Russia to report on the impact of Putin’s anti-gay legislation on the country’s LGBT population. But I was perhaps most proud of a less attention-grabbing article I wrote about the LGBT homelessness crisis here in the UK. Did you know that a massive 24% of young homeless people identify as LGBT and of these, 77% say their sexuality or gender identity is the principal cause of their homelessness? I’ve since been made an ambassador for the Albert Kennedy Trust, the UK’s LGBT youth homelessness charity, and it’s a role I fulfil with pride.
* My novel The Madonna of Bolton may have been rejected by over thirty mainstream publishers before I crowd-funded it in record time but I also have another novel and a non-fiction book that were roundly rejected and are now ready to go. If this book is a hit I can’t wait to unleash the others onto the world! Oh and I’ve promised my publisher I’ll write a sequel to The Madonna of Bolton too!
Thanks Matt for being a guest on the blog today and best of luck with the book, it deserves to do brilliantly. Watch out for my review of the book in a future blog post.
The Madonna of Bolton is out now and you can buy a copy here.
If you would like to find out what my fellow bloggers thought of the book, you can follow the tour here:
About the Author
Matt Cain was born in Bury and brought up in Bolton. He spent ten years making arts and entertainment programmes for ITV before stepping in front of the camera in 2010 to become Channel 4 News’ first ever culture editor. His first novel, Shot Through the Heart, was published in 2014 and his second, Nothing But Trouble, followed in 2015. As a journalist he has contributed articles to all the major UK newspapers and is currently Editor-in-Chief of Attitude, the UK’s biggest-selling magazine for gay men, and its sister publication, Winq. In 2017 he was voted Diversity in Media’s Journalist of the Year. He lives in London.
Connect with Matt:
Goodreads: Matt Cain