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Autumn 2018Interview with Ben Boothman from The Flying Horse

A great live music venue... but more than a live music venue...

What date did you take over The Flyer?

I started work at The Flyer in 1997, however I have been running around the corridors since 1989. We bought the business in April 2011.

Tell us about your memories of the early days.

My two fondest early memories are playing on the roof and going up and down in the dumb waiter as a child (my mum didn’t know about me playing on the roof... she does now).

Which was the first band to play at The Flyer?

While I have been around the pub it was a band called ‘Beam’ back in 1998-ish.

What are your memories of it?

I was drinking JW Lees Greengate Smooth and they played some ‘Doors’ tracks so I loved them.

What is your fondest memory or most memorable moment with The Flyer music nights/events?

There are a few.

Singing with The Fallout (rock band) at Sarah and my wedding reception, which was also at The Flyer. In fact, my mum and dad, most of my family, including brothers and sisters, have all been married at The Flyer.

Other memorable moments have been heckling Paul Heaton from Beautiful South as he played a gig, then doing shots with him after.

Eating breakfast my wife cooked with Paul Di’anno from Iron Maiden after he stayed over.

Having a drink with Simon Friend from The Levellers after his intimate gig.

Getting caught playing the drums with a knife and fork by the drummer of the Irish Rovers after thinking he had gone to bed.

Throwing the drummer of an Oasis tribute band out for being rowdy, then watching them try to gig with no drummer.

Who are the biggest and most memorable names that have played The Flyer?

Paul Heaton - Beautiful South
Dan Donnally – The Wonderstuff
Simon Friend - Levellers
The Animals
Tom Hingley – Inspiral Carpets

What makes The Flyer stand out as a town centre music venue?

I think the first mistake people make is that I don’t feel we are a music venue! We are a pub that has live music on. I mean, I think we do it well and we have been doing it a long time and also had lots of bands (1,600 or so) on but a music venue to me is something that specialises in live music, we don’t.

We love live music, we love everything about it, we probably have more live music on than most venues, but we are not a live music venue.

We try to keep things fresh, our little corner of Rochdale, with The Empire, has a fantastic music offering now. When we both have big bands on it can drag hundreds of people into the centre.

What does the future hold for The Flying Horse?

The pub trade is a turbulent and unpredictable adventure which takes up so much energy; as things stand we want much more of the same.

What do you love the most about Rochdale?

The people, the architecture and the heritage. We gave the world the Co-op, the biggest pancake, the longest tunnels, widest bridges, John Bright, The Courteeners, Lisa Stansfield, Gracie Fields, John Milne, the resting place of Tim Bobbin, a 1,000 year old church, the finest Town Hall in the world and, more than all that, some of the friendliest people you are likely to meet.