Flipside’s Alternative London Tours

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 1.00.49 PM

So, after three-plus months of lockin and going through your vinyl collection several times, you are crawling the walls. Looking at the fact that vacation has been curtailed for many people, travel restrictions and concerns over COVID have created a very limited travel situation and forced us to put trips outside the country on hold. So, what can you do? Plan for that really big “the world has opened up again” tour? And since you love music, head for the music cities.

Being a musical fiend, a traditional tour just won’t do. It’s alternative tours for you. If you are starting your next trip in the UK when quarantine rules stop, there are several large cities that have great music scenes. Starting in London, you’ll want to hit up Aidan McManus at Flipside Tours. Flipside Tours features a David Bowie Soho Tour, Strummer Walk Tour, and Westway Walkin Notting Hill. And if you want to get some local insight on what’s going on in the Portabello Road area before you go, start listening to Portabello Radio.

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 1.01.44 PMInterview with Aidan McManus

How did Flipside Tours Come about? What drove you to make music tours come about?

Nobody else was covering punk, I thought there was a market for it, I was looking for a new way to make a living.

With the current COVID crisis, tourism has of course shut down. Have you been able to adapt your tours at all, or still in lockdown?

I haven’t done any tours since March due to lockdown.

Have you thought of doing virtual tours as some people are mad for travel, crawling the walls but restricted right now?

I have, and had a little go but it looked shit. 

You have a great digital presence, a great following, and there’s a radio show? 

FlipsideLondon Radio on Mixcloud https://www.mixcloud.com/aidan-mcmanus/ and live on Portobello Radio. 

What are some future projects you may be developing, a new tour, or a show?

Always trying to think up new tours, it usually comes to me when I’m not expecting it. 

How do you develop one of your tours?

I only do stuff I’m interested in, so I have the basics and then immerse myself in the subject, it never really stops as you’re always finding new stuff. It’s like The Ramones, don’t worry about how good it is, just get out there and do it and it works or it doesn’t. 

Have you met any of your music heroes as a result of your tours?

On the show and Glen Matlock, Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible have all walked past while I’m doing it and said hello. 

Any great followers you were astounded checked you out? Decided to come on a tour?

Joe Strummer’s widow, Campino from Die Toten Hosen, and Micky Gallagher’s daughter.

Is it hard to get information sometimes for research?

Not sure what this means, some books are just unobtainable

Anything you can tell us about your daily routine to stay sane in our current global lockdown? How have your music habits been affected?

I’ve been listening to lots of stuff I’d nearly forgotten about and I’m still doing the radio show.

What famous music places and venues have been ‘gentrified’ out that you really wish you could show people on your tours, the way it was?

The Marquee

What blogs, Twitter/Instagram, or Zines are you obsessed with right now?


Consumer Questions:

The first record bought? Hunky Dory

How did you listen to new music when you were young? Records

First gig you went to? Bad Company, Earls Court, 1976, it was shit

Favorite bands or artists in your youth? Bowie, Bolan, Sex Pistols, The Clash

What are your favorite new artist/s? Warmduscher, Fat White Family, Sleaford Mods, Eight Rounds Rapid

What Twitter or other social media accounts are you hooked on lately? None

Favorite music venues? The 100 Club

Music venues you are dying to go to? The 100 Club

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 1.02.37 PM

What would be your fantasy gig if space and time continuum allowed? Hendrix, The Pistols in 1976 

If money were no object, who would you go see and where? (If you were the booking agent) Not really sure


Plan your emergence from the chrysalis post-COVID.

New York, NY


Glasgow, Edinburgh Scotland


Liverpool, UK


Manchester, UK


POWERPOP: Are You Children of The Revolution?

Image 05-10-2019 at 10.14 (1)

Why yes, we all are. Now more than ever! With this past month of finally crawling slowly out of the pandemic shell shock on varying levels, it’s good to keep looking and listening for that bit of happenstance pandemonium that will keep you going. You know, uplift your spirit when the politics are on serious scary retro revolution mode. What better place than to hit up Simon Philo’s shows, Children of the Revolution on Radio Free Matlock (UK) First Thursdays, and The Sweet Spot, bi-weekly on Stranger Radio in New York. He’s also agreed to clue us in on the music of Pop in Society! Oh, yes he actually does teach a course on this very subject, talk about a dream teaching job. OH, not to forget, he wrote a book on one of my favorite periods, GLAM!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pop_society

The Interview

What possessed you to create not one but two radio shows?


Always been obsessed with all kinds of pop music. I always wanted to find ways of channeling this life-long passion into something tangible.  Used to make ‘radio shows’ as a kid – which only my long-suffering parents got to hear besides me.  In my job as a university professor of American Studies I made it my ‘mission’ to include music on my classes wherever possible.  Eventually got to write a couple of music books – see below. In 2017 I started teaching a degree course in Popular Music in Society – the only one of its kind in the UK. But, despite all this, I still wanted to do more ‘pop business’, and when my wife spotted that a local internet radio station – Radio Free Matlock – were open to show proposals, I took the plunge.  In January 2019, after a 40-year wait, I finally realised my childhood dream and got to present the first episode of Children of the Revolution – a show that plays tracks from any and every genre from between 1969 and 1982. And then in July of that year, I also started my powerpop show The Sweet Spot on the NY-based station, Stranger Radio.        

Untitled design (1)What are some future projects you may be developing?

Nothing cast-iron right now.  Only been doing the radio work for 18 months.  But I would like to find ways of building the Pop Society ‘family’ of shows. Watch this space!

What has been your greatest challenge in keeping your broadcast full of great content? 

Time, or the lack of. Full-time ‘proper’ job, family-life, grown-up stuff, etc. 

Have you met any of your music heroes as a result of your publishing and shows? 

Met a very drunk Marco Pironi at the Louder Than Words music and literature festival in Manchester a few years back.  I’d presented the case for glam rock in a mock ‘heavy-weight boxing bout’ that pitted glam against prog, and unbeknownst to me Marco and his missus were in the audience.  As we went for a post-match beer, I was introduced to Mr. Pironi, who it turns out was very pleased that glam had ‘won’ and also made it very clear that failure on my part was not an option!  I also met punk icon Jordan at the same event. Although not at the venue but in a local Pret A Manger, where we both reached for the sole remaining sandwich at the same time.  I graciously deferred to her, and we proceeded to have a very pleasant chat about the Pistols, Adam Ant, the chaos post-Grundy TV interview, etc. Charming lady.

Any great followers you were astounded checked you out? Listened in to your show? 

Bobby Bluebell (Robert Hodgens) listens in, and in fact kindly donated a live Bluebells’ cover of ‘Three Imaginary Boys’ for a fund-raising LP RFM put together last year. (Although copyright issues meant that, sadly, it didn’t make the final cut.) I’ve also had ‘likes’ from Nick Heyward, Steel Pulse, and Midge Ure – all of whom appear to handle their own social media accounts.  My powerpop show plays plenty of new music, and as a result featured bands from both sides of the Atlantic, e.g. Transonics, Garlands and Project Revise, ‘follow’ me and listen in.    

Anything you can tell us about your daily routine to stay sane in our current global lockdown? How have your music habits been affected? Any adaptations you want to share? 

I’ve continued to work full-time, delivering classes, etc on-line.  So, I’ve been as busy as usual, if not even busier. I have though put my recently acquired broadcasting ‘skills’ to good use by turning lectures into podcasts. Working from home has meant I listen to music pretty much 24/7. And because they have been building a new house next door, I’ve been grading papers with headphones on to cancel out the noise!     

What media, blogs, or Zines are you obsessed with right now? 

I don’t watch TV. So I am always on the look-out for great radio or podcast content.  My current favourite podcast is The Bugle. 

Where can people discover your media or publication?

Children of the Revolution can be found on radiofreematlock.co.uk (and via Alexa, Simple Radio app, smart radios) – first Thursday of every month, 8-10pm (UK)

The Sweet Spot can be found on strangerradio.com – fortnightly on Tuesdays, 9-11pm (UK) 

Books British Invasion: The Cross-Currents of Musical Influence (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015) Glam Rock: Music in Sound and Vision (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018)

Writer and Radio Show Host as consumer questions:

 The first record bought?

 Sweet, “Teenage Rampage” (1974)

How did you listen to new music when you were young?

Radio (Radio 1, Radio Luxemburg)

Vinyl and cassette

First gig you went to? Who were you with and what did you wear? Did you pick up gear (Badges, teeshirt, posters, setlist, still have ticket stub?)

U2, January 1983 at the Birmingham Odeon. I went with some school friends.  Picked up a ‘War’ Tour sleeve-less (?!) T-shirt.

 Favorite bands or artists in your youth?

 Boomtown Rats were my first love. Then, in my late teens, got into the Cure, the Smiths and Psychedelic Furs

 Your favorite new artist/s?

 Kurt Baker – not new, but new to me!

 What Twitter or other social media accounts are you hooked on lately?

 Scottish Post-Punk (@ScotsPostPunk) 

Favorite music venues?

De Montfort Hall, Leicester. Birmingham Symphony Hall.

What would be your fantasy gig if space and time continuum allowed? 

T Rex in 1972. 

Thank you Simon, looking forward to more great adventures from you! Just a sample PowerPop lesson here.Screen Shot 2020-06-24 at 4.57.31 PM