Shy Talk Legacy Shop



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ShyTalk Legacy is a project lovingly created in memory of ShyTalk punk fanzine founder Steve ‘Shy’ Burke, the impact of his publication often quoted, and Steve, firmly recognised amidst peers and industry stalwarts alike, as something of a humble and uncelebrated maverick, in the grassroots music scene of his beloved Manchester.

Taking its name from Ste’s dad Tom as a comical play on the words ‘shite-talk’, the iconic status of the 1977 publication, was to be unwittingly secured in Mancunian musical history when Steve and various cohorts were featured in the somewhat sensationalised, but nonetheless entertaining, BBC Brass Tacks punk documentary of the same year.

Clips from the film can often be spotted in other documentaries on Manchester musical history or the UK punk scene, with Ste making his entrance as a svelte 1970s, abundantly-quaffed figure, in tight-fitting hipster jeans and yellow t-shirt, as he strides down his old street in Moss Side; followed by footage of him in front of his typewriter and a superbly collaged background wall, discussing the contents of the current copy of ShyTalk.

Steve’s wife Anne would photocopy and staple the lo-fi editions together on her lunch break in her workplace at a solicitors office, and Ste would then distribute them around various local outlets.

Anne remembers:
“Steve and me would drop copies off around the record shops in Manchester centre and collect the 20p per fanzine and go out on the money, haha. Happy days. I'd print them when the staff were out on lunch or after work when the office was empty. I remember Steve being so chuffed at how well they sold. I remember Virgin Records shop couldn't get enough.”

In fact, following the broadcast of Brass Tacks, Steve visited the Virgin store to ask how many copies they required that week, and such was their increased demand due to the overwhelming notoriety of its exposure, Ste ceased production of ShyTalk with immediate effect!

Regardless, the legendary status of ShyTalk fanzine had already been cemented, and over the years it has been continually referenced in an abundance of publications on Manchester music. In conversation with Dave Haslam shortly before his passing, Buzzcocks' Pete Shelley (an old pal of Steve's) referred to him as an "unsung hero" of that early scene; with many other musical stalwarts also crediting Steve in platforming them in the early days of their career.

Later in life, in response to the 'pay-to-play' culture of the time, Steve would go on to found the notorious Stroke Club nights, giving grassroots artists a platform to gig in venues like Gullivers, Manchester; which is where we currently celebrate his legacy with similar events.

Steve outside Gullivers, circa 2009.

In early 2022, as we were finally emerging from the lockdowns which saw Steve even having to isolate from his own family due to his underlying conditions, it was announced that he was seriously ill and coming to the end of his life. Such was the response to this devastating news, that I hastily put together an event for people to come and pay tribute to him, while Ste was still able to feel the love. Friends and acquaintances, from various eras of his life, turned out to either perform or deliver words of gratitude to Steve; some even send video recordings to play to him in a 'This Is Your Life' style; and although he could sadly no longer vocalise a response by this stage in his illness, the enormous smile on his face spoke a thousand words as we all sang 'For Ste's a Jolly Good Fellow' and gave him a rapturous three-cheers.

Steve passed away aged 66, in his family home of many years, in July 2022. He lived life his way and made many, many friends along the way, due to his kind, amiable nature, and of course his sharp (usually very corny) wit and marvelous anecdotal memory! He was celebrated in death, exactly as he would have wanted - with a raucous punk send-off, which included a casket that had been graffitied by his friends, followed by a huge drunken after-party full of dancing, smiles, tears, and hugs, where the musicians from the various bands he'd loved and supported all assembled on one stage and played into the small hours together.

After his passing, I staged the first SHYFEST event in Ste’s honour, where funds were raised to cover the cost of a mosaic portrait I'd commissioned of Ste, incorporating some of his ashes. The mosaic was unveiled at the start of the event and now hangs on the wall, overlooking the bar, in Gullivers for his friends and loved ones to visit and have a drink with. If he could, Ste would make a joke about how it's always him getting the bloody drinks in, to which we'd respond that at least we can finally sit with him and get a word in!

This year we have SHYFEST II on the way, and I am hoping to launch a publication honouring the legacy of Steve and ShyTalk, to give grassroots artists of all genres a platform. If you'd like to get involved, get in touch!

I also have a W-I-P documentary underway, about Ste’s life, his contribution to Mancunian musical and cultural history, and the people and places connected with that. I am interested in any footage of Steve or stories you may think relevant to sharing as part of that project.

If you'd like to contribute anything of relevance to this website, please contact me directly as I would love to hear from you. It is very much a work-in-prog as this stage, with many more artifacts yet to add! I would also be grateful to hear from any persons or organisations who would like to sponsor the project, either as a whole or individual elements of it.

Thank you for reading - please follow us on Facebook and other platforms, for current updates on all things Shy Talk and Ste Shy-flavoured!



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