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Old Shields Gazette reporter in New York gossip columns

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Steckles pens biography of Bob Marley

Former Shields Gazette reporter Gary Steckles gets a mention in Gawker, the New York media gossip site, as he plugs his new book about the life of reggae star Bob Marley.

You wondered what qualifications Garry Steckles a St. Kitts restauranteur, brings to his job as a consultant for the Chicago Sun-Times, which is facing imminent layoffs. Apart from being childhood friend of the Chicago newspaper’s editor-in-chief, “I worked [at English newspaper Shields Gazette] from 1960 to 1964, on the sports desk… full time, straight out of school, at 30 bob a week,” he writes via the comments section of an English news blog.

Gary recently got in touch with me at the Corner Shop and he’s pining for a pint back in South Shields, and wondering if any of his old colleagues are still hanging around.

“That took me back. I’d just about forgotten about the Douglas Vaults – most of my South Shields drinking in those days was in the old Havelock …. out the Chapter Row entrance, hang a right for about 20-30 yards, opposite side of the road. I did get to the Douglas Vaults a few times, but spent more time in the old City Vaults just off the Cloth Market in Newcastle. One of the great dives …. I could murder a pint there right now (being somewhat dehydrated from last night’s Chicago Sun-Times Christmas piss up – bad habits are hard to kick).
FYI, I come from a long line of publicans. I was born in the Hillfield Club on Grainger Park Road in Newcastle (upstairs, not the public bar), grew up in pubs (my parents managed the Station Hotel in Killingworth, the Portland Arms, near Manors station, and the Rockcliff Arms, Whitley Bay), and my grandfather, who was a big-time bookmaker, used to own Balmbra’s in the Cloth Market and Uncle Tom’s Cabin in North Shields in the Thirties. My parents met in the old Northumberland Arms in Newcastle – my mother was a barmaid there, my dad an enthusiastic regular. So my chances of growing up sober were pretty slim, and getting into the newspaper business in the Sixties didn’t help.
I haven’t been to England for almost ten years (since my mother died), but would love to get together over a pint or several whenever I can make it back and swap a few Gazette stories.

These days it would probably be difficult to drag a journalist away from his computer screen, but if you would like to get in touch with Gary and exchange stories about old hacks and Gazette drinking clubs, here’s his email address, he’d be glad to hear from you, –

Written by curly

January 12, 2008 at 1:42 pm

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