More than just a memoir

Dale Hibbert, whose life story, including a role in the early months of rock band The Smiths, has been published. Dale is pictured outside his cafe, Kava, in Todmorden
Dale Hibbert, whose life story, including a role in the early months of rock band The Smiths, has been published. Dale is pictured outside his cafe, Kava, in Todmorden
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With a life that has reached some astonishing highs and devastating lows, it perhaps isn’t surprising Dale Hibbert was once in legendary music group The Smiths.

Many readers of the compelling Boy, Interrupted - Memoir of a former Smith, just published by Calder Valley based publisher Pomona, will doubtless investigate to find out about Dale’s days with Morrissey and Johnny Marr in the first months of the band.

But best known in the Calder Valley as owner, with his wife Svet, of Kava Kafe, Rochdale Road, Todmorden, Dale’s story is amazing enough in its own right, more astonishing than an early Morrissey lyric.

Dale’s mother died when he was eight, he grew up a “latch-key” child, has married four times and has eight children. He is a depressive and has been penniless. He has also been a a millionaire, musican, producer, sound engineer, and the owner of nightclubs, cafes and successful businesses. He has lived in a car, and a mansion.

His passion for coffee has led him to his current business run with Svet in Todmorden, and hopefully some contentment.

Dale’s early life in Manchester is a compelling memoir of a different time, a roller-coaster ride through a city which, by the late 70s and early 80s boasted a fertile music scene.

Dale has never spoken about his role in the early Smiths in such depth before. Parting of the ways did not define his life at all, and accordingly his account is fresh.

Publisher Mark Hodkinson says: “I persuaded Dale to do the book. I thought his life story was interesting enough, The Smiths is extra.

“He’s quite a shy chap and took a little bit of persuading. He wasn’t a fan of The Smiths and never really has been.

“People think he left The Smiths as a member of The Smiths but at that stage they’d done one gig and one demo. The Morrissey and Marr myth is that The Smiths were always a complete entity but actually they had been through a rag-tag of musicians in the past. The Manchester music scene, Dale caught it all first hand - it must have been a great time.”