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There is much excitement in the Marc Bolan camp. Next year sees the 30th anniversary of the glam rock singer's death and the fan club is busy preparing events to commemorate the date.

There is much excitement in the Marc Bolan camp. Next year sees the 30th anniversary of the glam rock singer's death and the fan club is busy preparing events to commemorate the date.

Big names have been approached to headline a major gig in London but it's all hush-hush while the club awaits official confirmation.

"I'm dying to tell you but I can't," says Newcastle businessman Nigel Hatfield, pictured, who is helping to organise the bash.

"All I can say is that there will be several events planned and it will be a grand musical celebration."

The father-of-three is Marc Bolan-mad, so much so that his family have banned him playing T-Rex tunes at home.

"My brother says if he did not have T-Rex rammed down his throat he would be a fan," laughs Nigel.

Nigel's love of one of glam rock's founding fathers led him to take over the Official Marc Bolan Fan Club, with his friend Tony Foster, of Newcastle, two years ago.

The pair, who met at a T-Rex tribute night, bought the club when motorcycle daredevil Chris Bromham decided to sell it.

Nigel, 48, says: "The fan club has been going ever since he was famous but we are not sure when it was exactly established.

"He hit the big time in the early 70s and they opened the fan club offices in London around then. Marc Bolan visited there on a regular basis.

"Around about 1975 he was fading. He worked very hard to reinvent and redirect himself . But after a successful television programme in 1977 he was offered another six episodes of a show called Marc.

"He was on a comeback after cleaning up from sex, drugs and rock `n' roll and he was really ready for action.

"The last thing to be seen on the Marc show was him doing a duet with David Bowie and he was about to release a single.

"The single never happened because a couple of days later he died in a car crash."

Marc Bolan died on September 16, 1977 after a car driven by his girlfriend Gloria Jones left the road and crashed into a tree.

At the peak of Bolan's fame, T-Rex sold 58 million records and had 20,000 fan club members.

"If you compare that to Boyzone, who were going for about eight years, when they packed in they had sold about 16 million records over an 18-month period," says Nigel. "He was extremely popular. He was one of the biggest inventors of glam rock.

"Marc's death was tragic. Throughout that time the fan club was there. I was not an active participant at the time but I was a member."

Over the years Nigel, who runs two businesses on Byker Bridge, lost track of the club but continued to play his Marc Bolan records.

A few years ago, out of curiosity, he ran a search for the club on the internet and found that it was still going strong.

Nigel began to buy things from the club's back catalogue and discovered the owner was wanting to sell up.

"In the old days the fan club owned a lot of Marc Bolan clothes, guitars, films and recordings but they had all needed to be sold to keep it going. We negotiated for the merchandise and the mailing list. We did it because we were fans and we just wanted to keep his name going."

Tony has since left the fan club due to work commitments but Nigel is helped with the day-to-day running of it and its website by another T-Rex fan, mother-of-one Sue Garvock, of Jarrow.

The club has fans from all over the world, and ages range from children and teenagers to music lovers in their 90s.

Sue, 29, says: "I have always been a member of the fan club and I have loved Marc since I was nine.

"He has always been part of my life. I got to know Nigel through people who were running the fan club at the time and when he took over it snowballed from there.

"Marc's music doesn't date. You can enjoy it now just as much as you did 30 years ago. We have fans in the club from all over the world and they will be coming to the 30th anniversary party. It is going to be the big thing next year and we're getting some big names involved.

"I don't see the fan club as work, it's a hobby."

Nigel believes T-Rex, and in particular Marc Bolan, had such an influence on British music that the glam rock singer should be awarded a posthumous Brit Award.

His music continues to be used today in films such as Billy Elliott as well as in advertising.

"Today his music is being used on four television adverts. He is still an influence," says Nigel.

"Marc was a massively popular star in the 70s and an off-the-wall character. I think he was a big influence on music at the time. He had 12 records on the trot in the Top 10. One of The Beatles said that T-Rex were bigger than them and today his influence is still massive. Around 25% of the 800-plus members are under 25.

"It is surprising for someone so influential that he has not been recognised by the Brit Awards. I have sent them e-mails about it but they don't respond."

The Official Marc Bolan fan club has a strong bond with Too Rex, a tribute band, who will play a Christmas Special at Pelaw Social Club, Gateshead, on December 21.

"It will be a sell-out. We can't thank them enough for promoting Marc Bolan," says Nigel. "We get people from all over the country coming to gigs like this.

"His songs like 20th Century Boy, Ride a White Swan and Get It On are all really catchy tunes. They appeal to young and old.

"People from all walks of life like his music and it spans a really cosmopolitan range of people."

Nigel will be kept busy next year working with a committee organising events in London for the anniversary in September.

He also has a little project of his own. "I am learning to play the electric guitar so I can play Ride A White Swan on my 50th birthday," he grins.

For Too Rex concert tickets call (0191) 469 2425 or (0191) 421 2659. The fan club website is www.marc-bolan.com

Bolan factfile

Marc Bolan was born Mark Feld on September 30, 1947, in Hackney, east London, the son of a Jewish van driver

Lead singer of Tyrannosaurus Rex (later T-rex) from 1967 until his death in 1977

The band was mentored by former Radio One DJ John Peel and reached the peak of fame in 1971

With his corkscrew hair, glitter and good looks, Bolan largely invented glam rock

Hits include 20th Century Boy, Telegram Sam, Metal Guru, Hot Love, Children of the Revolution

He died on September 16 1977, two weeks before his 30th birthday, in a car driven by his partner Gloria, mother of his son Rolan Bolan. The tree the car crashed into now acts as a shrine to fans

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