Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Steve Steinman, rock singer and producer

'The music was always classical'
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The Independent Online

Steve Steinman, 43, first appeared as Meat Loaf in 'Stars in Their Eyes'. He created and stars in 'Bat – The Symphony', which opened its tour at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton last Sunday ( His other shows include 'Vampires Rock', which features Toyah Willcox.

My little girl, who is dyslexic, came home from school two months ago with a see-through yellow sheet, which seems to focus your eyes on the words in a book. I am also dyslexic. I start reading the first line and skip to the third line, so I have to read it all again. It's as if the white paper blinds you; some people print what they have to read on pink paper.

I tried my daughter's yellow sheet and then got my eyes tested. There are different colours for different people; mine is a reddy colour. They timed me reading passages and with this I was 70 per cent faster.

I'm waiting for my tinted reading glasses to arrive – after all these years! I didn't get any help with my dyslexia at Norman House, a little private school in Manchester where I went when I was four. It was very strict, with a uniform – even a cap.

We moved house to Saddleworth in Oldham. I have fond memories of Greenfield Primary. It was a nice place but I struggled with reading and maths. They spotted there was a problem and one teacher used to pull you out of lessons and have a little reading session with you by yourself.

There was no music at primary school, or at secondary school, that attracted me. At Saddleworth Comprehensive, the music was always classical; you were in the orchestra or the brass band. I could sing but never got asked to join the choir. I think kids today get better chances.

I was more the sporty type and the music and drama people were more academic. The drama club never seemed a place where I could have fitted in. I was in the football and swimming teams – both school and county – and I was the national schoolboy motocross champion.

I actually enjoyed school and I never bunked off. One teacher stands out: Eddie Barton, a sports teacher who later became a head of year. He used to take us for reading; I think it was probably a class for youngsters who had a problem. I'd like to know if the others were dyslexic, like I was.

I passed art O-level; I was very good at drawing. I passed geography and history. I wasn't entered for English or maths. The head told me to do extra sport during those exams and I helped with teaching different aspects of sport to the younger kids.

I left school wondering what to do with myself. My mum had a hairdresser's and I thought, "I'll have a crack at hairdressing". I worked with her and went to Oldham College once a week and got my City & Guilds. I did that for two years and then my father got ill and I took over the family business, a pub. I made it into a gastro-pub. I was the youngest landlord in Great Britain. I used to put on dinner shows and bring in acts like Ken Dodd from all over the country. I would go on and open the show with a song. Finally I put on just me! I got rid of the big acts and saved myself a fortune.