Boff Whalley

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Boff Whalley
Boff Whalley.jpg
Whalley at Whitby Musicport, 2008
Background information
Birth name Allan Mark Whalley
Born (1961-01-01) January 1, 1961 (age 55)
Burnley, Lancashire, England
Genres Folk, pop, Anarcho-punk
Occupation(s) Musician, writer
Instruments Guitar, Vocals
Years active 1982–present
Associated acts Chumbawamba

Allan Mark "Boff" Whalley (born 1 January 1961) is an English musician and writer, who is perhaps best known for being the former lead guitarist for the anarcho-punk and folk band Chumbawamba.

Early life and education[edit]

Whalley was born Allan Mark Whalley[1] in 1961 in Burnley, Lancashire. Before joining Chumbawamba he attended Art College in Maidstone and worked in a supermarket and as a postman. His parents were both primary school teachers.


Together with his fellow members of Chimp Eats Banana, Midge and Danbert Nobacon, he moved to Leeds in 1981 and studied at the University of Leeds, dropping out after a year before moving into the South View House squat in Armley. It was at this squat that he was part of an Anarchist collective that later became the band Chumbawumba. The band in the early 1980s was a hardcore punk band in the style of DC Punk, or LA Punk. In 1984, when the Coal industry was privatized and the Coal Workers Union began protesting, Chumbawumba became even more politically active in equal rights and labor rights. He became a guitarist despite describing himself as being of "limited ability". He continued to play guitar and sing while doing a series of other jobs such as shopworker, newspaper delivery man, typesetter, and cartoonist.

Fell running[edit]

Beyond his musical career, Whalley has been prominent in the fell running scene, particularly in West Yorkshire, running at a relatively high standard. Touring and recording commitments have influenced the extent to which he has been able to pursue this activity. He was instrumental in the production of the Fellternative fell running fanzine in the early 1990s.

Whalley recorded a song called "Stud Marks on the Summits", inspired by a chance meeting with legendary fell runner Bill Smith. Whalley took up fell running as a result.[2] He was paraphrased as having said Smith "encapsulated the ethos of the sport – its emphasis on self-reliance and nature and its history."[3]


Whalley has published two books:

  • Footnote*, autobiography (2004)
  • Run Wild, an account of his experiences as a fell runner (2012)


  1. ^ This Is Lancashire article
  2. ^ Donlan, Matt (8 October 2011). "Legend is the only word for Bill". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Brown, Jonathan (7 October 2011). "Bill Smith: Lonely death of a modest giant of fell running". The Independent (UK). Retrieved 7 August 2014.