|An average Monday morning commute|
down the Mancunian Way. No wonder
my house had slugs on the walls.
Manchester - home of persistent precipitation in varying degrees of wetness, Abduls Kebabs, the largest student population in Europe and the best quiff since TinTin got his head stuck in a tub of Brylcreem . I'm talking about +Morrissey here - godfather of the 80s northern music revolution and provider of many a good night out for me. Oh and I forgot about Britain's best football team - Manchester City.
I've had two bouts of living in Madchester. Despite my parents' protestations and their belief that Oxford or Cambridge might have been nicer places for them to visit at weekends (and nothing to do with the fact that I skived off school too much and wasn't clever enough to get into either anyway), I lived my student life in Manchester. Where could have been better? The UK's biggest student population so plenty of like-minded layabouts, the best music scene in the world and still only an hour and a half away from mum's washing machine. In spite of the amount of snakebite I consumed during that three year period, I seem to remember quite a lot and so it was amazing to go on a bus ride down memory lane (the Number 111 down Oxford Road) on a predictably wet Thursday before Christmas. Walking up Oxford Road towards the university nearly 20 years on I almost cried with emotion - Abdul's is still there but bigger and flashier and they seem to have cleaned the vomit up off the walls. The university refectory where I sat gazing out of the rain spattered windows as the ambulances hurtled past when the IRA bombed the city in December 1992. The bus stop outside the BBC at which I was rudely interviewed by a TV crew after having pulled an allnighter - they asked whether I found bald men sexy. What a question for 8am. Unfortunately my mum's friend called her later that day to say she had seen me on TV and that I looked a little unwell and was maybe overdoing it. The BBC building has now been demolished to make way for their swanky media city in Salford. Money well spent I'm sure.
Anyway, further up the road the bus stopped outside my old house - this was the house I've mentioned before where a charming man relieved us of our video player. It was in Moss Side - an infamous area and one where gangs routinely fought out their battles in the forecourt of the petrol station across the road - and just down the road from the Pattie & Dumpling Shop where Benji Stanley was shot dead. It was a real shocker at the time - he was just a 14 year old kid and apparently only a few years ago the police discovered it was a case of mistaken identity. I tell you, when you've lived in Moss Side and are lulled to sleep every night by the drone of a police helicopter sweeping the alleyways between the houses, you can handle just about anything. I'd like to think it toughened me up but I still have a pathological fear of goats cheese.
Curle on Curl action
|Curly Watts - my all time favourite|
City fan. Perhaps.
|Keith Curle - one time player and big head.|
"I'll have 50 quid on myself to score the 1st goal"
"Sorry, and you are........?"
So, what has Manchester ever done for us? It's produced Man City, the club I worked at when I was a student taking bets in the executive boxes from soap stars (Curly from Coronation Street) and working for a Morrissey lookalike called Rob whose false teeth (not sure why he had them, he was only about 26) used to fall out when City scored. Then after a midweek match we'd measure and tweak his quiff and go with him to Smiths Night at a club in town - I'd like to say it was at the Hacienda but I think that's my mind playing wishful tricks on me - and slope around to the dulcet tones of Morrissey wishing for a quick death by jugganaut or telling Manchester it had so much to answer for.
Honestly, I could go on about Manchester for hours as you can see. I'm in love with it and always have been. Mancunians call a spade a spade (the jacket potato shop "Spud-u-like" has been replaced by a fast food joint called "Fatso's"), Man City have a better stadium than Utd (technically Old Trafford isn't even within the city's boundaries. Ha! and let's face it, 99% of Utd supporters haven't ever set foot in Manchester - take The Boy for example), it produced the world's first computer and also split the atom. It gave us New Order, The Smiths, Oasis, The Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses amongst others and, rather bizarrely, is twinned with Puerto Cabazas in Nicaragua about which I can't tell you much at all. Indeed anything. Do they get earthquakes in Nicaragua? You do in Manchester. The earth literally moved for me there...
I would go and live there again though would possibly have to do so on my own as there's no way I'd get The Boy up there. His nose starts to bleed if he goes north of Cirencester.
Mad for it!