To Odder with Matthew for a gottle o’ geer and a GORGEOUS pizza (better than Cornerhouse even), all for a crisp fiver, how good is that? Quick pint at Cord, very empty, then on to Nexus for a night of music and album launching. Nexus is a nifty little basement café cum gallery and performance space at the corner of Oldham and Dale Street. It started life as a safe-space-late-night-café affiliated with the local church so that mashed clubbers could wait for cabs out of the way of danger. How sweet. It explains the incongruity between wall graffiti (‘I hope your kids explode!’) and overheard conversations (’I haven’t seen you since your baptism!’).
The main event is the launch of third album, The Kansas Sessions, from Kirsty McGee and her Hobopop collective. First up however is The Bee’s Niece, pseudonym of singer-songwriter Ragnhild Zeigler, and very lovely she is too, delicate, plucky songs with a wry and funny underside. Alas she couldn’t compete for long with the noise from the percolator and smoothie maker so we retire somewhere with a license to wait for something a bit louder. Matt and Phred’s was a melancholy scene, two bored and beautiful barmaids, us three supping Guinness by the open window looking onto the rainy back street, and a lone pianist practising his sad jazz down the back. I am so going back there for a proper night soon, haven’t been for far too long.
Back to Nexus then to hear Kirsty MCgee’s up-beat, foot-stomping, rockabilly ‘n’ country tunes. All good fun and some fantastic lyrics but not my cup of Earl Grey especially. Excellent musicians though and any live music is better than a night in front of the telly. And all for free!
Later in the week and Are Friends Eclectic? comes around again at Retro. This usually studenty pub had THE most amazing clientele upstairs out of term time, I was transfixed. A gaggle of old-school seventies clone queens manhandling the jukebox in one corner, a slab of gorgeous Manc rough trade in the other, metal hair freaks round the bar, rough diamond Gorton sports dyke serving, and right in the window a straight couple gettin’ it on in the most spectacularly public fashion. Get a room people! Love it.
Guinness and black for me please. Drank it all night and woke up feeling like a cough sweet. This month’s AFE was Manchester themed, with a particular bent towards Moz/Smiths. Sparsely populated though, which was a shame. Where else can you hear Slaughter and the Dogs and The Wedding Present of a Thursday? The lovely Phil Gatenby did a turn on the decks and we persuaded him to whip out his new Smiths tattoo (and his very hairy arms also).
Next day it’s off down Whalley Range to celebrate the lovely Maria’s tenth year in Manchester. I had a similar idea to celebrate my own anniversary a while back (I think I went on holiday instead) where everybody would have to dress as themselves ten years ago. I still might do it. Depressingly though, I might only look slightly different. I bet I even have my old glasses. Utterly wrecked and up till 5 am, relocating to Chorlton along the way. My attempt to force everyone to listen to this at 4 in the morning went down like the proverbial, but I still believe!
Party again the next night, this time to celebrate Emma and James shacking up. Hooray! Feeling very fragile by this point but lovely to see friendly faces from Charlotte, Kate, Pete, Dee, John, my brudder and his lovely g-friend Charlie. All next day is spent on the couch at Dee’s watching The Green Wing which I have come to regard as semi-genius.
I take a spontaneous half-day off later in the week and eat my favourite thing in the world which is the falafel burger with spicy fries at the Deaf Institute then me and Char go off to the Great Northern Warehouse to watch The Dark Knight, about which nothing more needs to be said, other than 1) Christian Bale isn’t trying, and 2) it’s a fitting swan song for poor Heath. A framed picture of Heath adorns my CD tower and makes me think daily about the irresistible tragedy of somebody so beautiful that dies young. I still miss River Phoenix. God love ‘em both.