Friday, 23 December 2011

End Of Year Review: 2011




2011: I turned 33. It looks like I will outlive Jesus after all (touch wood). This little blog turned 3 years old. Look what I was doing back then; not much eh? This year I had my tenth anniversary working for Manchester University Press and my fifteenth anniversary of living in Manchester. I moved here in September 1996, three months after the IRA bomb. Mum wasn’t happy. Also this year I showed up in the Manchester Evening News and Attitude magazine with a load of Manchester chums. Click click flash flash darling.



I quit smoking in September, this time for good. I’m doing really well and enjoying life without cigarettes. *clicks heels* It was the right time. You should all try and quit this year. Apart from anything else it does wonders for your hangovers.

Our amazing dog Sam died this year. ‘Sammy Lammy Lambkin’ to those who loved him, and we really did love him. We had him from a puppy and he was ours for seventeen years. When I would pack up my bags to go back to University at the start of term he would sit on them to try and make me stay. He was a big dumb sweet thing and our family isn’t the same without him. Good bye Sammy…

In capital ‘P’ Politics, ‘Occupy’ and the ‘99%’ movement may have deftly solved a problem that Socialists have been mulling over for decades: how to make the middle class realise they are part of the working class, and how to make the working class feel enfranchised by middle class dissent. More power to it. The 1% can be dismantled, I feel sure of it. They got the guns but we got the numbers.

In music, Morrissey ends the year without a record deal and I wonder/worry that we might have heard the last of him once again. In related news, Bon Iver overtook not just Elliott Smith but Morrissey himself as my most played artist this year. Times they are a-changin’…



Amy Winehouse died in July. Not long afterwards we went to Camden Square bearing gifts to say goodbye in the slightly flimsy but well-intentioned way that you might when somebody’s music has been in your heart through some important things. I’m so sad about it still. ‘Love Is A Losing Game’ always stopped me in my tracks but these days it sounds too sad to bear. It was a hot day in Camden and I’ll always remember the shadows on the High Street and the lovely friends I was with, and writing out lyrics with a silver pen on the train down to London like a teenager.


Here’s what the rest of 2011 looked like from here. This write-up has been brought to you by THESE SONGS RIGHT HERE


The family…

I became an uncle this year, not once but twice. After a somewhat agonising pregnancy for my poor little sister Clare, baby Jack arrived in January, complete with personality and appetite and sass from the off. He is the spit of Clare, ergo beautiful, but I sense a degree of forthcoming naughtiness previously pioneered by my brother Sean. Fun times ahead! Then in June little Stanley James followed for my big sister Emma and to start with he was just the opposite of Jack. He arrived a bit early and we had to worry and fuss over his weight, there was barely anything of him, he was like a little Victorian baby, all swaddled and passive. Then he just bloomed. I heard him giggle for the first time last week and, well, it’s just the reason you get out of bed in the morning isn’t it? Our two beautiful boys. There’s so much to show them, I can’t wait… *makes pile of books, records and travel guides*



The trips...


New York in March. Glastonbury in June. Berlin in September. Festival in Murcia. Loads of London and Stratford and Liverpool and Sheffield. And Salford...






The parties...


In the summer I DJ’d to help raise money for my friend Amber’s boob-job. In Liverpool I played at the Alternative Miss Liverpool pageant for a gorgeous crowd of gender terrorists in taffeta. Off The Hook had its first birthday party. Our new wayward disco baby Drunk At Vogue had her first outing after two years of daydreaming about it and several months of me and my friends working like disco dogs to make it happen. (Eyes peeled for more parties in the New Year). I’ve played at a gay wedding, a photography exhibition, on a boat on the Irwell, in a warehouse, a disused office, at Dalston Boys Club, Clique, Bollox, the Contact Theatre, the Northern Quarter Loves U Festival (before Mr Scruff!), in full Halloween make up and in my underwear at a fetish party. Good year.




The starfucking...


This year I met Jarvis Cocker backstage at the Town Hall after his wonderful interview with Dave Haslam. I ate some of his Pringles. I chatted to Victoria Wood at the International Festival. I slept in Elbow’s tipi at Glastonbury with Radiohead and The Chemical Brothers drinking on the grass outside. I saw the lovely Kirsten Dunst and the awful Lily Allen backstage. I drank and DJ’d with Joel Gibb in Berlin, swapped messages with John Grant about his Glastonbury appearance and the Weekend movie (more of which later), got invited to Spain by Jonsi, met Tim Burgess on Halloween, and had a full drunken body hug with Alan Hollinghurst. I think I’m done…




The movies...




I’ve been a lot to the movies lately; the last one ruined my heart...’ sang Jonas Alaska on one of my favourite songs of the year. He wasn’t wrong; a couple of real heartbreakers left their mark on me this year.

‘There was a mother who came to the [AIDS ward] and one... two... three times she lost her boys there...’

‘We really had a great time. We would go out dancing and then I would come home and sleep. Unfortunately none of those men are alive today...’

‘All of the guys in that office got infected. And they all died except one...’

‘Everybody in that study died but me...’

We Were Here was the documentary we were all waiting for. A handful of articulate and erudite voices talk us through their personal accounts of life in San Francisco at the time the AIDS epidemic hit the city. It was a time of weekly funerals and young gay men walking around ‘like concentration camp victims’ and of scarcely believable quantities of fortitude and love. Make it a duty to watch this film and pay your respects.


Like We Were Here, Weekend managed to be both life-affirming and terribly painful. Understated performances, incredibly sexy, and shot with the cinematic quality (and guidance) of a Quinnford and Scout photograph, this got under my skin in a way I hadn’t expected. As an almost-love-story it made a few people take a good hard look at themselves, myself included. I was supposed to go for post-movie drinks the night I watched it but I couldn’t; instead I walked around the city by myself for an hour in a cinematic and dreadfully upsetting fashion listening to ‘What’s In It For Me?’ by Avi Buffalo on endless repeat. But really, what’s in it for me? Maybe I should find out…


The boys…

Come off it, I’ve got to save something for the autobiography haven’t I?



The future...


Next year it will be ten years since I came out of the closet at the tender age of 24 (on my Mum’s birthday). To coin a 2011 phrase, It Gets Better. I’m making a list of resolutions as always; let’s see how life intervenes. I’m working on Novel Number 2 and maybe re-hashing Novel Number 1, or maybe not. DJing as much as I can, trying to make the world a better place, having a spring clean, the usual. As for the blog, I have an exciting project beginning in January. It’s called ‘Manchester: In Residents’ and every week or so I will hand the reins of Manhattanchester to a different fascinating individual to let them tell their own particular Manchester story; how they got here and where they’re at. Let’s see the city from the inside. I’ve already had some brilliant responses. Tune in…

To follow: 2011 in pictures …

4 comments:

A-Dolla said...

Darling I forgot we were in the same issue of Attitude! *flutters eyelashes* Here's to an even better 2012 xo

ste mccabe said...

Lovely blog Sir x

Dimitis said...

Amazing. Keep going x

Fat Roland said...

Hey, I was 24 too when I came out.

I hope you're going to give those Pringles back.