manchester in the rain

real love in manchester

do you adore the picture above?… it pretty much encapsulates everything i felt over the past weekend in manchester.
the lovely casual,yet dressy street style of many of the younger ones…bracing the cold elements together….their warm homey company.
in the photograph below,something wrenched at my heart in the hugest way,and i had to go back the next day with my camera to take a photograph..
i wish i’d have taken my camera with me on the saturday when that fish n chip shop had its shutters up,
cause on the glass window was a scribbled piece of paper that said *pensioners lunch…fish n chips..peas…two slices of bread and butter..pot of tea..£3.00*.
i loved was a proper working cafe,and the chips looked good too.
as a songwriter,i can’t help but be heavily drawn to those sort of places..
they remind me of my childhood, and make me feel connected to life…
they make me want to live,where sometimes when i walk up some corporate generic high street, i want to bloody well die of loneliness..
not that grittier places can cure anyone of loneliness,but somehow that little corner chippy realigned my inner compass for a moment.
a sense of my own history and life span..if that makes any sense.
and right across the street from it was a wool shop … wool…that ancient raw material of which our mothers worked with to keep us warm and alive.
fish n chips
woolIMG_7449 - Version 2while walking round the city with my dearheart,something occurred to me regarding the music of manchester..
it’s the sound of rain… the hollies sang about it in their song*bus stop*…
even peter hook,the bass player from new order/joy division..the weird effect that he throws on his bass guitar sounds wet….but wet in a good way.
that 10cc song *i’m not in love*… it’s the sound of rain…i can hear the rain in oasis and smiths records too.
i do not hear sunshine in manchester music,and it’s all the lovelier for it…it’s soaked to the bone.
and just look at that photograph of the record shop…the northern pride of it…all those manchester artists reigning proud in the front window.
it kills me,and i love it.

even my reasons for visiting manchester were music related.
there’s a music shop called forsyth brothers that has a particular guitar that i couldn’t find in london,
and the other reason was to visit a friend who i’ve know for nearly thirty years.
now she is very interesting…
we got to know each other in london when she was the head of regional promotion for a record label,and we remained friends ever since.
she grew up in burnage as a neighbour to the gallagher family[oasis],and knows the boys and their mother well…
so y’know she is very working class,but now she lives in a posh part of manchester called wilmslow.
this is often the way of working class folk….
because they’ve known a grittier life,they acquire a taste for things that are perhaps a bit more … sumptuous.
…and who can blame them/us…
so we visit my friend terrie,and wouldn’t you know it,she has a white axminster carpet on her floor…
completely impractical,yet flipping lovely all the same…
i totally understand that kind of taste…
posh folk would be all floorboards and persian rugs,but with terrie,we were up to our knees in brand new white pure wool axminster carpet,and it was so very comfortable on the senses.
she took us out for dinner to a place called alderly edge…it was all a bit footballers wives,but her company means everything.
i love it when she regails me with all her stories of working with everyone from thin lizzy,to organising michael jacksons visits to england…
all over her house are photos of her with micheal and various other rock n roll stars…
she dresses up too..that’s another thing about the working classes..they love to scrub up,where posh bastards are often scruffier on an evening out..

the following day was sunday,and all hung over from endless bottles of champagne, we drifted round the city and took these photos…
i giggled when i bumped into liam gallaghers clothes shop…there’s something hilarious about him staring down seriously from that wall.
retail is something i know nothing about,but i couldn’t help but imagine liams brother noel,mercilessly taking the piss out of the whole expensive venture…
i like noel gallagher a lot..i think he’s bright as buttons,and liam is a joyous singer..i know all the stories about him being daft, but all the same.
there’s one story about liam going nuts on an aeroplane…
half the people on the flight are passengers he and his brother are paying the tickets for,and he sees this old couple eating scones…
he’s homesick,and the scones seem comforting and homelike to him,but he’s told he can’t have he goes off his trolly..
the poor tired chap just wants a fucking scone …give him his fucking scone for gods sake….hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
how could no one not understand that?!
pretty daft
music shop

i loved that forsyth brothers musical instruments shop in the above photo …
a proper old school music store.
a floor of pianos
another for guitars…
orchestral instruments gleaming in their display cabinets..french horns…silvery flutes.
i was in heaven,even if i didn’t buy the guitar i came up for.

gawwwd…i sound like a tourist who’d never been to manchester,
but it’s just as you get older,you tune into the heart of things a little more maybe.
i’d played in the university a few times…even done telly there…
but my best memory was visiting manchester as a fourteen year old to stay with my sister who was training to be a physiotherapist..
i felt like an the city dream…living on vesta curry..playing her flatmates records…
when i went back to northern ireland a week later,i kept the sweets i’d bought there,for personal proof that the week had actually happened .

anyway readers,i’m back out in the countryside again…
the final photo is from my bedroom this morning which might go some way to explaining how my senses get so heightened by city life.
i hope the introspection wasn’t too boring,but i had to give diary to such a great music city,with its ornate pubs,and warm people.
all my loving…mary of the wilderness.
coronation street 2
coronation street 1
IMG_7436 - Version 2
paper in the rain

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10 Responses to manchester in the rain

  1. Nemorino says:

    Thanks, MC. Thoughtful appreciation of a great city. I’m a Londoner but have a deep and abiding affection for Manchester. Memories of my first visit (in 1979 – just left school) and being taken by some blokes we’d met in a pub deeper and deeper into the city night to Hulme to the old Factory Club (to see Madness!) still resonate today.


  2. Wonderful ! Reminds me of going back home to Liverpool and returning to Wally and Centerport NY I had forgotten all about vesta curries I lived on them in Brighton when I’d run away at seventeen , how time flies . Pete


    • oh yes pete…those vesta curries in the little boxes…madras flavour!…i imagine manchester and liverpool are very similar..i remember staying in a crumbly grand hotel in liverpool once called the adelphi,and there was this great old victorian swimming pool and sauna in the basement there…it goes without saying that i spent a lot of my time down there….hahahahaha…thanks for reading pete…and love to matthew.


  3. Peter Routley says:

    Beautiful. Spot on, Canny and honest.


  4. Peter Routley says:

    You write beautifully, as always. I felt like I was there too. I LOVE getting older. I’m not saying I didn’t always appreciate things when I was younger but I appreciate them more now.


  5. Tony Lawson says:

    Thanks for the ramble 🙂


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