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Friday, 18 March 2011

Dave Haslam and Bernard Sumner at Manchester International Festival

It is the 1990s, and in a distant corner of Somerset a seventeen year old girl is being grilled by her teachers about what universities she plans to apply to. Many of her classmates are applying to Oxford or Cambridge; her parents are hoping she will decide to do likewise, or perhaps go somewhere nice, like York. But the girl is seventeen, and therefore knows better. She wants to go to the coolest city in Britain, if not the world. She wants to go to Manchester.

Really, it's a wonder it all worked out as well as it did. I had no idea that Manchester was a "good" university when I applied; all I cared about was getting in on the action and living in what seemed to be an impossibly glamorous city. Indeed, I never even checked the actual content of the course when I applied, thus leading to many painful hours translating Beowulf from Old English during my first year; my own fault, some might say. My parents were secretly aghast, I think; the Madchester scene was at its height, and the papers - often inaccurately, it turned out - were full of shootings in Moss Side and Ecstasy-related deaths in clubs.

Just as inaccurately, my own head was filled with the casual encounters I was bound to have with the great and good of Manchester; a sighting of Steven Patrick Morrissey here, a glimpse of New Order there. Of course, this didn't happen, but luckily I was too busy dancing with boys my own age at The Academy to care. And now, ironically enough after all these years, the great and good of Manchester are indeed starting to cross my path - witness the following evidence:

1. Clint Boon of the Inspirals follows me on Twitter. Now, as he currently follows 886 people, I'm not sure that he tracks my splendid witticisms particularly closely, but he does sometimes say nice things to me and that's good enough for me.

2. Last time I went to Bop Local, the DJ was actual Mike Joyce, off of the actual Smiths. I like to think how excited my seventeen-year-old self would be to know this fact, sat alone in her room sporting a devastatingly unflattering Meat is Murder t-shirt; I would drop a kind hint or two to ditch the shirt though.

3. Mr Liz last night attended the Jameson Cult Film Club showing of the Ian Curtis biopic Control at Manchester Academy 2, where two blokes apparently wandered on stage for a chat before the film. One of these men was New Order stalwart Stephen Morris, although the terrifyingly ignorant Mr Liz blithely tweeted that it wasn't actually a member of New Order, just a drummer... *starts divorce proceedings*

4. Last year I went to Folk School to drink wine and learn about music journalism with Dave Haslam. I wrote an album review, and Dave Haslam, King of the Hacienda, LIKED IT.

5. And finally, speaking of my erstwhile tutor, Dave Haslam is doing a range of his excellent Close Up events as part of the True Faith showcase during this year's Manchester International Festival. On July 4th he is talking to Bernard Sumner. I am going. I am in the front row. I am excited. I like to think I will come up with an insightful question, one so profound and thought-provoking that the whole audience gasps with approval and Bernard immediately marries me. Yet sadly I know that it's far more likely that the seventeen-year-old girl will make a reappearance and I won't dare say anything.

Still, it's a start...

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