Enough energy to light Blackpool

Shit it’s that pestering fucking landlord!
The knocking on the door woke me.
I didn’t know the time, but knew it was morning coz I felt like a bag of shit.
I pulled the duvet over my head and waited for that spike in my life to
disappear off up the road.
Knock knock knock….
Fuck surely he’s got the idea by now!!
I’m fucking skint!
I’ve spent the last 2 months of rent money on drugs, records and bangles.
If I answered the door I’d just bombard him with yet another stream of charming lies, leaving him confused and monetarily undernourished.

‘You’re wasting your time Landlord…..go and fuck someone else’s day!!’

Still coming round from sleep when I realise Paul my flatmate is now knocking on my bedroom door.

‘Jules, Jules the band are here!’
What!? What!
What the fuck…!!!!??!!!!
‘They said they were coming at half 10!!’
‘It’s half 10 now Jules!’!!!!!
‘Whaat Half 10 in the fucking morning!
You’ve just gotta be kidding!!’
‘What kind of band is that?’

I looked through the window and saw Jaime grinning up at the window, with a knowing twinkle.

‘Give me 5 mins Jaime; I’ve just woken up mate’.

I recoiled back into my room before I got a reply.
Shit shit shit!!!
Action action!!
I looked round my room for departure prompts.
Keys, cigs, dope, loose change, plectrum and horrible death metal bass guitar I’d managed to borrow from some creepy mate of Tims (another creepy guy).
Most of my clothes were already on from last night, so only half of that job to do!
Clean teeth…
Back in room for last look around for items I may need….
nope! got everything.
Quick pause to recalibrate.
A moment of silence….

Well here goes… The beginning of Marion.

I swung my front door open and ‘vogued’ myself onto the pavement, Jaime, Tony, Phil, Murad and guitars were shoehorned into a Ford Fiesta.

Mustard would be the best description of its colour… looked hand painted and done in a hurry. The back wheels were groaning inside the arches under all the weight. It reminded me of one of those overloaded donkeys you see in the middle east.

They were all grinning and chatting, it was a little hive of activity and mischief.
I sauntered up to the car, feeling important.
I looked good and people were waiting for me!

Yes!!! this is my kind of world! :)
Informal greetings all round. The only person I hadn’t met before was Tony.
But when I heard that quiet little giggle from under that massive fringe, I knew immediately I liked him.
I could tell he wasn’t a huggy person, so I leaned past Murad and imposed an over long and sentimental hug on him.

As we set off I heard Jaime and Phil giggling in the front seats like school boys.
They were fiddling around trying to de-mist the windscreen. Each time they turned up the heater control, the air vents let out a warm trumpy smell.
Although it amused me, I decided not to laugh . . . didn’t wanna give too much away on first day of new school.

I had no idea where we were rehearsing, and kind of liked the mystery.
But it seemed like an obvious question to ask….

‘We rehearse in the basement of The Night and Day cafe in Manchester’ Said Jaime, still giggling at the car heater with Phil.

‘Wow’ I said, wishing I’d got more leg room.

‘How often do you guys practice?’

‘Every day’ said Phil.

‘What?’ I said, trying to sound breezy – ‘you travel to Manchester every day like this?’

‘Yes’ they chorused with ironically feigned enthusiasm.

‘Well, we started rehearsing every day from last week’ Said Murad.

I felt my heart sink a bit at the thought of waking up early, to be jammed in a flatulating car for 2 hours a day, 6 days a week!

The journey was accompanied by a back drop of The Buzzcocks being played really loudly on the world’s shittest car stereo.

The Buzzcocks jarred mercilessly on my ears, still groggy from last night’s dope and shit boring trance music.

I’d not heard The Buzzcocks since I was a kid, totally forgotten about them actually, but Jaime’s detailed enthusiasm made them seem magic.

I started to settle into the journey and found my footing within the youthful power play of the boys.
I liked where I positioned myself on the pyramid and felt assured I had a confident role within the band.

The guys were great and the vibe already had an air of destiny.
5 buzzing guys cramped into a tiny little car, generating enough energy to light Blackpool!

Yes!!! This is my kind of world!

Entering Manchester was a bit surreal, the rhythm of daily activity was tangibly more urgent than Macclesfield. Car horns, buses, a billion people weaving around, stop lights every few metres and the smell of every continent cooking goodies, all at the same time.

The switch had gone on.
We’re no longer farm punks from the hills!
We’re a cool mysterious band strutting and shimmying around town….
Manchester Town….
Magical Manchester town!
I’ll take that back….
Manchester’s a fuckin dump!!

Actually I’d better take that back too!
Anyway it was in 1994.
Affleck’s Palace had turned into a fucking ‘souvenir of itself’.
The Arnadale centre looked like a giant portaloo.

There was building work going on everywhere And it was freezing.

We all rolled out of the car once we’d parked in the northern quarter.

‘The Night and Day cafe is just round the corner’ said Phil, observing my wonderment at some of the derelict mills practically falling down around the car. Jaime was almost paternal on that short walk to the Cafe.

‘We’ll have a nice cup of real coffee upstairs in the cafe before we start Jules’ he said.

I liked Jaime.
He was the friendly face in the classroom on your first day of a new school.

Phil and Murad were in front of us joking around and pushing each other off the pavement.

Tony was silently marching behind us with his hands fixed in his pockets.

‘Wait till you meet Joe Moss Jules! You’ll love him’ Jaime beamed

‘Who’s Joe Moss?’ I asked, loving this whole scene more with each step.

‘He’s our manager; you’ll get on great with him. He smokes rollies and talks about cool things like books and obscure musicians’

Jaime’s enthusiasm was infectious; he effortlessly invited value to situations and people. A trait I long for.

‘We’re the first band Joe has managed since The Smiths’ said Jaime, as he pushed open the door of the Night and Day cafe….

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