There were just the three of us again, it was a Wednesday evening and we’d travelled from York, hoping to get the 1.30am train back home again. Leeds Warehouse was our destination as The Bodines were playing that night. I was pretty excited as Happy Mondays were supporting, a band I’d heard a bit about but wanted to know more. All I knew was there were lots of them, they were signed to Factory and that Barney from New Order produced their second single.
I don’t remember much about the gig. They played, they played lots of songs from ‘Squirrel and G-Man’ the first album. I remember hearing ‘Desmond’ – the track which was removed from later pressings of the album. But I don’t remember much else. I came away from the gig knowing I wanted to see them again.
Saturday 3rd December 1988.
I was at London Astoria with my then-boyfriend. I’d travel down to London to hang out with him and watch bands. The thought of H doing that when she’s eighteen fills me with fear, my parents must have really felt it but good on them for trusting me. Loop were playing with a mysterious support. Ends up it’s Happy Mondays, possibly the least well matched support band for Loop, ever. People I currently work with went to that very gig and say pretty much the same thing. The Mancs on stage doing their thing, me happy as I’m getting to see them again even if nobody else seemed to care. This time the music felt coherent, like there was a proper dancey rhythm going on, down the front I stood taking photos, happy I had caught them live. Their second album ‘Bummed’ had been released a couple of months before then, an album I already owned so I knew the songs, I was happy too.
10th February 1989. Probably a Saturday.
Happy Mondays played ULU. I don’t remember anything about it. I was there though. Probably drunk.
Tuesday 28th February 1989.
This time it’s Leeds Warehouse all over again, nearly two years since the first time. Support comes from The Bridewell Taxis who were kicking up a bit of a storm in Leeds at the time and seemed to get all the ‘baggy’ support slots. This time things were better though, I was with my friends and had my tape recorder and extra batteries – and snuck into the venue early. Back then I wrote a fanzine and you went for your moment when you could. People bought my fanzine and seemed to like it – I could easily shift nearly 1000 copies per issue, and it was all my own work. That was kind of weird but good.
So I got chatting to the guitarist Mark Day, then Paul the keyboardist, before Shaun Ryder joined us and was a great interviewee and I remember thinking he was a top bloke and felt like he respected us – we weren’t some piddly fanzine writers (although we were). I complained about their t-shirts costing £8, and he returned with one and said to me “here, have a dressing gown”. Some random bloke also gave us some grief and he said to come and find him if he continued and he’d ‘have a word’. But no, no more hassle from this man, Mr Ryder was great, and I was pretty happy with my interview.
The gig was excellent too. Right down the front getting the best photos I’ve ever had of the band. I got that 1.30 train home too, it still existed then.
The keyboard player said he’d put me on the guestlist for their gig at Manchester International 2.
11th March 1989.
I’m in Manchester. I am with two chaps I know, random ones, one of whom owns a car so therefore he drives us to the gig. We’re staying at a friend of his house that night, and I seem to remember us going to the arts centre, the name of which escapes me to all watch The Manchurian Candidate. After that we drove to the venue, and somehow got in. The band was amazing, possibly the best time I’ve ever seen them. Tony Wilson was walking around the venue in a long white suit, we stood in awe as Mr Manchester was there in front of us. I took no photos. It’s just stuck in my head now.
The band played a stormer, we all left smiling. We ended up going to the old Factory club for a random night there, much of which I don’t remember other than having to walk through Moss Side in the early hours of the morning.
We all stayed at some random friend of theirs house, then headed back to York the following day.
That’s it really. I think sometimes I need to repeat my own life to myself to think about how I will slowly let go of things with H when she gets older. I know that time will come. I know I have plenty of time ahead of me to think about it, but right now thinking of my mum and dad and the amount of freedom I got from them in my later teens, I just have to thank them. Then learn that at some point you let go. Not quite yet, but one day.
I’m adding this to Flashback Friday, for no reason other than I saw Happy Mondays are touring Bummed at the end of the year, and all the album was released 25 years ago. Oh my.