Birdland

In December 1986 my parents decided to move house, away from South Manchester to rural Cheshire (a village eight miles from Chester). I was sixteen and stayed on at friends for three weeks after they moved to complete the first term in sixth form- that was my official reason anyway. They moved because my Dad got a different job but partly I think to remove some of us from Manchester and it’s distractions. Which may not have worked too well seeing as most of us moved back sooner or later. On the last day of term (almost exactly twenty six years ago today) there was an end of term social at Cellar Vie off Albert Square in the city centre, which doubled as my leaving do. It was, I think, the first time I’d been in a nightclub, and I also got off with a girl in fishnets who I’ve never seen since.

Starting 1987 in Chester was different to Manchester. Chester’s an alright little town. In 1987 it had a typical small town indie scene- three clubs, two of whom did an indie night on a Monday, a decent record shop and a shop, Tudor House, that specialised in the whole range of indie needs- second hand records, paisley shirts, bandannas, Chelsea boots, posters. It was outside this shop that one of my brothers and I bumped into Birdland, touring the nation’s smaller gig venues. Birdland were named after a New York jazz club, four bottle blonde mop-tops with leather jackets, black drainpipes and winklepickers. Much loved by the music press briefly, they were surly and arrogant in interviews and in person too. In that two year gap between the end of The Smiths and the arrival of Madchester a mass of half-arsed indie racketeers made the front cover of the NME or Melody Maker, only to be swept away by the funky drummer and ecstacy. I didn’t stay near or in Chester very long- eighteen months later I went to University and then three years after that moved back to Manchester. By which point I’d lost touch with my school friends from Manchester and then went on to lose touch pretty quickly with the ones I’d made in Chester.

Hollow Heart

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