Tuesday, 11 September 2012
I Spy The Smiths
These I-Spy books were popular in the 1960s and 70s, supposedly to keep children from being bored on long car journeys. You had to tick off things from each page. Harder or rarer spots were worth more points. If you completed a book I think you could write off somewhere for a certificate or something.
The Smiths split up twenty five years ago last month. I was reminded of this while reading one of The Vinyl Villain's The Smiths On British TV posts (Vicar In A Tutu here). Something else occurred to me. I think The Smiths may be the only band I could complete an I-Spy page for, having seen all four members in an everyday environment. I wondered about New Order and whilst not seeing Bernard or Hooky was probably worth more points at various times in Manchester's recent history, and I've seen Stephen a couple of times, I don't think I've ever spotted Gillian Gilbert. Similarly I've seen three of four Stone Roses out and about but I never saw Reni. But maybe no-one did.
So, The Smiths. I bumped into Mike Joyce (almost literally) a few years ago at Broadheath retail park. Broadheath retail park is as dreary as it sounds, a huge car park surrounded by sheds containing DIY shops, cheap sports goods, a McDonalds and a Toys R Us. Mike was wheeling a trolley into a DIY store as I was exiting. Or maybe it was Sainsburys in Altrincham. It was somewhere just south of here anyway. 'Sorry' I mumbled. 'That's Mike Joyce' I whispered to Mrs Swiss. This was not too long after his court case win and I noted he was wearing a new looking leather coat.
Andy Rourke is a Sale lad, grew up not too far from here. I've seen him in town at least once, Dry Bar I think. Not too many points for a bassist are there?
Johnny Marr? Again, spotted a couple of times, the most memorable being in the late 90s in a now defunct nightclub (can't remember it's name) on Oldham Street where we'd gone to see Andrew Weatherall dj. He was playing techno, one of my party wasn't getting it at all. Johnny Marr turned up in a floral shirt and stood with his party and wife Angie not far from us. Not much frugging from Mr and Mrs Marr I'm afraid but a good points total I think.
Morrissey, whatever you think of him, must bag the most points though especially as he hasn't lived in Manchester for years and is somewhat reclusive. For some reason I'd gone with Mrs Swiss and a few friends for an afternoon pint in The Railway in Hale village, just round the corner from where CJ and his cousin N were renting rooms in a house owned by another friend. The fact that we were afternoon drinking puts this somewhere between 1994 and 1998. We ordered and took our pints into the front room,where to our surprise the only occupants were Morrissey and a big bloke with a skinhead. Morrissey glanced in our direction but largely ignored us. One of my party attempted various bits of low level attention seeking to get a reaction from Moz (putting a cagoul on with the hood up and pulling the draw strings tight around his face, etc) while the rest of us attempted to play it cool. Morrissey ignored us, chatted to his friend and then swept out. That must be worth a good few points eh?
Obviously I'd like to make it clear these are all random encounters, and not stalking.
Please, Please, Please, Let Me get What I Want (Live USA 1986)
This is a cracking live version of Please, Please, Please from the Thank Your Lucky Stars bootleg.