My 1988

I have been getting nostalgic over the last few days, thinking about my years in Manchester from 1988 to 1992, and in particular my first year there in 1988/1989. Music has always been an important part of living and I still listen to a lot of music from that era. I think for many people, their college years play a massive part in determining the music they will be listening to for the rest of their life and that was certainly the case for me, if not by way of specific bands then certainly styles of music. I spent a while earlier in the week casting my mind back to what I was listening to then and the albums and songs which will always take me back to that time. Wednesday night The Ritz, Thursday night the Hacienda Temperance Club, gigs in the Student Union bar,  beer in Jabez Clegg, veggie grub in On the eighth day, heading into town on my bike at least once a week to Piccadilly Records and Eastern Bloc to check out what had come out that week, food shopping in Rusholme – Kwiksave, Greggs the bakers seconds store, the Indian shops (completely fazed by the fact that the students from London could afford to shop at a big name supermarket like Sainsburys), saving up to buy the latest cool t-shirt from Afflecks Palace, going over to Sheffield to see a schoolmate to watch the Wedding Present, furnishing the flat with cheap plants from the poundstore on Piccadilly gardens which used to be just down from Piccadilly Records next to that really whiffy chippy, the weekly student market in the union selling indian drapes, multicoloured hippy clothes, and loads of bootleg vinyl and cassettes, weekend trips out to the moors,  the taste of Rusholme for the first time, the Ducie Arms, visiting mates who lived in those weird halls of residence above the precinct, a bit of culture in the art gallery in Whitworth Park, going to all the places recommended in the various student guides, visiting all these strange halls of residence which mates had moved into. In retrospect just seeing how all these different eighteen year olds reacted to total freedom was amazing. Some withdrew, some got depressed, some just carried on as if mum and dad were still watching and some went of the rails completely, indulging in major drink and drug fests. I think everyone found out a lot more about themselves though. Going north was the best thing that had ever happened to me and it’s scary just how much of that time has stayed with me – I can literally hear, smell and taste it at times.

1998 was perhaps my most interesting year musically as there is a clear split between the period when I was still at school and the period after I had started at university.

At school, my inspiration came from my mates in the sixth form and what was being played on the radio by John Peel. There was also a lad I worked with on Saturdays in Superdrug who I discovered on his first day was also really into The House of Love and the Wedding Present and who lent me records which was great. Awfully I can’t even remember his christian name but he was ace. We were both heading into a major adventure at university at the end of the summer and keeping in touch was never a priority.

At university the influences came from all directions, not least from flatmates like Sharpey and Andy Skateboard and the girls in the flat upstairs. Possibly the biggest influence was the fact that I was in the city where everything was happening. The ecstacy fuelled “second summer of love” had just happened and house music was everywhere, The Smiths, the Hacienda and New Order had already put the name of Manchester on the map (and were probably the main reason for a good percentage of the student applications to Manchester at that time – I certainly knew a lot of people for whom they had been a big factor) and the scene was set for a new generation of Mancunian revellers and hangers on to make their mark. Consequently I would find myself at a James and Happy Mondays gig in the Ritz one night, dancing to indie music in the Cellar bar the next, watching Spacemen 3 at the Hacienda the next and getting drunk at a local Irish pub the next after a curry on Oxford Road.

Yes, I am a compulsive list making bloke.  Sorry, I can’t do anything about it. I love lists.

Whilst at school.

Sugarcubes – Life’s too good/The House of Love – the House of Love & Destroy the Heart & Christine/The Smiths – Rank/Morrissey – Viva Hate/Prince – Lovesexy/The Primitives – Crash/AR Kane – 69/Scritti Politti – Provision/The Fall – The Frenz Experiment/Michelle Shocked – Short Sharp Shocked/Talking Heads – Naked/Lloyd Cole & the Commotions – Mainstream/Everything but the Girl – Idlewild/Erasure – The Innocents/Pet Shop Boys – Introspective

Once at university.

Dinosaur Jr – Bug & Freak Scene / Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation / Pixies – Come on Pilgrim, Gigantic  & Surfer Rosa/Happy Mondays – Wrote for Luck & Bummed/The Fall – Kurious Oranj/Butthole Surfers – Hairway to Steven/My Bloody Valentine – Feed me with your kiss & You made me realise & Isn’t anything/Martin Stephenson – Gladsome Humour and Blue/The Wedding Present – Nobody’s twisting your arm/Loop – Collision/Big Black – Songs about Fucking & Atomiser/A Guy called Gerald – Voodoo Ray/New Order – Fine Time/James – Stutter & Strip Mine/Cocteau Twins – Bluebell Knoll/Electribe 101 – Talking with myself/Rapeman – Two nuns and a packmule

There was a definite change in September 1988.


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