This week the records have come out with me on a Sunday afternoon shopping trip to Longsight Asda to buy ingredients for a cottage pie, which is of course exactly the same thing as a shepherd's pie in just the same way as a cod is exactly the same fish as a haddock, and Delia Smith has been having us on all these years just the same as those rotten dirty lowdown conmen the fishmongers. Anyway you will be pleased to note that there are no shots of the meat aisle of Longsight Asda, which is pretty much the same as the meat aisle in every other Asda I am sure, but plenty of shots of slate grey skies and 192 buses, which as I am sure you know is the only bus route in Manchester to have a poem written about it. Oh and we also feature the very picturesque Manchester Supermarket, which was known for years as the London Supermarket until one day it suddenly realised what city it was in and rather dissappointingly changed its signs. The Manchester Supermarket is the sort of place where you go in and are so overwhelmed by the variety of exotic spices on display (there are 16 different kinds of chili, and bags of paprika the size of bags of cement) that you end up coming out with just a medium-sized jar of olives which you have purchased apologetically in a vain effort to prove you are not some sort of dumb white inner-city grocery fetishist. That's what I did last week, anyway. This week as you can see I contented myself with taking photos of the clientele while they were trying to select their onions, which I am sure pleased them no end.
Right then, let's get on with it shall we boys and girls....
Song 22: Wonderstuff... Don't Let Me Down
Another set of ne'erdowells from the Black Country, Wonderstuff were the acceptable face of Grebo, the movement defined by Stuart Maconie as encompassing 'any bunch of lads with long straggly hair who came from Stourbridge and lived in a van'. Me and a mate once came to see them at the Apollo Manchester (it was the first time I had ever been to Manchester in fact, we had come on the train from Wolverhampton and been almost blinded by the bright lights of the big city) and were nearly beaten up by some overzealous bouncers for the offence of trying to escape from our seats and join the long-haired Grebo kids in the moshpit who seemed to be having a much better time than we were.
Song 23: Jesus and Mary Chain... April Skies
Years before the likes of Wonderstuff and Pop Will Eat Itself made an artform out of half-drunken Grebo shambolicness, The Mary Chain were alternately inspiring and frightening the life out of audiences the length and breadth of the country with their hellcat antics. On their day they could be downright brilliant; April Skies was one of those all-too-rare days.
Song 24: Morrissey.... Last of the Famous International Playboys
From a rented room in Whalley Range our Mozzer seems to have come down a peg or two, and now finds himself in Strangeways slammer, reflecting on how a misplaced fixation with certain infamous Cockney gangsters could lead a fellow into a grim life of crime. I remember this one coming on the jukebox in the Barley Mow on Newcastle Quayside (when the Quayside was still an indiepop haven for sensitive souls who wouldn't last five yards on the Bigg Market, and hadn't yet been colonised by chain bars and well-heeled Norwegian playboys) and everyone in the place spontaneously erupting into song. Morrissey himself would have joined in if he had been there, I imagine- or maybe he would have just shuffled in his shoes and stared morosely into his pint. Either way I don't know if his post-Smiths career ever hit these sublime heights again.