Tag Archives: Madchester

Rocks In The Attic #394: Happy Mondays – ‘Pills ‘n’ Thrills And Bellyaches’ (1990)

RITA#394I think I might be allergic to music that comes from Manchester. I’ve never hid my dislike of Oasis, but I also never liked the wave of bands that came before them. Only now, half way around the world and twenty five years later can I finally start to appreciate bands like the Smiths, the Stone Roses and these fellas, the Happy Monday.

I don’t think it’s the music by these bands that turned me off them. Instead it was the type of people who liked these bands that alienated me. They’re all popular bands, and just like with any popular bands, there’ll be an element of non-music fans following them. Or sheep, you could say.

In the case of the ‘Madchester’ years, those non-music fans represented the distasteful element in Manchester. They still do. Lads in Ben Sherman shirts, roaming the city centre; or retards walking around in cagoules in the middle of summer. Are you going on a hiking trip? No? Just going to the football? Hmm.

I once passed Tony Wilson doing his shopping in the Sainsburys at the end of Mancunian Way, heading towards Salford. He was leaning over the trolley he was pushing slowly down the aisle, and I remember he was shopping from a list. I was too nervous to say hello, and I’ll never get the chance now, but what I would say to him – if I had the balls, which I know I don’t – was that I thought he was wrong about the Happy Mondays.

In 24 Hour Party People, Wilson refers to Shaun Ryder as a genius. I just can’t stomach that. I’ll accept that Ryder might have been the spokesman for that generation – the Ecstasy generation – in the UK, but the word ‘genius’ does not apply. ‘Lucky fool’ is more apt.

Hit: Step On

Hidden Gem: Dennis And Lois

Rocks In The Attic #364: The Soup Dragons – ‘Lovegod’ (1990)

RITA#364The Soup Dragons’ cover of I’m Free reminds me of secondary school, of 5th form block, of dark blue school uniform sweatshirts, of sitting next to Wes Ellison in registration and talking about last night’s episode of The Mary Whitehouse Experience, Red Dwarf or Newman & Baddiel.

Maybe it was the age I was when this came out – eleven going on twelve – but I didn’t see 1990 as the optimist start to a bright new decade. I had other things to think about around then. For one, I was deeply interested in the “sport” of WWF wrestling. Any other free time was taken up watching John Carpenter films or searching through SKY TV to discover shiny, new American things like The Simpsons. I definitely had no time to listen to music. Yet.

In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t get into music earlier than I did. If I had done, I would have probably been a fan of music like this – mediocre Madchester-era indie. It would have meant joining an already existing bandwagon, rather than developing my own taste (for something that nobody else was interested in).

Hit: I’m Free

Hidden Gem: Drive The Pain