|MORE Music: JOHN PEEL muses on Mancunian music|
2nd October 1988
AS A MAN, who spent his formative on Merseyside, it has always been a source of irritation that so much of the music I prefer originates in Manchester, a city I was encouraged from an early age to believe was populated by the less than human. In the past decade no band has given greater pleasure than Manchester's The Fall, although they have been run close on occasion by the Smiths/Morrissey and New Order, both from the same city; and 1988 has been illuminated by the work of Dub Sex, the King of the Slums and the Inspiral Carpets, three of depressingly few new, white British bands to make an interesting noise of any sort. The last-named troupe played on Thursday at Manchester University, supporting the Primitives and supported by the John Peel Roadshow - Fat 49 and Fun! The Inspiral Carpets were unfortunate in having to follow the entertainer known as the Regurgitator, a man brought to public attention by Jonathan Ross and expert in swallowing lightbulbs, coins, lighter fuel, Rubic cube's, toy mice and live goldfish, bringing them back undamaged and in a sequence dictated by the audience. 'Do you want the goldfish back dead or alive?' he asked. 'Dead,' roared the students.
The reappearance of these effects was accompanied by such repulsive hawkings and coughings that they were nearly joined on stage by my cheese sandwich, and the ease with which this bizarre performer swallowed objects was so marked that when he called for 'a young lady' to join him on stage, a thrill of horror ran through the crowd. But the Carpets, a quintet of young men with an undemonstrative stage manner, battled back with a selection of catchy tunes deliciously prepared and presented, the whole garnished - if I may be so bold - with wonderfully cheesy organ of a type that made their choice of the encore the Mysterians '96 Tears' entirely reasonable.
In the past week, no record I have played on Radio 1 has attracted such interest as an LP called 'New Build' by 808 State, a collection of fervently elemental numbers which match the acid house pimitivism of recent 12-inch singles by ED 209 and A Guy Called Gerald. Although A Guy Called Gerald's record is released on New Brighton's Rham label, all of these state-of-the-dance-floor toetappers have their delightfully shadowy origins in Manchester.
A conversation, on Thursday afernoon with two members of 808 State revolved about the topic Manchester - Why & Whither? Apart from the suggestion (true) that Manchester's sense of community was less traumatised by grotesquely insensitive redevelopment in the 1950s and 1960s than Liverpool's, no-one had any sensible ideas as to why Manchester has been and shows every sign of remaining — in the vanguard of innovative pop music. My only consolation lay in Liverpool's comparable pre-eminence on the football field.
[Author: John Peel]