Friday Tunes: And In the Sixth Form, God Created MANchester
Last year, Jungle Studios' Chris Turner got us dancing to the musical masterpieces of his hometown, Sheffield. This time he's taking us back to his teenage years of misadventure in Manchester...
It was my first day in sixth form, (I’d missed my GCSE’s due to an appendectomy) and unlike the other inbetweeners there, I was about to spend a year re-sitting my exams.
I’d spent the summer hanging out with my friend Matt, listening to his older brothers’ record collections, drinking coffee and tuning in to John Peel, it was the best education I’d ever had.
Matthew liked anything John Peel liked and so did I. Over the summer we talked about our favorite songs, what they meant to us and hatched drunken plans. This was the year we were going to be grown-ups; we were going to get laid…and sell toast.
Well here we were toaster from home, bread, jam, butter and marmalade. We were ready to sell 16 year olds something their parents no longer felt was their responsibility to serve: TOAST! It went well, so well we doubled our order everyday for a week. Then we were rumbled, “Come with me boys we need a chat……Look what you’re doing is fantastic, a service and VERY entrepreneurial BUT if you’re going to do that on school property then the profits need to go to CAFOD (Catholic Fund For Overseas Development) ok?” The answer was a simple no, and in that brief exchange I was now certain she was going to fail me in Humanities.
So that’s toast done! What next? Oh yeah that Holy Grail of things when you’re young and NOT in love, sex. I wanted it and I wanted it now! What to do? I’d spent weeks kissing Jenny in the nun’s cemetery, never getting past second base but with the occasional slap for trying. It was time to meet older girls. It was time for me and Matt to become students!
No not sixth form we’d already graduated to that, well not me, UNIVERSITY! We had older friends at Uni, so we pretended to be them, “Excuse me, I know it’s only week 2 or whatever but we’ve lost our Union cards; blah blah.”
EASIEST THING WE’D EVER DONE, we were in and we were going to get laid…. a laminated Union pass to nirvana. Things were looking up! We now spent all our evenings at gigs in the Lower Refectory and in the Union bar.
I enjoyed the freedom of sixth form and the fact that all the bullies from fifth year had all left to go and work for their dads. It was a cultured place, people exchanged books, we had Smiths posters on the wall and best of all we had a ghetto blaster. By the end of the first term we were nearly all vegetarian, because you know “Meat is murder”.
We didn’t know yet but this was the second summer of love, and there was definitely a change in the air. I’d almost given up on girls ever since a night at the Nelson Mandela building where I’d delivered the perfect chat up line and been rebuffed, “Hey do any of you bitches know Kung FU?” I was lassoed to my back, a Doc Martin boot resting on my face and three girls looking down at me laughing.
I’d made a new friend in sixth form, Richard, he’d passed his driving test at the first opportunity, we liked the same music and he’d introduced me to some great new bands. “Let’s go to Manchester” he said, “I’ve got my Dad’s car.” That was that, we were off. Almost everyday in the summer holidays we drove over the moors from Sheffield to Manchester, listening to all the latest music to come from there. First stop was always Affleck’s Palace for shopping, then the Dry Bar hoping to meet the Happy Mondays or the Roses. Every evening we went to another gig, and on one occasion The Haçienda.
I’d been clubbing before but never there. It was a nervous wait in the queue; I was wearing my Happy Mondays long sleeved-T, 501’s black (not Joe Bloggs baggy,) Converse All Stars and a necklace of brightly coloured beads. It was my turn to go in. Nervously playing with my necklace the bouncer looked me up and down before saying, “ID?” Every bead on the necklace tumbled to the floor like a Skittles ad, this wasn’t going well. I handed him my Student Union Card and reached down to collect my beads, “leave those and go in.”
As summer went on we’d been to every gig everywhere, tonight we were closer to home. Union card in hand I gained entry, The Soup Dragons were playing. Richard had brought a couple of friends with him, girls! They were hot. The band was good and every lyric seemed to be talking to me, telling me to kiss her, and then I did without a single word. Music is powerful, especially in the mind of 17 year old. I didn’t go home that night and in fact I didn’t go home for a year. Something happened that night. I got laid.
Relive Chris's youth and listen to his MADchester-inspired playlist below or open it in your browser here.