I suspect several of you know the Scottish writer Andrew O’Hagan.
He was a new name to me but our book circle have just been reading his excellent novel Mayflies, a very funny and moving portrait of male friendships. And once I finished that I’ve been browsing sundry short pieces about his Glasgow childhood and his family. The more I read, the more I like him.
Fireflies is such an Afterword novel. The first half of the book describes a visit to Manchester in 1986 by a group of five Scottish lads from Ayrshire to attend the Festival of the Tenth Summer. This was a ten-event, week-long extravaganza held to celebrate 10 years of punk, culminating in concert headlined by New Order and The Smiths at the GMex Centre. A gig and a half! Was this Manchester’s finest musical hour?
O’Hagan captures the excitement of a group of devoted Peelite teens visiting what must have been one of the most exciting cities in the world for music. He has a great ear for the banter of nerdy 80s music fans.
I never got to Manchester in the heyday of the Hacienda or go for a haircut at the Factory Records salon. I was stuck in Helsinki.
But maybe some of you were there and would like to share your memories?
Here’s a thread to celebrate the music of Manchester, not to mention the films and novels that have emerged from that great metropolis.
The Durutti Column, The Buzzcocks, The Fall, Oasis, Badly Drawn Boy, New Order, Freddy and the Dreamers, The Fall, The Railway Children, Bugzy Malone, The Smiths, Happy Mondays, Magazine, James, OMD, Elbow, Oasis, !0 CC, the Freshies, 808 State, A Certain Ratio, The Smiths, Alberto y lost trio Paranoias,, Inspiral Carpets, Go Go Penguin, Simply Red etc etc
Come on all you 24 Hour Party People and Rusholme Ruffians! Share your favourites with us!
Let’s kick off with Paul Heaton, a man who now lives in Manchester, but has been to Hull and back to get there.