BACK IN 1979, I WENT TO THE RUSSELL CLUB in Hulme to see
The Tiller Boys, a band led by Pete Shelley, founder of the
Buzzcocks. I was too late for the Tiller Boys, and saw instead
a rather scruffy-looking bunch of youths with a doom-laden
sound, and a tortured but charismatic lead singer. That band
was Joy Division, and a few months later, lead Singer Ian
Curtis committed suicide. Joy Division became the massively
popular and influential New Order.
If only I had been switched on to photography in those days,
the photos I never took would today have priceless documentary
value. Now I never leave home without at least one camera,
and my quest is to find and photograph the embryonic 'New
Order' or 'U2' of the post-millennium years. Have I managed
to capture them on this page?
SPACE POLICE demonstrate a curious fusion of musical styles
that can often result in a unique and compelling sound.
This outfit were loud and and manic, with a mixture of punk
raw energy mixed with reggae.
They offered plenty of interesting visual opportunities for
me and my Nikon Coolpix digital camera. And in the left hand
picture, look at the bassist's double exposed face - a result
of slow synch flash.
Will Space Police be the next New Order?
ELECTRO ONE from Liverpool were loud and uncompromising,
with a heavy, juggernaut-like beat produced electronically.
They have a great sound with creative use of vocals, as well
as guitar and sax.
Visually, the band members offer an interesting mélange
- A neo-Gothic pale-faced leather-clad female vocalist, a
dreadlocked singer who looks like he's from Kingston via Kirkby,
a guitarist who looks pure 1979 post-punk New Wave, plus two
other members I haven't got space for here.
In the post-modern post-nineties, musical styles are blending
in new and interesting ways - Will be the new wave of 2002?
NATALIE IS TALENTED, ATTRACTIVE, BLONDE - qualities which
have propelled many female singers to international stardom,
but will this combination unlock the dream of stardom for
this confident young vocalist from Failsworth?
She is backed up by a dedicated family and a determined manager,
who told me there wasn't time to include her in the Unsigned
showcase, Instead, she was booked to close the evening at
the Quay Bar on three nights of In The City.
Singing in a high-pitched vocal style that reminded me of
Tina Charles ("I love to love") she sang a range
of cover versions, but my favourite was a self-composed number.
The next Britney Spears? I very much hope so, so that in
years to come I can show these photos to my grandchildren
and say: "I saw Natalie at the Quay Bar before she was
ATLAS BAR lies at the centre of the Whitworth Street-Castlefield
fashionable cafe bar axis, and is the favourite haunt of In
The City co-founders Tony Wilson and Yvette Livesey.
There was certainly a buzz in the air when we passed by on
Monday night, day three of In The City, and found people spilling
out onto the pavement.
In The City unsigned bands were playing inside. We didn't
get to see them, as we were on our way to another bar. One
of the frustrating things about In The City is that you can't
get to see all the bands, as several are performing at the
And if one of the bands playing in Atlas that night goes
on to be famous, that will be another lost photo-opportunity,
and I'll be very annoyed!
THE NEW REVOLUTION BAR (opened 2000) is located in Deansgate
Locks, an exciting and imaginitive conversion of the old arches
underneath the former Central Station (opened 1880), overlooking
the canal at the end of Whitworth St West, near Deansgate
The high-ceilinged cavernous interior is enhanced by innovative
use of lighting. There's another more intimate bar downstairs
- this is where the In The City VIP official closing night
party took place.
I wonder what the noble Victorian engineers of 1880 would
think if they found out that their brick edifice, built to
support the railway tracks leading into the new Central Station,
would 120 years later be turned into a futuristic ale-house.
BAA BAR is located in Deansgate Locks, between Deansgate
and the former Hacienda night club.
Here we can see some of the most interesting trends in post-millennium
cafe bar design:
The space is open, and there are sofas on either side.
Above the bar is an illuminated display better than the one
at Piccadilly Station - it shows not train times but a changing
list of cocktails.
Unisex toilets - no, not with urinals, just cubicles - and
those four white rectangles are windows, so males can survey
the bar whilst spending a penny.
On the ceiling, sparkling globes - lots and lots of them
- add a surreal quality to the bar. It seems they're just
there for ornament, and not to signify dancing - This is just
a bar, not a club.
JONATHAN YOUNG is a singer and songwriter with strong connections
Originally from Belfast, he's lived in New Moston for many
years and since 1995, he has been one third of The Bachelors
- one of Ireland's most famous musical exports of the 1960's.
Their hits include 'I Believe', 'Diane', 'Charmaine' and 'Ramona',
which my father used to sing to me as a child.
Today's Bachelors are a re-incarnation of the original, still
with founder John Stokes, aided by new recruits Kevin Neill
(ex Karl Denver Trio) and our friend Jonathan Young,. They
perform all over the world, as far away as Australia and on
Jonathan wrote the song 'Manchester Morning', which is often
featured on the BBC local radio station GMR. The lyrics include:
"I've been to some all night party, I woke
up on Albert Square, I found myself on Market Street, heading
for God knows where, the sun arrived uninvited, and it suddenly
dawned on me, it was early morning in Manchester, there's
not a better place to be."
I was introduced to Jonathan by chance one lunchtime. It
was great to meet a member of an act I'd watched many times
on TV as a child. NB. I should add that neither Jonathan nor
the Bachelors have anything to do with In The City.