Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Champagne and Stollen, Tony Wilson and the Durutti Column.

It's funny how things can be really bad and really good all at the same time. So for the last two days I haven't had any sleep because the pain has been so extraordinarily bad - horrible, exquisite pain.

Then last night we finished off the leftover champagne from New Year's Eve with some Stollen, which was a treat. 

Actually it was Asti Spumante because I don't like champagne. Champagne is sour like the contempt of a French waiter while Asti is cheap, sweet and full of fun like an Italian summer party in a bottle.

And we watched a great video - '24 Hour Party People', the story of 'Mr Manchester'; Tony Wilson. If I could have been anyone else it probably would have been him.

Wilson was a presenter on Granada TV who was responsible for hosting most of the best Punk bands at a time when mainstream TV was boycotting them; which means we do actually have some footage of The Clash, The Jam and the Pistols playing live.

He was one of only 42 people who were at The Sex Pistols concert at Manchester's 'Lessor Free Trade Hall', most of whom went on to found bands of their own including New Order, Mick Hucknall, Morrissey.

He was the founder of 'Factory Records', one of the most innovative record labels and famously wrote out a contract for New Order in his own blood, saying that they could leave at any time they wanted - with their back catalogue.

Wilson made little money but made the label a centre for good art and design as well as great music. He opened The Hacienda; the club that accidently launched rave culture and dance music and turned Manchester into Madchester for a while until it all turned sour. 

One of my regrets is that when I was working in a record shop I didn't buy our one copy of 'The Return of the Durutti Column' - the one with a cover made of sandpaper so that it would destroy the records stacked on either side of it.

We used to marvel at the design and extravagance of records that came in from Factory, even if we lacked the money to buy them.

I miss Tony Wilson very much, a one time fellow situationist and member of the cancer crew who died in 2007.

Meanwhile, I had a CT scan just before Christmas and was under orders from Dr Feelgood to send her an e-mail in the new year to remind her to send me the result a couple of days before our appointment. This way I would have got over the shock by the time I had to make the serious decisions about treatment - yes it was going to be that bad.

In fact it wasn't - the cancer is a lot worse but I knew that anyway.....the pain is telling me that.

On the other hand it hasn't spread to my brain or much soft tissue at all, which is what we feared.

And then last night I wasn't sure I'd even be able to get to Tesco's today to do the shopping - and if I did I thought I'd need to be using a walking frame.

In fact while it hurt it was OK.

A Lotta Continua - The fight goes on.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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