You can take the boy out of the North West, but…

Last week, a record was released to help raise money for The Christie Hospital in Manchester, a tribute to the life and memories of one of it’s more famous patients, a certain Anthony H Wilson, music impresario, tv journalist, and “Mr Manchester”.

It’s not supposed to be a floor-filler, but more of a fond eulogy, a modern poem, that’s been set to an arrangement of New Order’s “Your Silent Face”.

“Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come round, because something that’s lost cannot be found…”

The first time I saw and heard this I really was teary-eyed, with a lump in my throat.

Not only was it set to a favourite piece of music, but many of the faces staring back at me out of the screen were, like Tony Wilson himself, those from my own upbringing in the North West.

I was never lucky enough to meet him in person, but I was one of those people that grew up in the age of Tony Wilson, the music of his bands on my walkman, his face on my TV. Not only did he run a record label and a nightclub… but he read the news too. Was there anything this man couldn’t turn his hand to? Best of all, he was from the North and vociferously for the North.

It also made me think of a more innocent time in my own life. When I had my whole life ahead of me, when I felt I could do anything. When we’d get the train into Manchester and visit places like Afflecks, and if you’d asked me where Granada was I’d answer “Quay Street”, not Spain.

New Order’s Bernard Sumner wrote about Tony, “He always seemed so young and enthusiastic in spirit, he had the attitude of a man in his 20’s…”, and it was with this enthusiasm Tony made those around him believe that Manchester and the North West could do anything, if only they tried… “This is Manchester, we do things differently here.”

When I graduated from University, I chose to move South, where I’d been offered a job. South to follow the money. Ravaged by 17 years of London-centric Tory policies, the North West didn’t look so attractive to someone in their mid-20’s with a freshly minted degree, I guess.

I found myself wanting to dig inside me for something that I’d become worried might have been lost from so many years in the London rat-race, my own Twenty-something spirit, that bit of me that lives for today, that thinks it can do anything, my own inner Northerner. Was I worried it was buried under a metaphorical jam of red London buses? I needn’t have been.

I looked and I’ve found it. It’s bruised and battered, but it’s still there.

Try as the world might, you can take the boy out of the North West, but you can’t take the North West out of the Man.

One day, I’ll stop wandering. One day I’ll come home.

Those who know me will know that my own family has twice already been touched by cancer. There’s a 50% chance everyone in the UK will need to be treated for cancer in their lifetime. If you liked “St Anthony” you can buy it, and if you didn’t, you can still donate money to The Christie Hospital in Tony Wilson’s memory and help others in the future. Give, and give generously.

25 tune iPod shuffle

Remember this doing the rounds on Facebook a few years ago? Thought I’d do another… retro is good, right?

I put my iPod (other portable media players are available) on shuffle – here are the first lines (excluding “ooh-ahh-baby”-ing over the intro) from the first 25 songs (non-instrumental) that it played.

Your job is to name the song and the artist. No cheating. 🙂

Be warned, my music taste is eclectic and this iPod has over 5000 songs on it.

Put your answers in a comment, or tweet me. Have fun…


1) Good times bad times, baby you’re trouble.

2) My heart is empty, you’re eyes are dull.

3) Downhearted and confused because baby you’ve been starting to lose.

4) You’re a law unto yourself, and we don’t suffer dreamers.

5) Tongue tied I’m short of breath don’t even try

6) Who wants to be right as rain, it’s better when something is wrong

7) Out of a million seeds only the strongest one breathes.

8) I want to run, I want to hide.

9) Save some face, you know you’ve only got one.

10) Waking to these sounds again, I wonder how I’ll sleep

11) Day starts with a blast of feedback.

12) I hear the sound of the ticking of clocks.

13) I can’t see you Mama but I can’t hardly wait.

14) Your life is a story I’ve already written, the news is that I am in control.

15) How ever much I push it down it’s never enough.

16) I love you, steel painted eyes.

17) I had a picture of you in my head, it kept me warm when you were not there.

18) While my mind is at rest, while my mind is at rest.

19) Here I go, out to sea again.

20) Sittin’ here eating my heart out waiting.

21) Every time I think of you, I feel a shock right through.

22) Before you go and leave this town, I want to see you one more time.

23) Never had a point of view because my mind was always someone else’s, mind.

24) He’s on the phone, and she wants to go home.

25) Welcome to your life, there’s no turning back.