Friday, August 10, 2007
If Only He'd Come From Nottingham
The death of Tony Wilson has really fucked me off, even though I'm not arsed in the least about Joy Division or the Happy Mondays.
I met him once, at an In The City in Manchester, when I gave a speech about how the smut industry was coining it in on the internet while the music business was scared of it (which shows how long ago it was). I felt absolutely out of my depth, and he could tell - so he went out of his way to thank me for coming and how he'd been waiting for ages for someone to talk about it, and was as proper, charming and intelligent as everyone is saying he was. He was stood at the back right the way through, and I directed the entire speech at him, staggered that someone that influential was actually interested in what I had to say.
Afterwards, and completely out of the blue, he put me on a round table with some scarily influential people. I shat another breeze block, but he calmed me down, talked me up, and sorted me out. Then he absolutely skewered me in an argument onstage, and we had a drink and a laugh about it afterwards. I walked away wishing I had a gaffer as cool as that, and feeling extremely lucky to have met him.
The thing that I admired most about him was that he was fiercely proud of where he came from and didn't give a fuck about what anyone else thought. Back in the day, Manchester was seen as one of the shittiest ratholes in the country. Now it's the true capital city of England, it's the only place in the country that I'd leave Nottingham to work in (fuck Brighton - it's a ponce's Skegness) and they have to come here to shoot a film about how grim it used to be there. Tony Wilson had a lot to do with that.
The problem with Nottingham, you see, is that it's never had someone like Tony Wilson - someone in a position of power who thought "You know what? Fuck everywhere else - this city is great, and we can do great things". Look at the people who run Nottingham at the moment - the professional student-rinsers, carpetbagger politicians, and the shower of bastards who think that having one TK Maxx ten minutes walk from the other one makes your city 'vibrant' and 'eclectic' - and tell me they give a fraction of a toss about our city and its people that he gave about his. Actually, that's a stupid question, seeing as most of them don't even come from round here, but you know what I mean.
Imagine what Nottingham would have been like today if he'd have come from here. And take inspiration.