The Silk Road (The Rise And Fall Of An Unsigned Band – Pt 6)

I once served Iain Robertson (Actor – Small Faces, Grange Hill) in the Springfield Quay Brewers Fayre.

"Ha!" Now take that smug look off your face, Robertson.

As he approached the bar I recognised him instantly. If you’ve seen ‘Small Faces’, he played the main character. Coincidentally, The guy who played ‘Gorbals’ (Mark McConnochie) worked in the kitchen of The Quay. “Ha!” he proclaimed as he approached the bar with a very attractive young lady on his arm, “Did you iron your shirt with a brick?!” “Ha!” I exclaimed… “What are you having?” “Eh, pint of Stella and a…” “Ha!” I announced “Any ID?”, “Oh” he frowned “Eh, naw”… “So, what are you having?” I asked, quizzically. “2 Irn-Bru’s please” he replied sheepishly. SCREW YOU ROBERTSON. I KNEW YOU WERE 17, YA WEE DICK.

So, Ryan had moved to Macclesfield and Craig followed suit 1 year later. With nothing holding Craig back, he decided that having a go at a band with Ryan in Manchester was a risk worth taking. I hadn’t spoken to Craig in a while. I was on a ‘lost weekend’. This lasted approximately 2 years. When I heard that Craig was moving to Macclesfield I wasn’t all together surprised, but at no point did I think I’d do the same.

Craig and Ryan auditioned band members for about a year, settling for none of them. 2 that they had been in the studio with were Matt and Jake Evans. We would become friendly with them somewhere down the line, but that’s for later.

One night after a shift at the Orion Way Brewers Fayre, I got a text from Craig which read “When you moving down?” Craig and Ryan had just auditioned a couple of guys who had NO discernible musical talent, and they were the last straw. For some reason, and without thinking, I instantly replied “Soon”. I thought about it that night and concluded that there was NOTHING holding me back. Why not? It’s not like I’m emigrating. Craig and Ryan are there (another good friend, Stuart was moving down as well, nothing was holding him back either). What’s the worst that can happen? I can always move back if it doesn’t work out…

Being a decisive person, I handed in a 3 month notice at the Brewers Fayre the next day.

There’s many things that establish who is a real friend. Remember, I was on a ‘lost weekend’, not contacting anyone and behaving like an all round scrotum. ‘Real’ friends will pick up where you left off. Craig, Ryan and Stuart (amongst others) are ‘real’ friends.

That was that. I was moving to Cheshire too. Christ, when Craig moved down and arrived at Macclesfield train station he nearly bumped into the Verve’s guitarist. The place was a rock and roll Mecca. A record deal was a certainty. Plus, OASIS were from Manchester. We had it made. EASY.

A man.

Macclesfield’s heritage is in Silk. In the uprising of 1745, Charles Stuart and his army marched through Macclesfield as they attempted to reach London. The Mayor was forced, reluctantly, to officially welcome the Prince, and this welcome is commemorated in one of the town’s famous silk tapestries. At one point, Macclesfield was the world’s biggest producer of finished silk; now, the four Macclesfield Silk Museums display a huge range of information and products from that period. At one time the silk manufacture was home-based but as machinery was introduced large sheds were built to accommodate it and the workers were expected to move into them. Paradise Mill is a working mill museum which demonstrates the art of silk weaving to the public.

Cheers, Wikipedia.

In April 2001, I arrived with Stuart in Macclesfield. Stuart, Craig and I would share a flat in Hatton St, with Ryan living down the road. No time was wasted in getting me a drum kit, but I was skint. Ryan and I went to Hyde (or Sale, can’t remember which) and Ryan bought me a black and silver finished Yamaha YD series 5 piece drum kit… Please refer back to the paragraph about friends.

The 3 of us went into the local studio. Trackside Studios, Macclesfield. This was to be named ‘Twatside’ for the rest of our existence. It’s still there and thriving, we owe a lot to that studio. In saying that, we kept it afloat for years… It was like we’d never been away, the tightness reared its head every so often, the chemistry between us as strong as ever.

We needed a guitarist. Immediately.

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