What is it about the north? Lancashire, Manchester. Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford. It’s, a, York, shire, thing? Liverpool to Hull across the Pennines and beyond, that underpins so much musical talent? It’s not an attitude in itself. The remnants of Yr Hen Ogledd boundaries intermarrying Anglo-Scandinavians? The Harrying of the North? Industry? Mosaics of Irish, Asian, and Mancunian Jews? Two massively varied coastal, port-heavy regions? Unions? Brass Bands? Football icons? Rugby league? Kes? Rita, Sue and Bob Too? Mixed communities? Ted Hughes? Yosser Hughes? Jimmy Savile? Cilla Black? Tony Wilson? Game of Thrones appropriation?
Big hitters in the north. Too many, so omitting the glaringly obvious is a bind, but favourites include Eric Burdon, Throbbing Gristle and Coil, Cabaret Voltaire, The Fall, Chris and Cosey if you factor CFT is proper northern, Pete Shelley, Factory, Stone Roses, Warp, A Guy Called Gerald, The Hacienda, some of the core founders of DiY, The Orbit. Blackburn madness, free parties in Hulme’s ruined concrete sanatoriums. And everyone else.
Can any of this be condensed into sound beyond rambling text? Yes, but you have to map the terrain first. Emphasis can then focus on the price of admission. Liquid metal mind melters and space-time distortional vortexes are sought in this quest. The north is surreal, psychedelic and swaggers.
Cut to Throbbing Gristle. Included version due to the sound quality retaining its bottom end and yes there’s a wee lass crying (bit tragic), but it’s not a perfect world. Cut to Mr Kirk, Voice of America and Red Mecca filtering down through record traders and wobbling tape copies and a gig in 1986 at Rock City in Nottingham. The long coated brigade out in force. Sources for speed and acid, just too into the acid casualty image to attract the kind of lass some friends and I were trying to pull. Cabaret Voltaire might have even cost you a ride, slightly divisive then and divisive again through later career choices, but they fucking rock
Kirk’s gear head intuition for a soundscape and Mallinder’s bark are an entire universe unto themselves. Thank god these answers auto save. Have to think about the next cluster.