For the unfortunate among you who, like me, have the Kasabian ident music for SlySporesNoose
running round their pitied heads (thank fuck it's going behind the paywall), Damned United/Red Riding author David Peace
articulates well how music and football weren’t always so entwined, how the typical path of maturity could take you away from football into music, something with more reliable intensity (especially if you’re a City or Huddersfield fan) and imaginary potential, and how a site such as ‘Madchester’ could inspire rejuvenation of interest in football on a personal level and the closer connection of football and music in general. In today’s access all areas culture we do not think it greedy to continuously accommodate experiences in both. “With the music I was into – I like to call it ‘post-punk’, others call it ‘Goth’! – the two just didn’t seem to go together, really. I drifted away from the game until I ended up at Manchester Polytechnic in the mid-80s. I’m not sure how fellow Yorkshiremen are going to take this, but it was in Manchester that I started to fall back in love with football.
“I went to Old Trafford a few times with mates, in the Lee Sharpe era. But I lived very close to City’s ground, and I started going to quite a few of their reserve games, It was only a quid or something to get in, and there was always the chance some really good players would be turning out, people on their way back from injury, or promising young players who were on the verge of breaking into the first team. We had some very enjoyable evenings there.
“But in Manchester at the time, something was happening which brought football and music much closer together. The Happy Mondays and the Stone Roses and the ‘Madchester’ thing helped, then there was Italia 90 too, soundtracked by New Order’s World in Motion. Being into music and being into football didn’t seem at odds to me anymore and it became part of my life again.
“Mind, Maine Road was also the backdrop to one of my darkest football days, when Huddersfield got beat 10-1 there.”
Indeed, there was once a time in the music weeklies that Billy Duffy sporting a City shirt or Simon Gallup or Bobby Gillespie talking about the beautiful game were merely curious indulgences (it should be noted that Ryder, Brown et al did not particularly go on about United and continued not to even as they entered the glory years). If music sometimes acknowledged the other, football only reciprocated in the [comedy] cup final song as if to mock pop’s fancy dan/wierd status. Then Barnes rapped and we have since winced at Eat My Goal, Three Lions, Fat Les, Embrace’s efforts and the rest of it. Now, with almost all football moments tracked in some way by music – from the highlights package to the lifting of the European Cup – the connection is too explicit to be worth mentioning and a certain alienation of one from the other might be worth considering.
Growing up one probably liked both but always expected to keep them separate. Indeed I had an almost laughable lack of relativity about the two; although I was firming up an allegiance to City around this time it had nothing to do with the Madchester revolution I was also tracking, and it barely mattered that the Mondays and Roses were Reds, a team I’d never liked – the cockney red in our team always the most vainglorious, selfish and mate-less of the bunch. This lack of linkage was a little bit like knowing about sex by mid-adolescence but having no sense of its practical application to my own body. With the links explicit when Cummins had the Gallaghers faux-twat each other for a NME cover story and divisions eroded over years, that several of the connection I made at Maine Road were closely involved in the city’s music scene was almost too good/cool to be true. Yet this probably wasn’t being repeated in other cities with different characteristics/sizes/scenes to Manchester’s.
* Full Peace interview on the online version of the FSF’s Football Supporter magazine
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