Monday, 30 August 2010

Northern Englands Inspiration: Manchunian's

Be aware this does contain graphic innuendo

Yesterday I left Manchester Piccadilly train station for London. It's the bank holiday weekend, Sunday 29th August 2010 every engineering feature was being worked on. When I left London Euston in the evening and had to take the slow train back I was tired, but my journey which began as the Virgin Trains London Euston to Crewe at 1843 with my change over in Stoke for Manchester Piccadilly's arrival at 2331 left me in no doubt, a story had to be created...

The journey that left Euston at 1843 was quiet. Little really was happening all the way up as we passed through the Chilterns to Oxford and crossed back again for Coventry, slow chugging our way through the countryside. The sun setting gradually as we slowly meandered north. At Coventry all was fine, arriving at 2130 some people got off: teenagers playing music on their iphone or ipod. The child with his mother carried on running up and down the carriage whilst I read my book attempting to ignore this energised human. He was only six, I just hoped he ran out of energy sooner rather than later.

We carried on north up through Tamworth and on to Stoke, the child had gradually quieten-d down, but I got off at 2230 hours and waited the nine minutes for the 2239 local train to Manchester Piccadilly. The train hadn't yet arrived and was to pull into platform three. For all I knew the way the place looked it could have been a scene out of Harry Potter. Something smelled wrong, something looked wrong. I had stopped at Stoke to change on my way down, but the darkness of night was playing tricks on my mind. Was I sure I was seeing and hearing what my brain was telling me? I was not anaesthetised by any substances, but I clearly could feel something different. I wandered between platform 2 and 3, a cyclist came up and waited, I tried to stand still and watch the world go by, but the cold chill in the air was starting to bite, I wrapped my self up completely. "Dam no gloves", put your hands in your pockets.

At Stoke-On-Trent there was no more than a half dozen people waiting for a train. Two young girls waited around on the platform opposite, the station manager looked bleakly across the tracks at them trying to huddle up and keep warm. The cyclist stood macho with his bike propped against him studying the non existent car park that existed through the blackened night across platform 3. The air was getting heavy, the few lights leaving shadows across the platforms and rails. The Pendalino hook up showed evaporation rising gradually from the lamp heat. It must have rained, but didn't smell of rain just bad hot chocolate.

That's because I could still taste the hot chocolate I had bought from my previous train. On boarding the 2239 to Manchester Piccadilly the whole train smelt bad, it also looked bad, no where to sit the party's had left enough rubbish, the stale coffee's and teas and the opened window attempting to vent the stench of an unclean train loo turned the air against my lungs. I sat and began to read and hope no one else would get on board.

I was wrong, we didn't have three stops, the usual, Macclesfield, Stockport and Manchester Piccadilly. We had seven or eight. All was fine, the cyclist leisurely bored and asleep, me reading in the same carriage. And then at Macclesfield a party got on board. For half an hour, the teenagers sang chants on 'Manchester is the best' in football rhythms, 'Manchester has got it all'. The boys and girls drunk and attempting to get up to the night clubs in the city centre. Suddenly the atmosphere changed, they wanted more than just singing, through the length of the cabin they started chanting/poorly singing sexual connotations for all to bare all. Everyone joined in as the ring leader dared himself:

'Show us your n**' came the chant in football hoots from the group.

Unaware of whether this went through or not, a soon response was replied by the boys 'show us your g***'. The alcohol had certainly taken its toll on them and thank god I couldn't see any of it.

At Poynton Rail, three boys got on board, a separate state of affairs. Except they had even ruder 'jokes' of a sexual nature including: "Weekend Defender". With the dress sense of a ant for a night out and the not so obvious joke said, I burned my memory attempting to work out what it was all about. Suddenly I remembered the advertised material across the city

"The Gay Pride March: August Bank Holiday Weekend". Every creep was out tonight and I had to go via it to get home.

The train journey continued north to Stockport as the three boys opened yet another can of beer and left the empty on the floor to spill over. The group of boys and girls chanting more and more. Was the cyclist and I the only two sober and non confrontational on board? I knew I was being watched, heads turned. How many people travelled that late reading a book, how many travelled looking like death could strike at any moment?

Stoke had been fine, just eerily dark the train journey though showed nothing more than excessive drinkers on the bend (excuse the pun). Getting off the train was no joyous attempt, like fresh meat of cattle to a slaughter house the drunken boys laid themselves up, all three of them attempting to believe they were straight, but all three knew where they were going. The group of boys and girls carried on out chanting 'Manchester, Manchester, Manchester, it has only got one end', 'Manchester is the best', 'Manchester has got it all'. Whilst the boys summed up posh Manchester as a place for 'her and her all nighters'. A comment on one of the girls previous nights out.

Grateful to get off the train and go back to a normal part of town, many people watched as I frog marched my cold body down to Fallowfield. Every queer in sight eyeing up their potential, with passing comments of:

'Would you like to come round the corner mate'
'Like a bit of wiped cream'
'Give's a bit mate'

Stone sharpened I stared them out as I caught them looking on in earnest for "fresh meat"

'you try me I'll make sure your screwed for life, screwed six foot under more like'

they all walked drunkenly to their party, dragging there sorry asses up the hill. I've met the bully's, weirdo's, freak's and many other people, but why is it I always get the dodgy comments. What so wrong with leaving a member of the public alone who isn't even thinking of going out anywhere.

I knew something was up when I got to Stoke, a different way of life. The liberal north, too liberal? Or just binge drinkers looking to get whatever they can. They say its only prisoners who get whatever they can how ever they can, "don't drop the soap", but up north, no rules barred it happens in public too. It happens in tasteless fashion.

"Welcome to Manchester, you have now entered a liberal free market of perverts."

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