Moz Smith and Elspeth Moore hop on board The Smiths express to check out the sights of the band and Morrissey’s Manchester and Salford.
We now have proof that ”ËThe Rain Falls Hard On A Humdrum Town’ doesn’t always happen in Manchester, as those devoted Morrissey/Smiths fans on last Saturday’s Manchester Music Tour will testify, as they were welcomed on-board the double decker open top bus in bright sunshine by hosts Glenn Wallworth and Mike Coy.
What amazed me was the distance that fans had travelled to see Morrissey play live in his home city, with people on-board the bus from the likes of Arizona, New York, Oporto, Glasgow and Dublin.
Getting seventy passionate fans onto a bus outside the Star and Garter (home of the Smiths Disco) seemed go without a hitch until a last ditch count revealed we were going ”ËNowhere Fast’ as a few were still missing.
Ten minutes later and with one rev of the bus engine by Graham the driver and the ”ËPanic’ was over, we were off with a full bus to see ”ËThe Vicar In A Tutu’ strut his stuff at the Holy Name Church, opposite Manchester Academy on Wilmslow Road.
After a quick stop for photos we were off to meet the ”ËRusholme Ruffians’ and judging by the amount of police we saw there must have been plenty about by Platt Fields Park the home of fair, let’s just hope that ”Ëa boy wasn’t stabbed and his money wasn’t grabbed’.
Next stop was Southern Cemetery where Morrissey and his friend Linder Sterling used to ”Ëgravely read the stones’ and which inspired the miss-spelt song ”ËCemetry Gates’ off the classic album ”ËThe Queen is Dead’.
This was far from ‘A Dreaded Sunny Day’ it was in fact a meeting of like minded passionate fans all meeting by the cemetery gates for a mass group photo holding a union flag emblazoned with The Smiths song title ”ËThere Is A Light That Never Goes Out’.
Back on the bus and we soon arrived at the ”ËIron Bridge’ on Kings Road which Morrissey referred to in the song ”ËStill Ill’ off The Smiths self titled debut album with the line ”ËUnder The Iron Bridge We Kissed’.
By this time the excitement was building as it was revealed that the BBC would be joining us further up Kings Road at the house where a young Morrissey was living when Johnny Marr famously knocked on his door in 1982 and asked him to form a band, that band The Smiths were crowned the most influential band in the world according to the NME in 2002 and ten years on you wouldn’t find anyone on this tour who would disagree.
The BBC interviewed several fans outside the house and are putting together a short documentary on fanatical Morrissey fans which should go out on air on the BBC1 North West regional programme “Inside Out”Â in October.
With a reporter and cameraman on-board the bus the next stop was Salford Lads Club which was undoubtedly the highlight of the tour, a destination that had some in tears, others with mouths open wide enough to swallow the nearby River Irwell and one female fan claiming that just being there was ”Ëmore exciting than her actual wedding day’.
Leslie Holmes who runs the club took time out of his busy schedule and showed people inside the club, which has its very own Smiths room full of fascinating memorabilia, photos and post it notes donated by various band members and perhaps more importantly from fans all over the globe.
At this point I think it’s about time that it was mentioned that we also had an official photographer with us in the name of Elspeth Mary Moore, she duly captured what the whole day was about in a very artistic way that went ”ËHand In Glove’ with the rest of tour.
All her photos look amazing but the ones she took of the fans outside Salford Lads Club where they stood on the very same spot that Morrissey, Marr, Rourke and Joyce did for the inside cover photo of ”ËThe Queen is Dead’ album will be treasured by all those lucky enough to have been snapped by the ”ËSweet and Tender Hooligan’.
Last stop of an amazing tour was HMP Manchester, more commonly known as Strangeways Prison with its name being was used in last Smiths studio album ”ËStrangeways Here We Come’.
Time for one last group photo by the happy snapper and it was off to destination Manchester Arena for the evening’s Morrissey gig, where we were dropped off on Trinity Way right by a giant billboard of Moz himself.
Many fans refer to Morrissey as a god like genius, well this could now be true because as we were disembarking the bus the heavens opened to remind us that we were in Manchester and had come to see one of its prodigal sons.
Last but not least a big thanks to Manchester Music Tours, their hosts for the day Glenn and Mike, Elspeth the photographer, Graham and Sue the bus driver and conductor, the BBC and all the special fans on the tour from all over world who proved that not ”ËEveryday Is Like Sunday’.
All images by Elspeth Moore. You can find more from Elspeth on LTW here.
All words by Moz Smith.