Scott Alexander - David Gleave©

137D7A5A-5D58-461A-B3C5-71D36764ADA3Scott Alexander: Manchester music scene legend RIP

There he always seemed to be looming in the distance like a tall laconic version of Jim Morrison, a fixture on the heartbeat of Manchester’s Oxford Road. Scott Alexander was full of oozing rock n roll cool like in the fantastic David Gleave photo that goes with this piece.

Even his name, Scott Alexander, sounded like it was carved from the high decibel. He was a Manchester music scene legend, Bar owner, label boss and promoter of off the wall gigs like in the then derelict Victoria Baths. He was the singer/guitarist in Indigo Jones releasing numerous albums as well as running the Skinny Dog record label, a key player in the dense thicket of local music.

Manchester has lost some big characters in the last week. First it wan Yan from Night and Day and now we are reeling from the loss of Scott who ran two of the most idiosyncratic bars in town – The Temple and Big Hands. Both bars were perfect musician haunts, nocturnal and with wizened musician faces and full of alcohol stained tall stories in their flickering endless twilight.

They were a reflection of the man himself – a player himself and a charismatic presence with a whiff of rock n roll chaos, a can do/will do personality and, above all, the definition of the word ‘dude’. They say a city is full of a million stories. Scott’s story is one of the best ones – providing a space for a million nighttime adventures and always the perfect host and a fixture on Oxford Rd with his big black dog .

Previous articleYazoo: Four Pieces – album review
Next articleListen to This! California’s youth Unveils First Solo Single Fire
Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Brilliant piece by John Robb for one of the biggest secret agitators of music and nightlife in Manchester. Not necessary comparison to anybody but I know he will not get the same amount of attention other music promoters of Manchester music have had at their passing (Tony Wilson or Roger Eagle for instance) but Scott catalysed an intense music scene just without any pretension or the use of media or marketing techniques. Only just being himself and letting people use his bars as shelters to restless souls.

  2. Oh dear, the world can be a brutal place. Terribly saddened by the news working its way round social media. Scott, a Mancunian Aussie, a trailblazer, a maverick. I liked Scott, I liked Indigo Jones, I like Every Day Andy, a writ-large neon light song with mesmeric percussion in the rush of the city. So sad, so sad!

  3. Respect & love to Scott & condolences to all who also loved him & are suffering right now from an old friend from down under

  4. The best nights with Scott were the ones you couldn’t remeber. You just “knew” they were the best.
    A friend, a character & a true gentleman.
    RIP you mad, gorgeous fucker.

  5. Love this article. An adopted Manunian has died so young & left so many spaces and gaps behind. I loved this artistic soul. He would listen, empathise, then find humour and solutions (always booze). I’m so sad he’s gone: you should never be outlived by your dog. The world feels less good.

  6. Scott gave me my first paid gig: £15 at Gecko. I was so intimidated by him coming up to share the stage that I attempted to exit via a back door. It turned out to be a broom cupboard where I stood for several minutes until he coaxed me out with whisky. I can’t believe this awesome beautiful man has left us. Rest well hon. Hope there’s whisky in the stars.

  7. One of the most sincere people I’ve ever met. Life is unfair, while utter scum still ride high in society, this lad (my memory will always be of him in his mid 20’s), has let slip his mortal coil at an unfair age. His spirit, will of course, remain with us forever.

  8. What an ultra cool and super nice guy. I will always remember us flicking bottle caps into a glass on a quiet night in down under bar. He always got the most in and from the furthest place. Much love man x

  9. It’s touching the legacy that Scott leaves behind him. I knew him exactly 20 yrs ago. A stunning 23 year old “clean-shaven” Johnny Depp looker with a sheepskin coat who’d moved from Oz to Bolton road, Bury (of all places?) working despondently in an engineering firm, missing his dog & girlfriend back home, hanging out in Dr Rock music shop with a barely communicated idea of being in a band, never pushing anyone. He was one of the most lovely, unassuming, generous guys you could have around. I briefly for about 4/5 months shared & flat with him & eventually our drinking partner Mark Potter from local band just re-christened Elbow. It literally descended into “Withnail & I”, a sea of Vodka bottles. They set on parallel paths together, re-located into Manchester a few mnths later &… such now is History! I didn’t see him for 4 years ’til a night in Big Hands after an Elbow Ritz gig & was actually shocked by the change in his appearance but he had lived his Jim Morrison dream authentically. I’m so honored to have known him then & know now how he’s touched people’s lives. He was a genuine Diamond, a true heart. Deservedly a Legend.

  10. “We shall not cease from exploration,
    And at the end of all our exploring,
    Will be to arrive back to where we started
    And know the place for the first time.”
    T S Eliot Four Quartets

    Big Hands

    I like you Scott.
    I told you, once, very late, at the front door, me tottering and shivering in my fake fur and you, swaying in your oversized subfusc coat. You talked of Oz, the Queen of Flowers and mourned your beautiful girlfriends.

    Even if I did, find the right words, screw up the courage, philosophised about what you, Big Hands, Rusholme means to me. Even if I did, blurt it out, aired my shabby soul, probed your death wish, It was no problem. You’d have forgotten in the morning.

    I like you Scott, I like your boozy, “better to burn brightly” bad-ass, sunglasses indoors, late-night attitude.

    I Like you, Scott.
    I like that you, too, have sand in your pointy boots and music in your shaggy hair. Something in the way you sway radiates your fragile, slurry soul.

    I do, I do, I do, I do love Man-Chess-Tar.
    I do, I do, I do, I do love the Rusholme sun, setting over the towers of the Contact and the whirring of the advertising hoarding.
    I love the smell of bleach in the afternoons and the smell of beer and roll-ups in the evenings.
    I do, I do, I do, I do love the loved-up, pissed-up, shiny-happy, Big Hands people.

    And yet, Mr Skinny-Dog Records, Mr Fag-at-the-Front-Door, Mr Beautiful Girlfriends, Mr Roof Garden, Mr Pop-Up Tapas. I still roll my cabin-case down Oxford Road.

    I hunger for Prague, Dublin, London, Sitges, Bilbao, Paris, Calgary, the Hague, Wexford, Belfast, Berlin, Addis, Leeds, Bath, Milan, Nairobi, Kampala, Soho, Bulawayo, Newcastle, Cardiff, Venice, Genoa, the Old Dungeon Ghyll, Oxford, Cambridge, Florence, Rome, Myvatn, Reykjavik, Amsterdam, Harare, Porto, Lisbon, Derry, New York, San Francisco, Liverpool, Kingston, Montego Bay, Havana, Moscow. I drink them up. I devour them. I seize the day.

    But, listen up, Mr Big Hands, Mr Temple of Convenience, Mr Purveyor of Happy Memories and Hangovers to the beautiful and the damned.
    The truth dawns.

    In all the sessions, in all the bars, in all the cities, in all the world. I am searching for the quintessential. I am searching for another Big Hands.
    Big Hands. A solitary solitude, quiet after lectures, waiting for Red Chilli, sipping white wine and the Guardian. Big-bear Guy perching alone at the bar nursing his sobriety. What is it with you guys and overcoats?

    Big Hands. The Alpha and Omega of nuptial pub crawls. The Christmas Eve you found my pirate purse. Thank God or Christmas would have been cancelled.
    Big Hands. Rocking. Necking post-gig whisky with King Creosote. Milestone parties, graduations, marriage proposals, coming-out declarations and, other people, not me honest, having sex in the toilets.

    I like you Scott. I love the space, the place, the vibe. Quite a legacy, to be the best bar in all the world.
    So, today, my son had his first drink in the roof garden at Big Hands. Not his last.

    Tomorrow. Your last order at the bar.
    And Scott, did you remember my eulogy the next day?
    And Scott, did your sore heart swell just a little bit with pride?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here