There is always that air of expectation that something mental could happen; grizzled veterans mix with flash young hipsters; lunatics and creatives, artists and musicians waiting for the moment whilst famous faces merge into the background because the city is the star, and celeb culture doesn’t exist here, because the real legends are also from the street.
The Donnelly Brothers made their name with the Gio Goi clothing range, but their story is the story of the city in the last three decades- from surviving the eighties decay to the freaky dancing of acid house and beyond and all the faces are here tonight to celebrate the launch of their Still Breathing book. This is a book that tells not only their story, but the story of a generation who were brought up with nothing in the post industrial decay, but turned it into a party that the whole of the UK joined in with.
being a launch this party has guests- Manc Legend poet Mike Garry delivers his Tony Wilson poem that just seems to get better and better and then a new poem about the Donnellys, which is full of funny lines before journalist Luke Bainbridge does an in conversation with the two brothers who tell great stories of the genuine walk on the wild side that was always soundtracked with great rock n roll.
The Donnelly brothers are Mancunian legends- proper street Mancs who came out of the council estates and the grafting underground. They made some money in acid house putting on the earliest raves in Manchester and a great night at the long forgotten venue next door to the Apollo.
They were part of the small crew of the E pioneers in the city- the eyes on stalks, all night dancers in lost corners of the city as it emerged from the rain and had a riot very much of its own. After this rush they set up their own clothes line, Gio Goi, and quite literally becoming part of the fabric of the city.
They are the true shapers of the modern Manchester- part of the real architects of what the city is in 2013.
Loveable rogues with a fistful of great stories, their lives, have been detailed in Still Breathing which they co-wrote with Simon Spence, the writer who has made his name with the Andrew Loog Oldham book and the recent and latest in a long line of Stone Roses biogs and has done a great job capturing their crazy tales in a rollicking read that feels like a film already.
You can’t lose with characters like this and tales like these, and the book is a perfect slice of the mythical Manchester of unbridled hedonism in the pouring rain that actually all happened.
Tonight was the launch night for the book, and it was a packed two storey bar in city centre Manc that introduced the book to the world. All the names are here- all the old faces from the days when the city put the E into ecstasy. Faces like Ian Brown and Mani from the Roses, MVITA, Jon Mclure from ReverendAnd The Makers as well as mad crew heads, survivors from the chemical madness and other assorted lived in faces from the days when the world really did turn dayglo.
The Roses are here but not as members of one of the greatest bands ever but as fellow travellers in the 24 year party people culture that spilled out from Manc in the mid eighties when the city went crazy and the drugs really were that good.
There are lots of old faces running around tonight, lots of survivors from those mad scenes, scenes like the Midland pub in West Didsbury that, in the late eighties, was the kind of bar where the beer was stopped, and E’s got sold over the counter.
It’s a neat reminder of a different time when the city was seized by an enthralling madness and somehow survived- the Donnelley’s are a perfect example of this; they were in the middle of the party, and they survived to tell the tale and some tale it is.