You Can Drum But You Can’t Hide
Simon Wolstencroft played drums with “The Mighty Fall” for eleven years and this memoir is a must read for anyone interested in the Manchester music scene, or indeed, anyone who lived in Manchester during that era.
It’s a proper trip down memory lane, as Simon mentions nightclubs and venues I’d forgotten even existed, plus the infamous Hulme Crescents, where my friends had a squat and I cast my first vote in a general election.
Simon comes across as a really good bloke – “sound as a pound”, as they say – and it’s a really entertaining read, name-dropping loads of interesting singers and musicians of the time. Though not in a flashy way, there’s plenty of humility: he turned down a job with The Smiths, because he didn’t like Morrissey’s voice and found them too gloomy, and has admittedly been kicking himself since.
I did a double-take at this paragraph, describing his arrival at LAX on The Fall’s 1986 American tour:
While we waited for our bags, chatting to Bad Seeds guitarist Kid Congo, who had been sitting next to me on the plane, I spotted the little guy who played Tattoo from TV series Fantasy Island, walking by in his trademark white suit.
I also flew to Los Angeles at this time and the first person I saw when I got through immigration was Herve Villechaize swanning around in his little white suit. He actually got into a huge white stretch limo (the first I’d ever seen) as we were waiting for our taxi. So either Tattoo spent a lot of time hanging around LAX, or I was on the same connecting flight from Atlanta as The Fall. I guess I’ll never know.
This lacks the emotional punch of Steve Hanley’s memoir, The Big Midweek, but is highly enjoyable, even if you’re not a huge music fan.