CYCM 21/04/14: You Are Now Entering Free Bury
April 17, 2014 – 4:40 pm | No Comment | by:

Harold Bishop on Neighbours. The last Marathon made before it became Snickers. Natural hair on Francis Lee’s head. Ryan Giggs’ legs. All things in life come to an end, some welcome, some not. For some …

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Ode to the 135 by:
April 20, 2014 – 11:33 pm | No Comment

In 2005 North Manchester was pretty much uncharted territory for a girl who’d been brought up in Stockport.   I started off by getting the tram up to Bury to matches (starting with a solo journey full of trepidation after I’d left the Villa game at half-time in tears to get to that first home game,  who’d have thought?…, etc etc) but I pretty soon got fed up of that trek down to Gigg from the tram stop.  I can’t recall my first encounter with the 135 but by the time I’d moved back to Manchester from London it had become my preferred option.  It got me almost door to door (well, door to turnstile), it was show-offily bendy, and it was a portal to mysterious places you’d only usually read about in fairy tales – Besses o’ th’ Barn, Sunny Bank, Cheetham Hill (though that fort was a bit of a let-down).

So I’ve been a confirmed 135-er ever since.  It’s great for people-watching. There’s always a lot of kerfufflising over buggies and shopping.  Regulars sigh as virgin travellers quiz the driver on ticketing matters – it should be compulsory for would-be passengers to acquaint themselves with the nuances of FirstDay tickets before boarding, we all agree.

And now FC United of Manchester’s exile in Bury is drawing to a close, my last journey on the 135 looms. Or beckons. Whichever, it’s definitely a time for indulging myself and looking back with a sentimental glint in my eye.  I jump on in Lever-or-is-it-Newton Street in my imagination, and off we go (probably rather slowly to start off with, due to roadworks in town).
As I think back so many memories pop up, it’s a right Proustian mode of transport.  How many days have I spent on the 135, if you add it up over the years?  I’ve had a rendezvous with a Russian poet outside Urbis to get her on the bus to come and perform at Malcolmses; the way she said ‘bears and vodka’ still makes me smile.  The 135 was also responsible for an anti-fascist book launch, after a chance conversation planted the seed.

I’ve carried a range of cargoes too, it’s lucky you don’t have to go through customs – a lot of cakes, a lot of books, 65 shot glasses of vodka jelly (strawberry), a foam rubber nun (small), and once a precious stash of Manchester Eggs, cooked to order and wrapped in foil to keep warm.  That was the day there was a bad car accident near the ground obv and I had to abandon the bus and run, well wheeze, up the road carrying a box of rapidly-cooling eggs…

Being someone who lives in town, I like seeing the changing seasons in the gardens we pass en route. The first daffs, cherry blossom, all that sort of stuff.  And there are those fantastic rows of trees that look like giant brandy glasses along the road at one point – I can never decîde whether I prefer them clothed in leaves or in naked winter silhouette. Both are aesthetically pleasing.

Over the years I’ve jumped off the bus to explore different places.  Slattery’s bakery.  An art deco synagogue.  I’m ashamed to say I’d never explored glorious Heaton Park till ‘the 135 years’ – and there’s donkeys there and all. Not to mention alpacas.  I even recently visited somewhere I’ve said for nine years that I must investigate as I’ve admired it sitting grandly on its little hillock, The Woodthorpe, the former home of Edward Holt, yes of Holts’s fame.  I’ve still never been to Armstrong’s chippy, ‘Home of the Jumbo Cod’, though, dammit.

I’ve also had to jump off the bus to throw up, only once though which is not bad in nine years, and if it was your front garden I apologise.

We’re getting nearer Bury now as the memories keep on crowding in.  There’s The Coach and Horses, where we toasted Pauline England in song on the sad but memorable day of her funeral. Then the great view of the elegant wind farms on the hills in the distance as the bus straightens itself out for its final run up unbendy Manchester Road.

Finally you have to decide where to get off the bus. Actually there’s no contest, the stop after the Gigg Lane turning is tons quicker, not least because there’s a traffic island to help with crossing the road more easily. Quite why the most of the rest of the world gets off at the stop before, only to watch me even with my dachshund legs – and carrying half a ton of muffins – turning into Gigg Lane well ahead of them, is a controversy on a par with the claim by deluded pals that they can get back to town quicker by tram after a midweek game than I can on my bendy bus…

The 135 then. For all the above and so much more that’s lost in the haze of these impassioned, hilarious, obstinate, tough, joyful last nine years, I salute you xx

CYCM 21/04/14: You Are Now Entering Free Bury
April 17, 2014 – 4:40 pm | No Comment | by:
CYCM 21/04/14: You Are Now Entering Free Bury

Harold Bishop on Neighbours. The last Marathon made before it became Snickers. Natural hair on Francis Lee’s head. Ryan Giggs’ legs. All things in life come to an end, some welcome, some not. For some …

From Middleton to Rolling Stone and back…
April 16, 2014 – 4:18 pm | One Comment | by:
From Middleton to Rolling Stone and back…

True to form for Factory Records, after the debut album was done, the label was dropped from the roster of London Records, who had funded it. Wilson was heart-broken. “He thought the deal was for the long haul but London had only signed Factory Too for three years and didn’t want to renew,” said McNevin-Duff.

CYCM 12/04/14: The End is Pie
April 9, 2014 – 8:11 pm | No Comment | by:
CYCM 12/04/14: The End is Pie

Bury’s a fun place, isn’t it? There’s always loads going on. Take this Saturday, for example, where a quick peruse of Bury council’s website will show exactly what I’m on about. Fancy an afternoon roller …

Easy Money (Cheltenham 1992)… part four (the end)
April 5, 2014 – 8:05 am | No Comment | by:
Easy Money (Cheltenham 1992)… part four (the end)

part four of a short story…

Easy Money (Cheltenham 1992)… part three
April 4, 2014 – 8:57 am | No Comment | by:
Easy Money (Cheltenham 1992)… part three

part three of a short story…

Easy Money (Cheltenham 1992)… part two
April 3, 2014 – 8:49 am | No Comment | by:
Easy Money (Cheltenham 1992)… part two

Part two of a short story…

Easy Money (Cheltenham 1992)… part one
April 2, 2014 – 2:47 pm | No Comment | by:
Easy Money (Cheltenham 1992)… part one

Here is the first part of a four-part short story… We will be publishing the story in its entirety over the next four days.

The Old Firm
April 2, 2014 – 2:21 pm | No Comment | by:
The Old Firm

The latest book by Andy Davies, original AFL contributor and FC United founder member, has been released on paperback. ‘City of Gangs’ is about Glasgow and how it earned a reputation as Britain’s Chicago. Here is an excerpt, which featured in AFL issue 11…

CYCM 29/03/14: Bath Night in the Afternoon
March 26, 2014 – 6:19 pm | No Comment | by:
CYCM 29/03/14: Bath Night in the Afternoon

Alright, bathing fans, the moment you’ve been dreaming of for so long has arrived: we’re finally going to talk bath tubs. Now before you start getting carried away wondering “Will there be a mention of …

From Orgreave to Moston, we make our own history
March 26, 2014 – 4:01 pm | No Comment | by:
From Orgreave to Moston, we make our own history

We own a football club, we fell in love, and we’re building a stadium because not only were we taught to dream, we also have an unwavering belief that we can make our own history.

Aziz turns 50
March 21, 2014 – 4:25 pm | No Comment | by:
Aziz turns 50

Aziz who also played for Simply Red and Paul Weller said: “I’ve never really had a birthday party so I thought I’d invite a few mates along.”

The Last of the Real Labour?
March 14, 2014 – 3:01 pm | No Comment | by:
The Last of the Real Labour?

Following the death of the great Tony Benn, The Guardian’s Leo Panitch looks back at the life of a man who represented what Labour should really be about:

 
There are two things you need to know …

Viva Bob Crow
March 14, 2014 – 9:20 am | No Comment | by:
Viva Bob Crow

It reminds me of one of them sardine-packed post-match buses back into town from Old Trafford but without a beered-up “he’s here, he’s there, he’s every-fookin-where, Brian McClair” sing song.

CYCM 15/03/14: Submarine Homesick Reds
March 12, 2014 – 5:29 pm | No Comment | by:
CYCM 15/03/14: Submarine Homesick Reds

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always been wary of submarines. Just think about it for a minute: humankind has neither gills nor flippers, yet they enable people to essentially travel and live underwater; an …

Bob Crow – gone too soon
March 11, 2014 – 12:16 pm | No Comment | by:
Bob Crow – gone too soon

Industrial action is the last resort and you don’t take it lightly – but when you start you don’t finish until you have won

Yonners in hilarious, mad, wacky mix up…
March 4, 2014 – 10:36 am | No Comment | by:
Yonners in hilarious, mad, wacky mix up…

It is probably not true, but you never know with the backwards…

Mirror, Mirror on the (newspaper) stall
February 28, 2014 – 11:05 am | No Comment | by:
Mirror, Mirror on the (newspaper) stall

“The aim was to create a sustainable club for the long term. One that was owned and democratically run by its members and that all the communities of Manchester could participate in.”

Important survey on future of FCUM…
February 26, 2014 – 7:39 pm | No Comment | by:
Important survey on future of FCUM…

The feedback from the survey will be invaluable to the club as it develops its activities and plans for the future, especially as it gears up for the move to a new ground and community facility in Moston.

CYCM 01/03/14: Closer Each Day, Hulme and Away
February 25, 2014 – 8:17 pm | No Comment | by:
CYCM 01/03/14: Closer Each Day, Hulme and Away

If there’s one thing in life you can’t argue with, it’s facts. Well actually you can try, but you’ll never win. Facts, by their very nature are indisputable. They don’t deal in ‘maybes’ or ‘possiblys’ …

CYCM 22/02/14: Head-sticking it to The Man
February 18, 2014 – 11:27 pm | No Comment | by:
CYCM 22/02/14: Head-sticking it to The Man

Breadsticks are ace. I mean, really, really, life affirmingly ace. Firstly, they’re a tasty snack that can elevate a buffet from a soggy quiche horror show to a bread-based tour-de-force. Secondly (and more importantly), they …