Mondays extras

LIve – high quality film – G-Mex Centre 1990

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‘The whole was always greater than the sum of the parts.’ Shaun Ryder

EXTRACT: Back in Manchester, a pair of bootleggers and ticket touts had organised their biggest ever shows – two sold-out nights (24 and 25 March) at the 10,000-capacity G-Mex Centre, with the strapline ‘The rave is on’. The pair, John ‘the phone’ Kenyon and Jimmy Sherlock, aka Muffin, were also now handling the band’s official merchandise. McGough had reasoned that if he gave the bootleg- gers the ‘in’ – legitimate merchandise sold inside the venue – they would cut the band in on the ‘out’ – the bootleg merchandise sold outside. Kenyon and Sherlock thought all their Christmases had come at once, and had taken the opportunity and run with it. The band thought Sherlock and Kenyon had been lunatics in trying to organise the one night first advertised at G-Mex, and had no con- ception of how Madchester was now being received around the country, pumped up by regular blasts on the radio of ‘Step On’. The pair had sold many of the tickets to coach companies around the UK who organised packages to all the big shows, and much to the band’s disbelief quickly added a second night – which followed the first and sold out. ‘That jump from your regular club to a night in G-Mex, the biggest venue in town, was enormous,’ said Paul. ‘I thought it was madness,’ said Whelan. ‘It was weird.’

Even weirder to look out from the stage and see a sea of young fans in the band’s T-shirts, baggy jeans, many of them copying Shaun’s ‘curtains’, his long centre-parted hair (which he referred to as his David Cassidy haircut). ‘We just thought it was a fashion change, not the influence of the bands,’ said Whelan. ‘We didn’t feel part of a movement.’

In the venue the band had spent time and money installing a vast sound system, one of the biggest ever put together, and a lighting rig. Even on stage they had installed a full-sized PA system because, said Paul, ‘we had to be able to feel it and hear it quite loud for us to get into it’. The atmosphere in the venue was rapturous. ‘I took a lot of drink and drugs before we went on,’ said Paul. ‘I used to have four pint-pots each half full of vodka topped up with grapefruit juice, so that’s two pints of vodka, and I’d do that during the show. So I was drinking quite a lot – and the cocaine was quite a lot. I used to make myself sick so I could get more alcohol down. I got to the point of feeling invincible.’