I was wandering around Manchester Trafford Centre the other evening, catching the last bargains of the summer sales (more on this soon) when, behind the rails and rails (and rails) of mustard coloured chinos in TOPMAN, I found a hardback photo book called CBGB and OMFUG.
I know, WTF? Well, apparently CBGB and OMFUG was a music club playing Country, Blue Grass, Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers. Geddit? It was founded in ’70s Manhattan by Hilly Kristal and, despite not being alive in the 70s (sad times) and having never been to the club, I can quite honestly and confidently say that it is NOT the kind of place I would EVER frequent.
I’m just to snobby.
I like cocktails, hand sanitizer, perhaps even a nice foreign person to squirt Dolce & Gabbana fragrance on me as I leave the bathroom. Not cocks, hands and foreign people squirting god knows what as I run out of the door.
However, thanks to this £3 find in the TOPMAN sale (sub-culture lovingly mass produced) I can gork at the insanity that was CBGB and OMFUG from the safety of my own home. Bonus.
Another thing that attracted me to this book was (it was £3) that it was a hardback coffee table book about a sub-culture/underground music establishment that wasn’t the Hacienda. Living within the M60 in Manchester means that at every turn the Hacienda is rammed down your throat. The legend won’t die, they even knocked it down and it still churns out books, Ellesse collaboration t-shirts exclusive to Harvey Nichols Manchester, revival gigs, spin off clubs, an endless slew of money grabbing initiatives that step further and further away from it’s original intention. It’s like a one-hit wonder pop-star (Leo Sayer) who, after releasing that one good song (Thunder in my Heart), couldn’t bow off gracefully and say good night (Celebrity Big Brother) – OK maybe my metaphor isn’t airtight but the meaning still stands. And yes, I get the irony that CBGB and OMFUG’s book on sale in TOPMAN is guilty of all the same capitalist crimes but I’m a complicated fellow, ya dig?
So, yes, I bought the (£3) book and thought I’d have a flick through. Hilly Kristal (who totally looks like this Norwegian actor in a shit remake of The Thing that I watched last night) writes a nostalgic introduction whereby he praises the club’s legacy and the legacy of the artists that played there.