STONE ROSES BAR – LEEDS
Britpop’s glory years seem so long ago now. For those of us that still live in the bubble of the mid nineties, a night on the town can be a somewhat tawdry affair. Saturday nights spent in bars that, quite frankly, are way too shiny and sparkly for the likes of us. Too many heels and not enough trainers. Too many over priced, unpronounceable drinks and not enough pints. Hunting out that illusive bar that puts on a decent indie night is like searching for a needle in a hay stack. Don’t get me wrong, they are everywhere, but finding one that will keep your feet on the floor for 6 hours and that makes you ache from your neck to your toes the next day? They are few and far between. Nine times out of ten we are subjected to a night of angular student music interspersed with I Am The Resurrection for good measure, a bit of Blur thrown in and always the indie club staple, Don’t Look Back In Anger (the main reason why I now hate this song).
As my mid Thirties go from being a glimmering headlight in the distance to a full on truck in the face, it has never become more apparent than on one of these nights out. Watching men and women half my age flailing around with their nasty blue drinks to the Stone Roses always makes me happy that this music has longevity, but it’s cut short every time when Maximo Park comes on and I sit down and the rest of the kids jump up. Am I too old for this now, seriously, because my dancing days are far from over, I have a lot more left in me before I am subjected to the Saturday night slipper and Midsomer Murders routine.
So I’m on a weekend away to Leeds with my fella, I am sat in the passenger seat of the car taking in the concrete jungle that is Leeds city centre, it’s raining (obviously) and the surrounding architecture complimented this perfectly. Imagine my immeasurable joy when, driving down Brigate, passing under the railway bridge, tucked away amidst a wall of black and grey I see the words etched on the wall ‘Stone Roses Bar – Take me out tonight. Where there’s music and there’s people and they’re young and alive’. This is what I imagine a liquid deprived desert hermit feels when they see water. A flickering beacon of hope that perhaps I am not too old and that Britpop is most certainly not dead.
And then the sun came out.
I hadn’t packed for this occasion, I had packed for a very respectable, well presented evening of wining and dining. That clearly wasn’t going to happen as I hot footed it to the nearest vintage shop to acquire some of Leeds finest Britpop attire. Stepping inside that bar was like stepping back in time. I had died and gone to Britpop heaven. On first inspection it resembled a teenagers bedroom from 1995, walls adorned with icons and heroes. The bar was small, so small that the person to square footage ratio meant that water dripped from the ceiling almost as the rain had fallen from the clouds earlier that day, leaving that indescribable black gloop everywhere from the ankle down. It didn’t matter; I didn’t care because as I walked in they played The Seahorses. Then Cast. Then Oasis. Then The Charlatans. The deal breaker was when the DJ threw on Sally Cinnamon. A rapturous sea of hands rose to the sky as if in thanks. Never, even in my Britpop days had I danced to this anywhere other than the confines of my bedroom. Hallelujah!
My concerns about my age didn’t apply here; I was amongst like minded 30 year old 90’s lovers who were embracing the music just as much as me. There was no trouble, no drunken brawling or women flat on their arse clutching their bottles of pop (never me, ever, honestly), people were almost too busy dancing and singing to drink, this was obvious from the fact that at no point during the night did we even have to queue for the bar, and a bar I hasten to add where drinks were even at 1995 prices! People were dancing on tables, on benches; peoples voices echoed the sound of The Smiths up the street as we left. Like the crap ones in the school choir who got shoved at the back and made to hum, that was us, inharmonious and joyous in equal measure, winding the streets of Leeds eeking out that very last bit of This Charming Man ourselves before bed.