Paying My Respects
By Lee Ashworth
Location: The Temple of Convenience, Great Bridgewater Street
The old ones are the best. Bands, tracks, friends and bars. It was starting to rain as we descended the steep steps to The Temple. Maybe we were looking for cover. Maybe we were enticed inside by the sound of Sweet Jane drifting up into the damp Manchester evening. The Velvets. Seemed so right. Underground in every sense of the word. Lou Reed was half way through his story as we swung in through the doors.
There wasn’t much room inside, but then again there never is. More than a couple of people and the place is pretty packed. It was filling up nicely, the atmosphere was building, groups of young men and women coalesced and discussed strategies for the night ahead. Shopping bags dropped to the floor, smiles grew wide and eyes began to sparkle in the stingy, subterranean light. I headed over to the bar to pay my respects and the other two grabbed some seats round a table at the end of a sofa.
They were locked in conversation when I returned with the beers. I leaned back against the upholstery and took a sip of Schneider Weisse. It was then I noticed him for the first time, sitting at the table on my right, scribbling in his notebook then lifting his head to scan the room before taking up his pen once more. I watched him for a few minutes before he moved to the small room. Or should I say the even smaller room?
As soon as he left our field of vision, Mark turned to me, breaking off mid-conversation to say: ‘Well, at least we’re still interesting to somebody.’
‘Your man there in the corner, who’s just popped out to the gents, he seems to be writing down everything he hears or sees…’
‘How do you know what he’s writing?’ I asked.
Duxbury chimed in: ‘It’s just that he keeps on looking over, pausing, then writing down notes…. God knows.’
‘You should ask him when he comes back,’ Mark said, smiling.