By Susie Wild
Location: Wilmslow Road
The warning signs are there. Jo’s voice is rising in pitch. There is going to be a row. Or tears. Possibly both. We are all hungover, off to see our mate’s mate’s band play for the second night in a row at the same venue.
Fuel; we sure need some.
Manchester is losing its grimy shine, the but-we-aren’t-in-Wales gleam of adventuring appeal. Drastic action is needed. Trailing behind the whiners and need-to-be-drunk-again ditherers I catch Kate’s eye. She knows the drill, the nod is almost imperceptible. She grabs my wrist and we take a sharp right down an alley, careering, our limbs windmilling into the first bar we come across.
In the dimly lit pub we lean summer-sticky arms on the syrup-sticky bar, order two house triples and down them. Apart from the barmaid we are the only women there. Around us the smell of Brylcreem and urinals permeates the air; rows of quiffs compete with each other for vertical space. An overweight Teddy Boy is singing one karaoke song after another, in tune but lacklustre, his beer gut heaving up and down in time to the music, wiggling his skinny tie like a worm. The room ignores him.
We march up to the cuddly teddy and grab the songbook. Choose ‘Big Spender’. Belt it out. Loudly. Tunelessly. Giggling like the schoolgirls we are. The room ignores us. We love that. We order another triple each, down it, and then leave the surreal Lynchian pub. Run back out into the night, eyes wild, shrieking. Finding the others smoking in the queue outside the gig venue. Jo’s eyeliner streaks her cheeks, but she is exhaling laughter with her nicotine. A storm has passed.
Susie Wild is one of Parthian’s Bright Young Things. Her debut collection of short stories, The Art of Contraception, is out now. www.brightyoungthings.infoStats: