Well, I’ve been in Manchester in thought all week,
as, I should imagine, have most of us.
Although just not able to tap into the news and constant updates,
I have been there in spirit undeterred.
Don’t need to be told the details of tragic loss and travesty.
But there’s nothing like a senseless, barbaric, vicious attack on innocents to rightsize all the banalities of your own life, is there?
Quite by chance I came across this old photo of Mum, Dad, Steve and myself at my graduation from Salford.
I didn’t get a brilliant degree, but I got one.
Spent way too much time partying and having fun.
It was a miracle I got one at all really!
But hey! I finished the course,
and got to strut my stuff in a mortar board for a day.
See the building on the right?
That was the Maxwell Building or Tower as I recall.
Back in the day, that was where we held all the big gigs and concerts. I worked in the Union bar (of course!) and got to see loads of great bands coming through in the late 70’s.
The bar was situated below the auditorium, so we would serve drinks until the gig started, clean up, and then go watch the band for free.
I remember the night Bob Geldof was playing with the Boomtown Rats. We were still mopping up downstairs, but we could hear the very, very loud music. The audience was going nuts, pogoing in unison (as you did to punk music), and we could see the windows in the bar below literally bowing under the load. So one of the security guards went on stage and asked young Geldof
to get the crowd to stop pogoing, because it was compromising the structure of the building. So what did the young Irish prat do? Yep, he kicked off about the establishment, and about the system, and he incited them to jump even higher in unison.
The windows started popping, cracks quickly started appearing in the bar below, we ran for our lives, the concert was stopped, the building was evacuated.
And the building remained closed for the rest of my years at Salford. Maxwell Hall was deemed unsafe and required a complete rebuild. Our language faculty was at the very top of the building, and we couldn’t use it any more. We were farmed out to other engineering blocks on campus and along the Crescent for the remainder of my time there. It was a shambles.
So every time I hear or see Geldof on TV, the first thing that goes through my mind is that that stroppy little shyster caused an entire 12-storey building to close down. Do you hear about that? Nope. You hear all about Live Aid and Sir Bob, but you never hear about the chaos he caused at Salford University.
One of the best things about the Linguistics faculty on the 11th and 12th floors was the Pater Noster lifts. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are lifts without doors, like a continuous, ever-moving chain of revolving compartments, and you just had to jump on and off at the appropriate level.
(appropriately translated: Our Father/The Lord’s Prayer. I think it was thus named because the construct resembled a chain of rosary beads. But we used to tell visitors it was because you were well advised to say your prayers before jumping on or off!)
Look! I found a photo from the Salford Uni archives.
Cor blimey! That brought back memories.
At first, the Pater Nosters were pretty terrifying.
But once you got used to them, they were easy to navigate.
And the café was on the top floor, so there was a constant stream of people pouring upwards and downwards.
It really was great. I think they’ve done away with them now. Health & Safety to the rescue!
Ahh but those were the days, my friend.
Love & Hugs,