I’m in me parents’ kitchen, typing words into the laptop they never use. Been in Manchester two weeks, loved every minute. It began with the view from the plane as we circled Ringway. In the cul-de-sac outside, several illuminated kitchens and living rooms can be clearly viewed – people talking, laughing, arguing – and it warms my heart. It is Europe. All my mates have gone mental, barring one or two, but the weird distinctions between what is acceptable and what isn’t remain, even among the mental ones. I’ve gained a stone in 2 weeks, my own version of Man vs. Food. Puddings, pies and kebabs the main culprits. I’ve loved the rain and gloom, but there’s been plenty of blue skies and sunshine, too. In two days I will be crying as I say goodbye, to my family and history. My wife and one year old daughter mean the world to me, but this is where my heart is…The USA is a wonderful place, but one day I hope to bring them here to live. Call me silly, I don’t care. You either understand or you don’t…One day I hope to return…to Mataland!
The day wot we flew, I woke up on cue, not packed a jot, hangover an pot, sped down to Kennedy, full of eggs benedict, she brought pushchair an car seat, an a bag of posh meat, cos “airports peddle poison”, I got the Artois on; throw tantrum, swear, guzzle, dint get nicked though – a puzzle, the babe was the focus, a skrikin likkle locus, of hate to the punters, lined up to the fronters, in a fifteen seat radius, mincemeat they’d a made of us, if it want fer me eyes, all evil an wise, but once past the water, I cradled me daughter, we circled the stack, I looked down at the craic, surprised at developments, high rise and elements, crammed round the centre, that beating placenta, of concrete and glass, with patches of grass, met by a mate, there at the gate, a VIP minder, sez Fergie’s a blinder, an the Glazers aren’t gets, despite all the debts, hugged by me folks, bacon an yolks, beat Scunthorpe United, but why get excited, then I met Andy Mitten, right ‘ere in Britain, in’t’ Pevril o’t’ Peak, one night in the week, we bought a fanzine, he spoke very keen, of life over’t’ water, an expectin a daughter, he ran to meet others, his DIY brothers, Red Issue an such, he loped off through the slutch, near’t’ Briton’s Protection, I give it inspection, faces like bulldogs, defences like hedgehogs, then in comes a text, from a bloke oversexed, a chemical fiend, whose brain is careened, in no time I’m walkin, the ‘Dilly an talkin, ’bout architects an gangsters, we merry pranksters, love’d up on trips, rekindlin’ friendships, dancin on moonlight, far beyond midnight, but it’s no way to roll, when yer forty years old, an I’m nigh forty-five, me heart was alive, gonna burst with the potion, right side of the ocean, next day we played Bolton, I was dead meat wi’ salt on, lyin in feather, under the weather, took me days to get right, me chest feelin tight, an the sky hangs like lead, over me head, in black puddin foodhall, one proper oddball, surrounded by crowds, gabblin loud, feelin depressive, back end of expressive, it looked like Uzbekistan, I looked like Desperate Dan, days bleedin later, a right done potater, so I raced in me car, down to a bar, in Manchester town, wearin a frown, an I met that Mike Duff, still feelin dog-rough, he bought me Holts bitter, the rain went a-pitter, we swapped some signed books, an a few funny looks, he asked “wot’s the mattoh”, the rain went a-pattoh, said “lay off them pills”, I breathed thru me gills, an his mate was called Ted, a Burton Arms head, but Duff was pissed up, with bitter to sup, an I bid ‘em good luck, continued to truck, give Valencia the welly, on a dirty big telly, the ol’ Trafford Centre, a piss-poor adventure, a radio interview, “Salford is into you”, DJ Steve Doyle’s got soul, he’ll swallow yer whole, nil-nil at Mackem, we failed to attack ‘em, back out with the lads, most of ‘em dads, they shoulda known better, doin E’s, coke an Ketta, in a wild Prestwich boozer, no such thing as a loser, come in from the cold, jukebox 20 years old, blastin Roses ‘n’ James, fannin chemical flames, like a lurid French bar, silhouetted overrevved car, but I’m nigh forty five, an I like bein alive, so I phone me ol’ man, he’s there quick as he can, an we get a kebab, like a fuckin big slab, a dog on a butty, in hot spicy putty, an we laugh about life, as he wields the knife, cos it’s nice to be home, like they say “when in Rome….”