‘Eeeyaah mate, your ‘air is cool as fuck, yeah?’
Compliments don’t come any more Mancunian than that. Thanks pal. The swaggering fashionista is obviously high and hasn’t had the memo that Definitely Maybe was 1994. He sways off – a legend in his own mind, yet certainly a bell end in mine – and sits with his skinny, tracksuited girlfriend. She lifts the lid off her Maccy D’s cup and pokes the ice with a straw and a temper. They look like they’re coming down but trying to keep the dream alive on a very dwindling supply. Two squashy, unseasoned cops are hanging around in uncertain earshot of them, making everyone nervous. Maybe the muppets’ shopping bags are full of five-finger-discounts from USC and the young policemen have matched an ID. Either way, Mickey and Mallory are off. They split for the escalators down to the ground floor of Piccadilly Station and out of sight, cops in pursuit.
Voyeuristically gobsmacked through the glass from the bar above the station approach, Manchester is the new Gotham City, and Scarecrow has used a stolen microwave emitter to vaporize the water supply. It’s bonkers. Men on Spice stagger like something from Shaun Of The Dead. Fully-grown blokes in shades check their hair and then pout for angled selfies. Grossly fat twelve year-old girls are dressed for a paedo dystopia that’s seemingly been sponsored by Coca Cola. Everyone is texting. Everywhere.
Earlier and further in town, it wasn’t any better. Metal detectors and concrete ram protection around Albert square remind us that we need to be scared of people driving lorries into crowds. Pigeons eat Greggs and people queue out of the door of Sainbury’s Local to get substandard, sugary wank-pasta in a plastic tub. Homelessness and street use is out of control. There are literally hundreds of people sat in doorways begging, sleeping, collapsed, out of their face and giving up. It’s like the end of the world is nigh and people have somehow lost faith in the great leaders like Donald Trump, Theresa May and President Assad to turn things around. Imagine.
A man with a chipped ID lanyard and check shirt eeks past the table, interrupting my bewilderment. He simpers an awkward kind of ‘what the fuck is happening?’ kind of face, and carries on to the bar. Good move fella. Get smashed in and just forget everything. Heading to the Secure-Code loo before catching the train across the Pennines, I hope that closing the door on the outside world – even for just a piss – will offer some brief respite from the anarchy of Madchester. I get my cock out and start to drain. Made it. But just when I think I’m safe, I hear two men jacking-up in the cubicle. Crikey. Lord help us.
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