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Ryder On The Storm

Stuart Bailie | 23:24 UK time, Monday, 29 November 2010

It's October 1992 and I'm at Factory Records, Manchester, due for a meeting with Shaun Ryder and his pal Bez. I find the famous record label at its most extravagant. The uber-expensive board table gleaming, the building is handsomely apportioned and Tony Wilson is bounding about, talking success and unreal notions.

But many of us suspect that it may not all be well. Happy Mondays have been spending thousands on an album called 'Yes Please' in Barbados. There had been mishaps with Shaun and some chemicals, while Bez broke his arm repeatedly - even water skiing with a compound fracture. As a result, his gammy limb is now bolted together with steel pins and bolts.

Shaun wears a Gautier jacket, but his head's in a mess. He had been saying mean things about rent boys in the tabloids. This had caused NME gunslinger Steven Wells to roar into the argument and to dismiss the band as a bunch of ill-informed thickos. Meantime, the album was sounding thin, the sales were dipping and the kids were looking elsewhere.

So it was my job to see if there was any give with the two performers, to look for a deal of repentance, maybe even wisdom. And in truth I think there was some. Certainly the Mondays were no longer the poster boys for ecstasy-fired adventure. Shaun was bloated and battling out of rehab. Bez was like some hollow-faced android. I felt sorry for them, and glad to get the return train to London. The 24 hour party people were all used up.


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