Welcome to the Forever Manchester blog that begins this week with Manchester music and The Stone Roses.

It is twenty years next month (May 1989) since the release of The Stone Roses eponymous debut album, a record that became the sound of a summer not only here but far beyond the shores of the Manchester Island.

Last week the NME hailed the record “the greatest debut album ever” and put the band’s 1989 paint-drenched photo (taken by Mancunian Kevin Cummins) on the front cover again.

Stone Roses 20th Anniversary cover

Stone Roses 20th Anniversary cover

They also carried a great article about the album by Manchester-based music journalist John Robb who also detailed the importance of the band in his excellent book The Stone Roses and The Resurrection of British Pop (published by Random House).

The music of The Stone Roses managed to walk the line between the House sound of the Hacienda and the Indie scene that had never really gone away but was in a bit of a hiatus in the late 80’s. The Stone Roses created their own sound from a weird and wonderful collection of influences effortlessly combining funk-driven bass and drums with soaring guitar and harmonious vocals.

The record is almost perfect (I could live without “Don’t Stop” and would now include “Fools Gold”) with individual tracks providing dance-floor fillers but the whole 50-minute ensemble working as a superb slab of pop. For me, it has stood the test of time far better than other Madchester (never did like that term) moments of the same era, although you may disagree…

It also has that Manchester mystique that pervades so much of the culture of the city summed-up by two things; the shambolic triumph of the Spike Island gig in August 1989 (which may feature in a future blog) and the chaotic collapse of the record contract that denied us another taste of the band until 1994. It was as if the genius of the group had been unceremoniously removed from the scene in the early 90’s and by the time they got back to the studio the world had moved on.

On a personal note it was The Stone Roses album and the tour that accompanied it that brought me to Manchester in 1989. Like the sound of the sirens summoning Odysseus to the shore I beached-up on the Manchester Island because if you had even a passing interest in music culture in 1989 there was only one place to be… actually I ended-up in Salford but that’s another story.

Of course at Forever Manchester we are grateful to Ian Brown from The Stone Roses not just for great music but for his wonderful quote that prompted us to provide a beach on the Manchester Island. “All Manchester’s lacking is a beach. If it had a beach it’d be a great city” according to Brown.

As well as living and working in Greater Manchester I am a confirmed Mancophile who loves learning about anything to do with the two cities and the eight boroughs that make-up the Manchester conurbation. As a recently qualified Tourist Guide I am forever reading and absorbing Manchester facts, stats and stories. I will share the more interesting and insightful material with you on the blog.

I will also use the blog to provide more information on some of the forthcoming Forever Manchester events as well as on the difference that the Infinity Fund is making to communities in the conurbation.

I will try to cover as diverse a range of topics as possible. For example, in the pipeline at present are pieces on Maharajah the elephant that walked to Manchester whose skeleton is now on display again at Manchester Museum, Heaton Hall which was described by a leading architect as the finest building of its period in the country and is now open to the public again until October and something on a new concept being developed by The Manufacturing Institute in Manchester that will apparently enable anyone to design and make almost anything themselves in what are known as Fab Labs. I like the idea of ordinary people being able to make extraordinary things and I will report back on this next week.

Wishing that you were here on the Manchester Island!

To visit Forever Manchester island go to www.forevermanchester.com