...Months ago me and a group of people were asked to record a session at the BBC in London. Knowing we couldn't afford to just fly there and play the BBC we booked a small tour through the U.K and mainland Europe. It was my 8th or 9th time there so I must say things were a little less then exciting (I sound like a spoiled baby). On one of my early trips there years ago I had a checklist of things I wanted to see. Tourist things I suppose. Berlin wall, Eiffel Tower, Big Ben...etc etc, you get my drift. One small thing I wanted to see was tucked away in a borough known as Salford in the Greater Manchester region of England. To area people it was known for its reaching out to the local youth with random recreational activities in hopes of keeping them off the street. For me being at the time a 22 year old kid from Philadelphia it was known for one thing. THE SMITHS. What it was previously known for had since slowly fallen to the wayside with the release of their "The Queen Is Dead" album. More people (myself included) showed up to get pictures taken in similar fashion to Morrissey and the boys than they did to sign up for boxing or weight training. As sad as that is. I got my picture taken in true tourist/rock fan fashion and the experience far outweighed seeing a wall, a tall metal thing or a 150 year old clock. So what, sue me. My son went to Europe and all he brought back was blah blah blah. Fast forward 5-6 years later and I had returned to the Salford Lads Club. This time much to the dismay of our local tour guide who as he said, and I am paraphrasing "uhhhh brought a thousand bands here". As people who hadn't been there before got their pictures taken I went across the street and purchased an orange juice. When I walked out of the store a man in his late 50's asked "Would you like to see the Smiths room?". My response being "uhhhh" led one of my traveling companions to utter "fucking right", we were off to a great start.
We walked in the club through a side door and were instantly struck by the normalcy of the place. Indoor soccer court and random photos through the years of club members. In the lobbyish area there was a bunch of metal plaques with names of people who had donated money to the club in the hopes of it being restored, complete with Morrisseys name and the amount of money he pledged. We walked into a hall where concerts and plays were given and The Hollies once practiced. After having explained to us a little bit more what the club was for etc etc we travelled up the stairs and were led into and through a room dedicated to boxing. Punching bags, a ring and random other things sat looking as if they hadn't been touched since Thatcher ruled. After aggressively removing the dust from a couple of the punching bags we were led down a winding staircase and to another small indoor soccer court. On the side of it were a few rooms with names above the doors. We were led to a door that said "Smiths". And well......That is where I leave you with photos filled with all things Smiths related, fanfare, memorabilia and so on and so forth.
The Smiths - Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before
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