Taking a deep breath, Lisa and I descended the stairs to a small Thai restaurant in downtown Manchester. After nervously scanning the well-lighted room for a familiar face, I turned to the hostess for assistance. Somewhat hesitantly, I stated, "We have reservations for three under 'Sumner.'"
Within seconds, we were escorted to a table near the entrance marked "reserved" and somehow, found ourselves seated with menus in our hands. Hastily, we ordered drinks--vodka and orange for me, and a Singha beer for Lisa. While sitting and reviewing the menu, Lisa and I both found ourselves starting every time the door opened. However, just as our cocktails arrived and we'd started to relax and enjoy the absurdity of the situation, the glass door swung open and Bernard walked in. Peering at around from behind the potted plant, he caught our stares.
"Are you the Americans, then," he asked. After we nodded, he said "Be right there" and disappeared into the bathroom. In a few minutes, he came back to our table and carrying a black portable computer case, introduced himself, still standing. "Hello, I'm Bernard."
We introduced ourselves and disrupting the interview set-up, he sat down next to me, diagonal to Lisa. Fumbling a bit to settle himself and muttering about not wanting the computer stolen, he first set it underneath his chair, only to pick it up again. Lisa finally offered to put the case on the chair next to her.
"I've just been at Johnny's studios downloading a bunch of stuff for Electronic on this new computer." I mumbled some polite inquiry as to the model and, instantly, he decided to show it to us. Lisa passed the case again across the table and he opened up a brand new Powerbook, complete with a track pad and Apple stickers. I asked him if he had electronic mail and he replied that he was interested, but was worried about viruses. After we'd admired the blank screen for a bit, he turned it off and shut the case with a snap, handing it back to Lisa.
More to make conversation than anything else, Lisa asked about Electronic's progress. Bernard revealed that the album was going really well and that they had some 40 ideas already. They've finished the first single and a video, but were not convinced about "The Forbidden City" as a solid first release. Neil Tennant may do some future recording with Electronic, but Karl Bartos will definitely appear on the album, which should be released after Christmas. I mentioned Kraftwerk's legendary love of cycling and Bernard laughed.
"Whenever Karl comes to Manchester, he always brings his bicycle. He cycles everywhere and and tries to get me out there as well." While we marveled over the mental image of Bernard and Karl cycling around the Pennines, the waiter arrived. Bernard ordered a Singha beer, saying how much he hated British beer because it's not served in a cold glass. Personally, he prefers how beer is served in America and likes them sweeter in taste. Feeling more relaxed, I asked him about Electronic's prospects for touring. Admitting that the 1991 appearance with Depeche Mode in Los Angeles (the Violator tour) was Neil Tennant's idea, he said that yeah, they might tour. Lisa told him how much we enjoyed the San Francisco show for the Republic tour and he said that that had been a particularly good concert.
By this time, we turned our attention to the menu and after some confusion as to who was sharing what, we ordered. Beef curry for Barney, pad thai and a vegetable dish for us, a coconut milk and chicken soup to share, and rice. After we had each given the waiter our order, I mentioned to him how everyone on Ceremony (the New Order/Joy Division bulletin board) had enjoyed reading Peter's comments during the CompuServe conference. Somewhat surprisingly, he expressed interest in joining the board and I told him everyone would be pleased to hear from him directly. During this time, I was struggling to take notes, concentrate on the conversation, get over my nervousness and not down my drink too fast. Finally, said more as a statement, Bernard asked if we had a list of questions. I answered that as a matter of fact I did and would he mind very much if I tape recorded his answers. Graciously, he replied that he didn't mind at all.
Just then, the first course arrived. Waiting for the steaming white soup to cool, I flipped to my notes and asked the first question.
Are you able to walk around Manchester without being recognized?
"Mostly, except when I go out shopping for clothes. I find it a bit embarrassing when people are always looking at what you're buying."
Why do you live in Manchester?
"The simple reason I stayed in Manchester is because my grandmother was here. I've got a son as well--I've got two boys. I don't really want to talk about my family because you get a lot of crazy people out there. Let's just say I've got some family here, erm, and I want to remain near my family. My roots are here as well. It's okay as a city--pretty good as a city."
It's actually quite lovely, says Lisa and the people seem nicer than those in London.
"That was my next...it's not the city I like, it's the people who live here. There's some really great people here."
I mention a conversation a friend and I had the previous night. A student at the University of Manchester, he had remarked on the tension between students and the local people who live and work in Manchester.
"No, no. He's got it wrong. (shaking his head and laughing) Well, there is, there is, but the people who live here like to take the piss out of the students, only to wind them up. We don't mean it, really. The Mancunian sense of humor is to deride the person that you're talking to, but it's meant in a friendly way. Sometimes people take it too seriously. We just know that students are a bit green so we--(pauses)"
Take advantage of them, Lisa supplies.
"--Take advantage of them. (laughs) But we mean it in a friendly way."
He'll be relieved to hear that, I say. So, do you speak any languages other than English?
"Erm, (deliberately and then with a smile) I speak English. And I speak fucking English."
Do you ever hate being a member of New Order?
"Yeah. (silence) Because New Order's had a lot of business problems. (silence again) Yeah, I don't really want to elaborate on it. Let's just say 'sometimes.'"
But because of the business and not because of the music?
"Erm, I don't really want to get into it." (laughs again, then an awkward silence)
Okay...I don't know if you want to share this, but what are your bad habits?
"Heh heh...bad habits. (pauses to think) I make very small problems into very large problems. And I usually get really hot and bothered by it. Erm, I end up blowing my top all the time. Also when I go out to clubs, I drink completely to excess. I usually black out.
"I swear far too much. I've got quite a lot, really. (all of us laugh) But I'm trying to cut down on those things."
Leading a healthier lifestyle?
"Yeah...I bought a lot of these self-hypnosis tapes."
Trying not to sound too surprised, I ask, really?
"'How to stop losing me temper.'"
And is it working?
"No, (laughs) I've just decided it's a waste of my personal energy. So, erm, I'm changing my lifestyle."
What magazines do you read?
"I read music technology magazines--heh heh--(sounding slightly embarrassed) to find out about new advancements in electronic music. And about new products. I also read sailing magazines. I only get to go sailing maybe once a year. I like it because it's the complete opposite of what I do in a band. When you perform, you stand onstage in front of thousands of people. And you're maybe doing that for a couple of months at a time. So for recreation, I like to do the complete opposite of that which is to get away from people."I go sailing to Turkey and it's just a few of you on a boat and it's just the sea and you stay in a different place every night. You stay in beautiful bays and like, ruined cities. There'll be like a farmer on a beach and he'll cook you a meal. It's the complete opposite of the kind of (pauses to think) nervous assault...um, that's not really the right choice of words...high import kind of lifestyle of a musician. It's the complete opposite of being on the road. So I like sailing.
"What I do is, I segregate me life into different sections and I expect to experience a different set of emotions in each section. When I'm on the road, when I'm in the studio and when I'm not doing either of those things, I like to relax. And when I get bored of relaxing time, I like to go to the Haçienda. (laughs) And get completely shit-faced."
Well, it's an amazing place to do it, Lisa says, as we went last night and were probably the only ones wearing jeans.
I add how amazing it was seeing what everyone was wearing.
"(nodding his head) Yeah, it's a real fashion show. Saturday night, they call it fashion show. (laughs) Girls don't wear very much. (laughing, as we agree) But that has nothing to do with the reason why I like going there!"
What was the first and last record you bought?
"The first album I bought was "A Fistful of Dollars" by Ennio Morricone when I was about 16. And the last album I bought was a classical album by--I think he might be an American composer or English--Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" which is a very beautiful piece of music."
Lisa nods and confirms that Barber is English, commenting that it's a particularly lovely piece of music.
And what musical artists inspire you?
"Well, apart from that record, I've been buying a lot of classical music. Let me think about that.
"I like some of Wagner's orchestral pieces, not the operas. I don't like opera. I like Samuel Barber, I like some Mahler, erm, I kind of like slow moving pieces, classical music-wise. I've always liked and always will like Ennio Morricone.
"Pop dance and rock music wise...I like The Smiths. I've always liked Kraftwerk. Kraftwerk were a big inspiration to me. I'm very selective about who I like in pop music because although there's a lot of clever, modern music about that you can go 'yeah, that's clever, it's really good' it doesn't hold any kind of emotional punch, any kind of lasting impression on you.
"Recently, I've started getting into some of Bob Dylan's lyrics--only one song. I think "Knocking on Heaven's Door" is a great song. I think it was absolutely crucified by Guns N' Neuroses! (laughs) I think their version is a dog. They spoilt a really beautiful song.
"I've got a friend who lives in Berlin and he runs a trance music label and I'm getting into some of that trance music."
"Kind of, but faster. Kind of between ambient and techno. It's great how segregated music is these days. I don't like a lot of rock music. It's not in me soul. I find it too macho. I'm not a rocker and, you know, erm, I call it 'cock rock.' And I find it a bit old fashioned. I'm interested in the future and people who are doing new stuff. I like Me Phi Me who are a dance act from the States--it's funny, whenever people ask me these questions, I can never remember (their name) and then I go home and look at my records...(laughs)
"I really like Me Phi Me. A lot of what I listen to I get from dj's, so I'll have a dj tape and I'll have loads of different dance tracks on it and I listen to them. But then, dance music these days has gotten so dispurified that it's kind of only good to dance to in a club. And when you get it home to play it--(interrupting himself)--I think what New Order do and some of Electronic, is to try and make dance music which you can play at home or you can dance to if you want, you know. It's not just a drum box with some guy shouting at you."
So then how do you pick who will do the remixes?
"We picked K-Klass who are a band from Liverpool, who we all liked stuff that they did. Some of the remixes were suggested to us by someone on our record label, at London Records, who's a dance dj, so he told us who was hot and who's not hot. A lot came from him.
Tentatively, I remark how some of the people on Ceremony weren't too thrilled with the Sly and Robbie remixes for "Ruined In A Day."
"Yeah. (laughing) No, I know, I know. Yeah, we didn't think that the Sly and Robbie remixes were the most fantastic thing we'd ever done. But we thought it was one of the funniest things we'd ever heard!
"So that's why we put it out. I mean, we don't have to take everything we do absolutely seriously. But, we thought it was so ridiculous, we'd put it out. (laughing again) I mean, I'd like to do a remix of that track. It's kind of a cinematagraphic kind of track, it doesn't lend itself to remixing, you know."
Would you say that New Order are shrewd or absent-minded?
"Erm, neither. I'd say pretty god-damned stupid. (laughs). Naive. Occasionally naive, occasionally stupid and occasionally brilliant. And occasionally lazy."
And what do you think is the biggest misconception about New Order?
"(pauses) I don't know really, because we are the conception, you know, so misconceptions can't be seen by me. They can be seen by the outsider. I don't read the press about us, neither, if I can help it. I don't know because I would have thought from the interviews we've done that people's conceptions of New Order have gradually changed over the years. I mean, over the year's we've gradually changed, so I don't know the answer to that question. I mean, I'm sure there must be so many of them, you know.
"Alright, I guess the biggest thing that pisses me off is that people think I'm just the lyricist and that I don't write any of the music. Which is completely untrue. I write a lot of the music."
You don't read much of the music press at all?
"No, I don't take the music press...I don't read the good things about us and I don't read the bad things about us because if you start believing one, you'll believe the other, you know. When I'm working, I need to wear blinkers like a horse because I've not got a lot of concentration and I don't want any seeds of bad thought planted into my head. I need to be very confident in what I do. I need to believe in it 100% when I'm working to write a good song. And, you know, I don't want anything to distract me from that."
Well, I ask, I remember reading interviews when you were younger and when you first started, and you were nervous or intimidated by the legacy that Ian had left as the lead singer--
Do you still feel the same kind of self doubt?
"Not really because I think New Order have established themselves and we've overcome that, really. No, I don't, no."
So a year or so later, what do you think of Republic as an album?
"I think it's a mixed bag. I think there are some really good tracks on it and some mediocre tracks on it. Yeah, that's what I really think.
"The thing that overjoyed me about Republic was that we actually finished it. The thing I'm proud of--apart from there are some great tracks on it--the thing I'm really proud of is that we actually soldiered through and finished it. Because if we'd really had any sense, we had so much trouble and strife recording it, we should've gotten the fuck out of there until all the business affairs were sorted out to our satisfaction. But we didn't, we soldiered on. And I'm very proud of it."
Is it true that New Order have a three album deal with London Records?
"Two albums. If we're going to get into that, I wouldn't mind covering that later in my response to the article." (Neil Woodvine's "The Last Punk Band" in noise #2)
Can you share one thing visitors shouldn't miss when coming to Manchester besides the Haçienda and the Dry?
"Erm. (laughs) What they shouldn't miss."
Rather thoughtlessly, I comment how in three days, I think we've seen almost everything.
"Erm. This restaurant?" (all of us laugh)
"I don't...well, I live on the outskirts of Manchester now and the only reason I come into town is for the clubs, really, so...I don't know. It's a working city. It's a bit like Detroit--sort of a crumbling, pale representation of what it used to be. I don't know, because it's in a state of flux, really, is the answer to that question. It's in a state of change. I wish they'd preserve some of the old buildings. They have some beautiful Victorians and architecture from the 1800's. But there are more beautiful cities in Europe. Check out Bath." (laughs).
Quietly, the waiter brings our dinner. We all start to serve ourselves.
"So this is chili. Get some of this. And some nuts (pronounces it "noots" then corrects himself). Nuts."
Lisa laughs and says, I like how you say it better. She offers him some rice.
"Erm, I'm not a big fan of boiled rice, actually, no. It's not the most exciting dish. (laughs) I'm not a big rice fan. And it's not even good for you, rice."
It's not good for you? she says, surprised.
"It's not even good for you. Despite the fact that it tastes of nothing!"
We're all laughing at this and I tell him I'm going to have to inform my mother. Bernard laughs again, protesting "No, don't!" The interview continues.
Lisa asks Bernard what's the last book he's read.
"The last book was an interview with Marlon Brando which was also probably the best book I ever read. I can't remember the interviewer--(interrupts and offers me the plate of beef curry)--would you like some of this? It's pretty hot."
Guardedly, I agree to try a little.
"(returning to his answer) Yeah, it was a series of interviews. Wait--I've just got to have some of this delicious rice so your mother doesn't get upset!" (Takes a few spoonfuls of rice from my bowl)
"It was a series of interviews Marlon Brando did from his island near Tahiti which was very interesting. A good book. Me and him have got so much in common!"
She asks if he reads true as opposed to non-fiction.
"I used to just read non-fiction, but that was because I didn't have much concentration from the amount of drugs I was taking, to be honest. (laughs) Actually, reading a book wasn't much of a turn on compared to gettin' wild or whatever. Now I don't do that so much. I lead a pretty healthy lifestyle. So my ability to read books has come back to me and I really love it. The best fiction I think I've read is a short story by H.G. Well's called "The Door in the Wall." It's a really nice short story. But I love reading--it's great."
How much fan mail does New Order get?
Putting down his fork, he makes a wide gesture with his arms. "77 letters every month."
Startled, I ask, really?
"(laughing) No. Well, I just pick it up every four months or so and sift through it. I don't really know. It's difficult to quantify it. It depends if you've just done a tour or if you've just done an album, if you're fresh in people's minds. I don't read a lot of it and I don't reply to any of it because there are too many crazies about."
Lisa then asks the question I can't bring myself to ask, which is why did Bernard agree to meet with us.
"Because you've taken the trouble to do a fanzine and also you've come all the way from the States, really."
Well, we appreciate it, we both stammer.
I add, yeah, that was very nice. We were quite surprised, Lisa says.
"(laughs) I don't want planeloads of Americans coming over to do interviews!"
Lisa jokes that we'll go out and tell all our friends.
"Also, it's a good way to get a direct line to some of you fans rather than do it impersonally through interviews. It's good to talk directly to fans, which I guess I'm doing now by answering these questions. We do care about our fans."
Being a classical music major in college, Lisa expresses interest in Bernard liking classical pieces and asks if he attends live performances.
"No. I don't get a lot of time to do that. I work everyday during the week. On the weekend, I've got the Haç or I go somewhere outside of Manchester and chill out, so I don't get a lot of time. Also, if you take 100 to 200 years of classical music, there's bound to be piles and piles of shit classical music and it's hard to find the orchestra that's playing just the piece that I like. But I'd love to go and see just the piece that I like. I'd like to go see Beethoven's "7th Symphony" but I don't want to go on too much about classical music because it sounds like I'm being highbrow."
I ask if he goes down to London very often.
"I've not been to London for a long time. My friends got nightclubs down there so sometimes I do go to nightclubs."
And actually, this is one of my last questions. One of the people who wrote to noise wondered if you were going to have a dinner, who you would invite, living or dead.
"I think Marlon Brando would be one. Dead--Ian Curtis and all my relatives who have died, really. (laughs) I'm not really a big fan of celebrity, you see. Even when I was a child. I never had any respect for celebrity. It's ideas I'm more interested in. I'm not interested in people's fame. I'm interested in what lies behind the fame. And the ideas."
Well, that was actually my last question, I say, I should've come up with more.
"(mouth full) No, that's alright."
We thought it would be very brief, Lisa adds.
"No, that's fine."
After the plates were cleared, Bernard responded to the article by Neil Woodvine that had appeared in noise #2, "The Last Punk Band." Holding the zine folded back in his hand, he took his time and answered and in a few cases, refuted some of the major points of the Neil's criticisms. Reading each paragraph aloud, he carefully explained the group's reasons for moving to a major label after the Factory crash, speaking into the tape recorder.
"I find the article really interesting and I find it very honest. You know, we don't mind criticism and I thought it had some good points.
"(scanning the first paragraph) Alright, he doesn't like the idea of us signing to a major label. Feels a major label will take our artistic freedom away. (pause) I'll deal with this paragraph by paragraph.
"We signed to London Records because Factory Records--(begins again)--the way our deal works or worked, was that we were signed to Factory Records in England and Factory Records licensed the deal to Qwest Records in America and to various different independent record labels around Europe, really, and the world. The reason we signed to London was because Factory Records, our mother company, went bust. They went broke. Erm, I'm not going to go into the reasons why they went broke. I think that's something that you could speak to Tony Wilson, the head of the record label, about. But we signed to London Records because when Factory went down, they went down owing us a lot of money. A lot of money. Basically, as far as I'm concerned, they went down without paying us for Technique. That amount of money. So we signed to London Records because they offered to pay back the Factory debt plus to complete the recording of Republic. Factory Records went down half way through Republic so London offered to pay us the money that Factory owed us plus finish the recording of Republic. So we didn't get paid an advance, we just got paid back the money that we were owed.
"So we didn't lose out, basically, and that's why we signed to London Records. It wasn't a question of us being greedy, it's just a question of us to be paid back for the money that we'd already worked hard for. And we were all very angry at Factory for owing us that amount of money. You know, basically for not paying us the money that was due to us. And spending it on something else. You know, independent or no independent label, major labels do pay you. I'm sure if you work for a company--I don't know what your jobs are--but if you work for a company that didn't give you wages, you'd feel kind of aggrieved towards them and think that it was wrong and it's just the same for us. So, you know, Factory is not, erm, such the pure virgin that maybe this guy thinks she is.
At Factory for fourteen years, New Order could do whatever they liked whenever they liked. Singles weren't solely a promotional tool for the simultaneous album release. Lovingly crafted, they developed over as long a time as needed...
"His point here is that we didn't always release singles off our albums to promote the album...and he's mourning the fact that this is gone. I agree totally with him over this, totally with him. I think he's right about this point. But our American record label won't release a single unless it is on an album, um, because he feels that the single is completely wasted, saleswise cause it can't promote it, budgetwise. Basically, if we put a single out, only our fans, our hardcore fans, will buy it and they would rather see it on the record and they regard singles as a "commercial" for the album. Yeah. So this is a thing that's come about because of an American label's attitude towards selling records, not London, to be fair to London--this happened before. But I agree with him. It's great to put records out just in the middle of nothing and not purely for promotional sales and in fact, with Electronic, we try and do that. We did 'Disappointed' and I don't know if that came out in the States, but that wasn't on any album. We also did 'Getting Away With It' which wasn't on the album in England; it came out long before the album.
"Another thing against doing this is simply our schedule because even if you don't see it over there, we do work all the time and are incredibly busy. Basically, an album takes a year to make and then you promote it for six months doing interviews all over the world and then we tour for six months and part of that touring time includes getting the album ready to tour. So, every album is a two-year project and in those two years, we're so busy it's very difficult to get the time to make a single like we used to because increasing success brings with it increasing demands and that goes worldwide, you know, so we don't get as much time. But I do agree with him that it's great to put out singles just for your fans."
Tony Wilson and all at Factory did not do everything right as evinced by their subsequent demise. But in spite of wasting copious amounts of New Order's cash on dismal projects, there was little pressure on the band to step on to the tour/album/tour treadmill.
"Right. I could dispute that completely. There was pressure on us to tour from our management, from all the record labels including Factory Records, because the way the Factory deal was structured, they got a cut--I think this is right (looking at me for confirmation). He also goes on about us having a 50/50 record deal here. Right, which is true to a certain extent in England and Europe--we did have a 50/50 deal. But the fly in the ointment, as they say, is that Factory Records got 30% of our American deal. So when you deducted that from our English deal, it wasn't actually 50/50. It was just a slightly better deal than most groups get. Yeah. It just looked good, you know, it just looked good. Most groups don't give a lot of their American earnings away because America is a really big market for us. So the Factory deal wasn't as good a deal as it looked.
"And as far as touring goes, we did used to tour a lot but we didn't just tour in America, we used to tour in Australia, Japan, Scandinavia, France, England...so we did tour. Enough as I ever wanted to tour, anyways. But no record company really pressured us to tour in a real heavy business way, but they certainly pressured us in a more subtle way."
Total control of all recordings remained in New Order's hands. They were 'doing-it-themselves'--the last remaining punk band!
"Yeah. That's true and I say it still is true apart from the financial pressures of making Republic. But this thing about--there has been an external pressure for us not to release singles outside of albums--this has come from our American record label and we've not done it, you know? As far as I can see. But I gave the reasons for that earlier on."
November 24th 1992 saw the end of a dream as Factory announced bankruptcy and the industry anxiously watched as the New Order catalogue went up for sale. The ideal solution would have been an independent New Order record label...but in the music business money talks and large advances talk even louder.
"I think I've covered this before about the fact that Factory owed us an enormous amount of money. And we couldn't set up our own record label because we didn't have the money. If Factory had paid us, perhaps we could've done that, but the fact really is that our hands were tied by the amount of money that Factory owed us when they went down. And, as I say, we didn't get a large advance off London Records, we just got paid the money that Factory owed us. But to do that, we had to sign to London Records, so we couldn't do our own record label."
I'm skeptical because the audience's view of New Order has to alter. London Records will want to recoup on the deal and don't believe it hasn't already started. When was the last time New Order released four singles off a mediocre album?
"I agree that the pressure to release four singles--I agree, he's totally right about this point--has come from London Records and we, erm, bowed to their request on this as a group, just because we felt they bailed us out of the shit. So we felt we owed them one. So yes, we said yeah, you can release four singles."
And why waste a perfectly good song on a B-side when another dodgy remix will suffice?
"The reason for doing remixes is again because we don't, once, we've made an album, we really, really don't have an awful lot of time. By about a month, two months later, after preparing the material, we have to sit in a room with computers.
"After finishing the album, we may go on holiday for a couple of weeks. We come back from holiday and we'll start programming the stuff to play live which takes a lot of time because a lot of our music is computerized, and sampling stuff off and making sure that the songs sound good live. After we done that, we start doing interviews, a continuous tour of Europe doing interviews in America, Australia, Japan and then after that, we go out playing live. So we don't have loads of time, you know, not do a dub for the B-side, to put a fresh track on. Especially on Republic, when we were making it there was a lot of bad feeling going down because of Factory. It wasn't the most fun album to make, it wasn't a good time. In fact, it was bloody awful. So we didn't really have too many tracks left over, to be honest, to use on B-sides. And also, we like working with remixers. Although you may not like everything that they do, occasionally you get a really good remix and from that remix, we can learn something as a band, you know, we can learn something fresh.
"(reading the last paragraph) He goes on about not wishing to see us as a stadium band. Neither have I. Which is precisely why I don't like touring. I hate the whole idea of, you know, mega-rock. I absolutely detest it and I'll do everything in me power to stop New Order or Electronic ever becoming anything remotely like U2.
With the end of the formal interview, Bernard kindly agreed to sign some autographs for the noise competition. After he took care of the bill, we exited the restaurant and the three of us stood awkwardly outside on the sidewalk. Politely, he asked us a few questions about our plans for the rest of our trip. When we said we were going up to Edinburgh the next day, he teased us.
"Going up to Scot-LAND to visit the Scotch?" No, we protested, we know better than that. Waving his right arm in a direction vaguely towards the train station, he suggested visiting the Whitworth Art Galleries if we had time. When we said that we were actually on our way to check out the Dry Bar, he smiled and said that it would probably be pretty slow on a Monday night. Suddenly, Bernard asked where we were staying. Slightly embarassed by the significance of our hotel's location, I replied that we were actually staying in Didsbury, on Palatine Road but only because it was economical. Shaking his head with a laugh, he snorted.
"Didsbury? Oh God, you'll get a great view of Manchester from there!" With that, he shook our hands and left, leaving Lisa and me to find Oldham Street in the near twilight.
Reprinted with permission from the authors