I was in the same room as Matty Healy. Granted, so were about a thousand other people, but I really felt the connection between me and Matty. He is absolutely amazing. I love watching him perform because he gets so into the music. He’s literally performed these songs thousands of times but he still puts so much into it. And he engages the audience and tells us to put our phones away. If you watch his interviews, he makes it very clear that he is actually really uncomfortable with the fame and he just wants music to be an outlet for young people, much like it was for him. God, I love Matty Healy so much. He’s just so honest. Like when he came back out for the encore, he was just like, “This is just something performers do. I’m not really gonna leave.” I don’t know. He’s just so raw and so passionate about his music. Just watch one interview and listen to him speak and you’ll just think, this guy is so down to earth and talented and so intelligent. His brain is ridiculously amazing.
I just really love The 1975. I love their aesthetic and their sound and everything about them. I especially, especially love their lights. The frames are just so freaking pretty. Combined with the smoke effects, what you get is a silhouette of the band and it’s just so damn amazing. They’re also so good live.
Manchester is such an amazing place. I had to stay at the train station through the night because the next train to Edinburgh didn’t leave until 6:30 in the morning. So we got there at 11:30ish and Sarah left at like 1:30. Which meant I had five hours to kill in a train station. Let me give you a piece of advice. Do not stay in a train station overnight. Going in, I kind of had an idea what I was getting myself into. But it was way colder than I expected. And I was way more tired than expected. And the seats were way more uncomfortable than expected. And there was a surprising number of people in there with me. Manchester Picadilly is a really nice train station.
So I was there, half nodding off, when this guy sitting a couple of seats over from me stands up. And he walks a couple of feet, and his eyes are closed. So I’m like, okay this guy is totally sleepwalking. Then he starts stumbling toward the platforms, which are outside, and I’m just watching him. And he walks toward the door and walks into the wall and stumbles backward. He was like holding his head and he was totally bleeding. And then he continued to stumble away! I didn’t see him for another four hours.
Anyway, then this forty-odd year old dude sits near me and starts talking to me and I’m like, well fuck. See, people from SF just don’t do that shit. Like, chances are, people who talk to you on public transportation are either crazy, trying to kidnap you, or both. But it’s not like that here. People just talk to each other and try to get to know each other. Anyway, I mentioned that I was there for The 1975 concert, and we started talking about how the entire punk movement basically started in Manchester. Joy Division, The Smiths, Oasis, and The 1975 are all Manchester bands! It’s just so interesting because The 1975 and Oasis couldn’t be more different (Matty Healy is a sweetheart and Noel Gallagher… isn’t). But it’s just so amazing that so many of my favorite bands started in Manchester. And I was there, where it all started, you know?
I think being in Europe (and especially Edinburgh) puts me into the mentality of like, this park bench is probably older than my country and therefore this place is historically and culturally significant. But Manchester isn’t like that. It’s really the first ever industrial city—so when industry went, this amazing music movement developed. And that was what, the 70s? I don’t know. I used to read about that stuff all the time. Counterculture, you know? What I would give to have been at Woodstock. But that’s beside the point. I like knowing where my favorite bands come from (not geographically, but culturally and socially) and what influenced them. I spent many an hour on Wikipedia researching these things. Who knew it would come to use at 3am in a train station?
Manchester is so influential in that regard. Think about it. All of these bands came from the same geographical place. Isn’t that fucking serendipitous? Without the shittiness of a post-industrial Manchester, punk wouldn’t exist. Without The Smiths, there would be no Oasis. Without Oasis, there would have been no Britpop invasion in the US, and there would be no grunge movement that developed in response to it. Which means no Nirvana. And where would we be then? Even taking The 1975, though Matty is always trying to differentiate them from the “Manchester band,” they are a Manchester band. And The 1975 really is something special.
So without Manchester, where would we be? Literally, two of my favorite bands of all time are Oasis and The 1975. Consistently ranked. So what the fuck would I listen to? Manchester is fucking amazing.
Anyway, my train was scheduled for 6:33am. So at 5:30ish, I went to Starbucks to grab a pumpkin spice latte because I was freezing. I never go to Starbucks. This was probably the first time I bought something there in years. So I leave Starbucks and check the train schedule. Manchester to Lancaster, Platform 14. Okay. I get to Platform 14 at 6:23. Train cancelled. What? It literally took me two minutes to walk to the platform. The train somehow got cancelled during that time. Fine. I go back to the desk and ask. Next train to Edinburgh is at 7:45. Great.
I go back to Starbucks for the wifi. At this point, the station has a lot more people and is getting pretty busy. They play French music at Starbucks. I feel like I’m in Hugo. I get on the train at 7:45. I immediately knock the fuck out. I wake up an hour later, feeling very nauseated. I had forgotten that I don’t go to Starbucks because coffee makes me nauseated. I hate coffee. I hate Starbucks. I hate cancelled trains. I love Matty Healy and I love Manchester. I also feel much more at home when I start to hear more Scottish accents on the train.
Life lesson? Don’t sleep in a train station overnight.