Shot By Both Sides - Magazine
Also in Manchester, a fellow student who lived in the same house as us was the divertingly named Patrick Moore, long blonde / white hair a la Johnny Winter, back boots and hailing from Colne, Lancashire. He was a peculiar mix, devotee of Tom Waits in particular and American rock music generally, resolutely socialist but an old school alpha male, and he had a girl friend who stuck to him like Araldite named Julia - I think - but whom he called (and therefore was universally known as) Dope. She seemed wholly subservient to Pat, doing his every bidding, and projecting a fairly stupid demeanour that I suspected was mostly feigned such was her adoration of her man and her wish that his sense of intellectual superiority over was maintained in the interests of their continuing relationship. One day they came home with Pat angry and indignant and Dope weeping piteously. Worried we had a case of domestic violence on our hands, we rushed to see what the problem was. Pat was incandescent over the fact that Barry, the bass guitar from local band Magazine, had propositioned Dope and Pat felt he and Dope had been dishonoured as Barry knew they were a couple. Pat had responded by challenging Barry to a fight. This seemed to us non-Mancunians to be some kind of Moss Side rite of passage, so we expressed our sympathy and offered to come along and support him. On the appointed day we assembled and just before we set off, Pat briefed us on the forthcoming fray at which moment we all realised that when we had said we would "support" him, he had thought we were volunteering to fight alongside him, when our idea of "support" was to stand around shouting things like "Come on Pat" and to carry him home afterwards. He told us that he'd rung Barry, agreed the numbers at 6 a side, and that hammers and knuckle dusters were out, no glassing, it was strictly a fist fight. I've no idea why, but none of us chickened out, we all traipsed along behind him, wondering how the hell we'd got ourselves into this mess. Where I was concerned, it was as though Bertie Wooster had turned out in support of William Holden in "The Wild Bunch".
We met in the pub, and Barry was there alone. He turned to Pat, politely apologised for any misunderstanding, conveyed that he wasn't in the least bit interested in Dope somehow without in any way besmirching her honour, beauty and intelligence, and offered to treat us all to a pint. We stayed at the pub till closing time and got thoroughly drunk with Barry and his mate Howard who turned up later, as did Dope.
The band released this as a single the following year and I always associate it with the incident, my sense of panic encapsulated by Howard Devoto's tense vocal, the heavenly, chunky guitar riffs and of course Barry's driving bass. It's a good a piece of post punk as there is, and might have even been inspired by our incident had the fight gone ahead.
Certainly it described my planned exit.
"I wormed my way into the heart of the crowd I wormed my way into the heart of the crowd I was shocked to find what was allowed I didn't lose myself in the crowd"
and maybe how Dope was feeling by the end.
"Shot by both sides On the run to the outside of everything Shot by both sides
They must have come to a secret understanding
New offences always in my nerves They're taking my time by force...."
Although there was a moment at around about 10.30 when I caught her looking wistfully at the handsome and courteous Barry, for just an instant before reverting to type and cuddling up to Pat.