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Mike Randle

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“Lonely Sheffield, Manchester Whores and One Heck of a Curry”
June 15 2002

Yesterday (Wednesday) was our day off. I woke up at 8am and caught a city tram to the City Center, where I wrote yesterday’s diary. Well, later that night, Gene, Dave Chapple, Chapple’s girlfriend Natalie, Nat’s sister Michelle, their cousin Dani (from Sheffield), Dani’s boyfriend Paul (from Sheffield), Rusty, Daddyo and I went out for an amazing curry in the Afro-Caribbean section of Sheffield. Afterwards we went to a club/bar for drinks and the DJ was playing, I guess, techno? I don’t know because I don’t really pay much attention to deejays or Dance Pop or whatever it’s called this week. Around Midnight we got tired of that scene, although there was one woman with a rather large rack and a very revealing top and her boobs were always one turn from spilling out. But it never happened and, quite frankly, I was sick of waiting. Nothing works in England.

So we taxied back to the hotel and Chapple, Rusty and myself closed the hotel bar down. They tried to kick us out at 1 am but we somehow stayed to 1:45am. And after an “OK” night’s sleep (I keep having a re-occurring dream – more on that later…), I woke up at 7:45am. I took one last walk around the area near our hotel. Sheffield was leaving me with an interesting impression; I really like this place I thought to myself. The people were kind and simple, and seemed unaffected or shocked by nothing. It was as if the City could care less what you wore, ate or how you spoke. As a matter of fact, when some people realised I was a “Yankee” they began telling me how sorry they felt for the States during the days after 9-11. I thought it touching. So, Thank You, Sheffield.

After my walk I sat down at the desk and began reading the “Manchester Book” that Natasha Donald had given me. I read the first 39 pages and found it fascinating. One of the most interesting stories was one about Polly Evans, the Madame who published a book in 1865 titled “Memoirs of Madame Chester”. Although originally from North Wales, she realised that there were lots of wealthy men in Manchester with “more money than brains” as she puts it, and decided to set up a nice little up-scale brothel. She was all of 16, by the way.

Now, every Society has it’s own way of confronting or dealing with Prostitutes. Possibly (or probably), the Dutch have the most Common Sense when it comes to whores. In Amsterdam there is the Red Light District, where the women rent little rooms with a window. They pay taxes and have to have their health inspected every 4 months or so. They have to renew their “whore license” every year. If someone is looking for a roll in the hay, lonely or just plain looking for a little something you can’t get at home, you simply pay for it, like anything else in this world. Now, whether you get your money’s worth is subjective. But it is out of view of children and the rest of their Society. You have to go to it. It doesn’t come to you. Now, I’ve never gone to a Hooker before, but that may have more to do with me being cheap than anything else (Hey, I don’t even like to pay for the Parking…)

But, Puritan Societies like the USA, England and Canada cannot deal with issues like these (and why are they issues anyway?) and legislate and waste tax money to prevent 2 consenting adults from “doing it”. It all seems a bit silly doesn’t it? That’s why I so enjoyed reading about Polly Evans. And if anyone has a biography on her, I would be very interested in reading it. I’ve never quite understood the Puritan attitude. Call me shallow, but regardless of what amount of money you spend, no matter how many pints you buy, or how many flowers and candy bits you bring, IT IS ALL THE SAME THING, WITH THE SAME END RESULT. But, you say, your argument is that there are real feeling involved on one side. Really? You mean the feelings of obsession and the desire to conquer and tame that other person? Or do you mean the sometime mission to leave the other person vulnerable? Or the feelings of love in the beginning and the feelings of hate in the end? These are more “moral” and “admirable” than the loner that just wants company and isn’t bothered to pay for it. Sorry, but I see no difference.

I’m not sure why I’m making (and sharing) all these observations; they have nothing to do with music! But so what huh? We have 4 more shows and then this tour is done. The plan was to go to Stockholm before the Roskilde festival on June 29th but Gene changed my flight to London, so now I’ll be in London form June 18th to June 28th with nothing to do. So I think I’ll make a holiday in York at Ringo and Toni’s house in the city. I rather fancy York over London, plus it’s cheaper. Don’t get me wrong; London is great. But I want some Peace and Quiet. Been thinking about writing a Novel, maybe a few songs. I could never do that in London because I have too many friends there and I have a tough time saying no to a night out at the local pub. I mean, York has plenty of pubs, but it also has that beautiful English Countryside. Very inspirational, that side. But I was really looking forward to the warm sun in Stockholm (the sun is up till Midnite) but, alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

Well it’s 10:30am and soon we’ll be heading to Wolverhampton for the 22nd show on this tour. Then it’s London on Friday night. Then Paris on Saturday and Dublin on Sunday. Then a short holiday, then a large festival (16,000 – 20,000 people) and then back to my flat near the Santa Monica Beach. And that L.A. Summer Sun and all those girls rollerblading on the beach in Bikinis (or less). It’s not an easy job but somebody’s gotta do it.

Mike Randle

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