Over the Christmas period there was a fire on Wigan Street in a factory that had asbestos in its roof. I got quite a shock when I saw it on the news – we had lived in the building through the wall right next door for several years. All through Ang’s time at Wellington high school just up the road – most of the 90s.
We sold the Holloway Road house to buy it. It was a three-storey flat with a vast workshop out the back and I loved the place. The original structure was two-storey, concrete and brick built in the 30s with a room added later on top and the big workshop.
Michelle took the turret, Ang had the big front room on street level and we had the first floor as our lounge and living area. I got the big workshop out in the back.
A lot happened to me over the years we lived there.
Michelle became a highly paid manager at the City Art Gallery
I built a soundproofed music studio under the mezzanine in my workshop. The Spines in those days was Andy Craig on bass, either Ant Donaldson or Tim Robinson on the drums and me. I had the opportunity to develop my loud guitar sound and delve into the sonics of the Gretsch and the Telecaster – it was a place I taught myself so many parts of what I am today.
Michelle gave me an old computer from work and then sat me down and told me that she was leaving me in Ang’s bedroom. He was in Panama at the time on an AFS trip.
There was no way I could afford the place on my own after the one-sided settlement and in the last few days there I met Jane and started writing a new type of song.
In a way it was a launching pad to a totally different kind of life for me. I went out into the real world from there with all this ammunition – artwork and songs and skills. After leaving that place I became a different sort of being – one with more love in its heart, one who looked forward to meeting new folks and one that had to stand alone.
It wasn’t easy to leave it all behind but that in itself is the lesson and the only certainty is change. It was a major shift and I’m still up in the air as to where it’s left me…
I saw Michelle on the bus by chance last Friday
She looked good and we had a nice conversation about our son and the fire in Wigan Street