One day I was opening up the old shop. There was a place where people could put up posters and flyers around the shop and there was this guy knocking on the door. No teeth, crew cut, mid 50’s and he’s going intensely “Where did you get this fucking poster from? Hey where did you get it from?”. I looked at him, could see he was alright and opened the door. Again he’s asked where he could get the poster from. The poster was something that a mate had done and it was the connection between Manchester and Detroit – House Music and Northern Soul and on how the music had hit Manchester especially hard at different times.
Anyway, he says that on the poster was a 7” Record that his brother owned, so I usher him in and he walks to the back of the shop where I’ve got loads of old school Adidas trainers, some real belters and I could see his face light up as he’s seen something from his past when he sees a pair of Adidas Buddhas and pronounces “There just like the ones I used to have, but mine had gold stripes”
This was interesting as they were a shoe from 1966/7. People talk about Fred Perry or Gola from that period but not really Adidas so in amongst this information I’m thinking ‘gold stripes’? These are like pop star shoes; the Beatles and The Spencer Davis group are wearing them.
So I get talking to him and ask him what he was wearing with them and what period. “67/68 and worn with bottle green velvet flares” he replied.
Ok, sounds about right for the period but unheard of with Adidas. So I ask him what he’s wearing on the top half and he says “Well my Mum was taking the Slazenger labels and sewing them on to my cheap V Neck jumpers”
Well this is what kids were doing with Crocodiles in the 80’s , and Slazenger was a luxury item in the 60’ so it seemed to me he was pre dating the Scousers inventing the wheel in 1977 at European games by nearly a decade!
This was pure gold dust to me. I asked him how old he was at the time.
“I was 11”.
What was your hair like? “Well my ears stuck out a bit, so I had this long basin cut that covered me ears”.
Was you a Mod? “No I wasn’t a fucking Mod, my brother was a Mod. My brother used to go to The Twisted Wheel and all that”.
This was amazing, all going into my book! Meeting the first ever Perry Boy! And the weird thing about it all was I asked him where did you get the inspiration and the money from?
“I used to sweep up hair in George Best’s hair salon”.
So this bloke in front of me picked up all the tips from working in top hairdressers with George Best, who was pretty much the King in most people eyes, so it all made sense!
To finish off this fella says to me “You’ll know Byron, he’s my nephew”. And I did know Byron, he shared rehearsal space with a band I was managing at the time. Anyway off he went and 3 months later Byron comes in the shop and I enthuse to him “Have I got a story for you - Your Uncle was in a while ago telling me he had these Adidas and Slazengers, etc…” When he stops me dead and replies “I haven’t got an Uncle”.
You must have, I can’t be making this up. Getting a gem like that! I was all excited and then to have it taken away by who I thought was a hero, a genius who loved his clobber. It was a big downer and I tried to put it out of my mind as I felt so let down.
Six months later Byron comes back into the shop and says “You know you were asking about my Uncle? Well I have got an Uncle”. Whoa, what the fuck?!
“He’s not a liar, if he had those items, he had them. The reason I didn’t tell you I had an Uncle because he was a bank robber and a jewel thief and he really upset my Mum and my Nana so I got him out of my life”.
So there you go, a real Manchester villain turned out to be the first Perry boy.