Monday, February 27, 2006

John Ellis

I knew Bryan, not well but for many years and we had that friendly understanding whenever we did meet in town mainly, that comes from the recognition that we’d both grown from the same soil. It made me very sad to think of him not being around any more.

It was at the alternative cabaret gigs of the late 80’s when I first met and saw him perform his songs. He was also part of the community of creative talent which centred around Crumpsall at the time. However unlikely it seems these days, to us then, it had a bohemian flavour that made it seem, especially straight out of Middleton like me, like the Greenwich village of North Manchester. Wow… imagine that.

Anyway it was perfect for Bryan and he was perfect in it.

I have to confess that I hadn’t heard Bryan play since those days, but as I was thinking back, I remembered seeing him at one of those ‘alternative’ cabaret nights at the Green Room, probably one of the legendary infamous Chris Coupe nights. Those nights were just flooded with great talent Kevin Sissay, Bob Dillinger, George Borovski, The Sandlewoods, Henry Normal, Steve Coogan, Caroline Aherne etc. Like most people my first impression of Bryan was of the supercool, with the shades etc. Then his words always filled you in on the substance. His songs were well received I remember because the people there knew exactly what he was on about.

I just listened to ‘Manchester’ from his website partly because I’ve got a tune called ‘Manchester’, mainly instrumental, and I wanted to hear what collection of Bryan’s words he felt he ought to label with that word.

It struck me that Bryan was the kind of artist who was always going to be best appreciated by his own community. He wasn’t reaching out to the world or the global music industry or whatever but just reflecting what he saw around him and I’m sure that’s what mattered to him in his songs, especially his words. We understand what he’s on about. Have a listen, we have to be thankful for that.

My tune ‘Manchester’ had settled on a kind of melancholic mood but with some kind of redemption on the horizon but I sometimes wondered when I played it live whether It was too downbeat. As soon as I heard Bryan’s words I knew we’d distilled the same feeling……. "sad and beautiful” what more can I say.

Bless you Bryan
Please send your memories and stories to

No comments: