Something I love died today.
Not someone, not a living creature- at least not a thing with body organs or hair or warm blood. But something I loved, nonetheless.
Jilly's, aka Rockworld, has closed its doors for the last time.
That might not mean a great deal to many of you; if you don't live in Manchester, it probably means nothing at all. But if you do...
Rockworld was the place to go when I was a teenager. It was where you went to hear heavy metal, goth (that's the real stuff like the Sisters Of Mercy, Fields Of The Nephilim et al, not faux-shocking mummy's-boy poseurs like Marilyn fucking Manson), hard rock, and in more recent years, new wave and 80s alternative. You know- all the stuff that never got played at the parties everyone else went to, or on Radio One. Or Galaxy bloody 102 (or Chav FM as I always called it)
Rockworld was a place to go for people who had a mind of their own, who didn't run wholly with the herd, and were looking for the like-minded. Like the New Model Army song says: 'looking for family, looking for tribe.' And a lot of them found it. Two of my friends getting married this year met in Rockworld. Countless friendships and- erm- romances came out of there. And even at its busiest and most heaving, you want to know how many fights I saw in all my years going there?
None. Zilch. Nada.
It was somewhere to go where you knew you could have a fun and varied night out- three and in later years four rooms, each playing something different. But I guess it wasn't enough for some people. There just weren't enough people going in there. And that, to me, is one of the saddest things of all.
It genuinely feels like a bereavement- something is gone and leaves a hole, an absence behind. The loss is sometimes too vast to feel, and so it hits you over and over again every few seconds as something makes you re-register that it's gone. There's no way of making it leave; all you can do, if you're lucky, is forget about it for a few minutes. And then something reminds you and it's back all over again. It hurts, and the hurt won't go away. Eventually it'll fade a little. The hole will heal up, but there'll always be a scar.
That's OK, though, because without the scar you might forget it was ever there. And that would be the worst of all.
I thought I'd have more to say about this, and maybe one day I will. In the end though, all I've got to say boils down to this:
Something I loved died today.
So here's a song for everyone who ever went there, and everyone who, even just for one night, felt like they were home. In Rockworld, Mon Amour.