Bombs Away on Harpurhey

Alan Keegan

‘Reality’s a dream, a game in which I seem to never find out just what I am. I don’t know if I’m an actor or ham’. Percy Bysshe Shelley was on my compulsory reading list at the Poly, but I had chosen Pete. Far removed from the world of The Buzzcocks was a man named Keegan. Ged had played for Man City and King Kev was a world star, but without Alan Keegan, of AK-OK Disco fame, our Manchester lives would have been immeasurably poorer. Spiffing Images Design placed their headquarters in the front room of Mad Dog Overend’s new terraced home in Moss Side. On the borders of Fallowfield lay the AK-OK empire – KEEGAN WAS NOT CAFE DEL MAR IBIZA OR MINISTRY OF SOUND – HE THOUGHT BIGGER AND WAS A NATURAL-BORN ENTREPRENEUR – OF IRISH BLOOD BUT SOUTH MANCHESTER EXTRACTION – HE MADE DELBOY OF MOCKNEYLAND LOOK LIKE A CHEAP SOUTHERN IMPERSONATOR. The spring of 87 was surprisingly bright and airy and our U-locked company bikes were primed and ready to go. We were surprised to find that Keegan’s offices were also in a front room – his Mum’s. Outside was a fleet of glitzy, shiny white Mercs and limos, a kissogram karoake get-up in the garage. As Mum disappeared to make us a nice cuppa, a wave of spiel sales patter hit us. ‘Think big boys, I was small once LIKE YOU. Graft a bit and you too can have an empire like mine’. I was dying to ask for a kissogram demo but Mrs K kindly brought out a siver tray of darjeeling and chocolate McVities. Years later I bumped into him whilst selling dodgy ad space for Uptown magazine. He drove me up to Harpurhey – ‘I am buying this club’ he said pointing to a large gothic building in north Manchester – ‘and creating the new Hacienda. Do you still do graphics mate?’

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