Saturday 16 August
It will not have escaped the reader that in this particular year (1863); the year I have selected to share this glimpse of Manchester life via the medium of mechanical journal, I have frankly struggled to find a woman who will admit to being of same mind. There have been dark, enlightening incidents beneath closed bedding (though not many). There have been frustratingly innocent walks with tall strangers behind which straggled squat, filthy thoughts reduced to rags and mutterings. There have been dirty pleasures with pot-bellied, pipe-smoking ladies during which I have gasped and wheezed for nothing more than friendship. But on the question of which female acquaintance to lumber Byron with, and so begin the elevation of this dear monkey off my back, I am at a loss to decide. Or rather, there is not a great deal of choice and no-one who springs out and says, ‘I am thine BB, pray sacrifice me!’ as there was in the old days.
A pleasurable, if damp, afternoon, spent at a Brass Bandwidth event with Jill and Conrad in the outerskirts of town. Back in the city I find Bateman and together we canoe down the flooded canalway to Spike’s flat (all industrial chic and limited edition Spinning Jennies). A warm welcome from Spike and introduction to some of the characters with which he is working on his pilot puppet show, ‘It Ain’t ‘Alf ‘Orrible.’ As a well-known producer mixes Bateman a rum and banana cocktail he surreptitiously enquires of Spike whether the two drenched canoeists are together in more ways than meets the oar. With ‘Omosexuality some way below opium on the old tolerance scale it is some hours before we cease the awkward laughter that follows our host’s relaying of this tall tale. As we bid goodbye I feel something hard pulsating under my hat: it can only be a gem of a Batson idea taking shape.