When I was on placement at The Chase in Manchester with my fellow student Mike Wallis we worked with Andy Bainbridge who had just started there full time. We all studied at Preston but Mike (a Londoner) had got rid of his room for the summer and Andy had as well because he had just left college, so I put the lads up in my one bedroom flat until Andy found a flat in Manchester.
Andy and Mike had to crash on the two couches so it was cramped for them and tempers soon became frayed. We would get up at 7am and walk down Plungy Road, past the Victoria building and to the train station. It was an 8.15 train and if we were really lucky we might get an egg and bacon bap in the cafe paradise run by the old sailor who cooked on the ships up until that year and had a grey beard down to his tits. Sometimes the lads would speed walk past then run to catch the train and I’d wait for a bap and casually saunter onto the train as the doors shut. I’d have no choice but to eat it in front of them before it got cold (which I think was the start of the bad feeling).
Forty five minutes later we’d arrive at Deansgate and walk another fifteen minutes to the office, do a hectic day’s work then head back to Deansgate. When we were back in Preston we’d get enough out of date food from the supermarket by the station for an evening meal with our Chase wages of under a pound and walk back past the Adelphi pub (and five more) until we got to my flat. Then we’d sit and watch telly. Every day was the same and familiarity bred contempt until we were really getting on each others tits. It got to the stage where Mike was so pissed off with me and Andy that we would go over the road to the Royal Oak to nurse a pint of bitter and bitch about how come Mike had the flat to himself and we were stuck outside.
Then eventually Andy’s flat on top of the Arndale Centre came through. It was a lovely roof complex with gardens and big sunny windows and had a waiting list; but he managed to get a studio flat as a colleague wrote him a recommendation. Mike was so sick of everything that he managed to beg and cajole Andy into letting him stay in his new flat for the last three months of his placement. Even though it was a studio and had no furniture at all Mike was willing to sleep on the floor just to get out of Preston and away from me.
In the end Andy got a moving in date sometime in August and Sandra from the Chase gave him a very old sprung sofa bed which we carried round and broke up to make two beds. So there were two mattresses on the floor next to each other facing a tiny black and white TV next to a large window. But to Mike it was heaven and he couldn’t wait to move his stuff. That evening we took our usual route back to Preston and Mike spent the evening packing his worldly goods into a black bin bag in front of me and Andy. He made a big thing of it, taking the piss out of me as he packed.
MIKE: “CD’s, all my clothes, my favourite blue roll neck, and my book that I can read in peace because I won’t be anywhere near you, Hurst. There. Everything I own in the world and I’m off. Andy, we’re going to have a great time in Manchester and Hurst can fuck off on the train every day!”
The next morning me and Andy walked along to the train station in the sun with Mike skipping alongside with his black bin bag looking like the happiest bin man in the world. We got an egg and bacon bap in the cafe and then got a seat on the crowded train. People were giving Mike weird looks because a milk carton was poking out the top of his only worldly goods but we just joked that it was all the rubbish he had in the world and took the piss out of his choice of bag saying he was a twat for dumping his rubbish in it.
We got to work and one of the one of the designers took the piss, “what you got all that rubbish for Mike?” “I’m moving mate! Going to live with Andy B”. “Oh, OK”. And he plonked his chattels next to his desk. As usual we worked late until the cleaners arrived and one of the girls tried to take his worldly goods and bin it. Mike jumped up shouting at her and he wrestled the bag back from her. He was moving to a better place and this was his stuff! Eventually the three of us went round to Andy’s new place to get Mike ensconced and let him unpack.
He settled down on his old mattress, corrected his national health Mr Magoo specs (mikes prescription is in double figures) and picked up his bag. Andy asked why he had so much rubbish in the top. “You might think its rubbish but it’s everything I own in the world mate and right now I’m going to open my bag, get out my book, have a lie down on the mattress with my favourite blue jumper as the sun streams through the window in this lovely sunny flat and I’m going to enjoy a good read. Then he untied his bin bag.
MIKE: “It’s rubbish. ITS RUBBISH!!!”
ANDY: “It’s not that bad mate.”
MIKE: “NO… IT’S RUBBISH!!! IT’S RUBBISH!!!!!!”
MARK: “Did you put the bins out last night?” Mike was gasping for breath and pulling out pizza boxes and potato peelings:
MIKE: “NO. NO. NO. ITS’ RUBBISH! ITS RUBBISH!!!!!!”
ANDY: “RUBBISH?? ARE YOU SURE?”
MIKE: “IT’S ALL RUBBISH! ALL OF IT. RUBBISH!!!!!!!!!!!”
Huge ballooning laughs inflated in my chest and I nearly burst a blood vessel keeping it in. Andy burst out laughing and didn’t stop for about ten minutes, but then only for a few seconds until he saw the bin bag again. Every day for weeks after that Andy couldn’t stop laughing whenever he saw a bin bag, or anything to do with bins, or a milk cartons or a pizza boxes. Anything really. The mere mention of the word ‘rubbish’ was enough to send him apoplectic. Basically he didn’t stop laughing at Mike for a few years.
Some years later we heard this story but Mike had told it and Andy was the tosser who had thrown out all his belongings to my Preston bin men and carried a bag of smelly old rubbish throughout his entire day and into his brand new life.
Mark Hurst - Creative Director
The Chase – Manchester