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Missionary man

10 June 2009 by Dawn

Two men at a bar

Wayne on a mission to bars … Image copyright Francesco Mellina.

In the centre of Francesco Mellina’s Sound & Vision exhibition there’s a screen slideshow which is well worth dwelling over. There are some really impressive names in terms of rock pedigree – people like Joey Ramone, Johnny Thunders and Joe Strummer.  However, the person who took my eye was a youthful, mop-haired Wayne Hussey propping up the bar in The Pyramid Club alongside Pete Burns. I completely forgot that before creating goth band The Mission and spawning a legion of devoted fans Wayne had been a member of both Sisters of Mercy and Dead or Alive. I really like the picture because he looks like an average guy – not the untouchable, lamenting, god-like stage persona that my friends and I worshipped. (Or maybe it’s just because he is standing next to the ever-flamboyant Mr Burns!)

I’m still a little bit fond of Wayne as he touched our lives albeit briefly. Tasked with devising a social studies project at school, we set out to find how music impacts on youth culture. While I interviewed local Smiths’ fan ‘Sad Eric’ and a Lemmy-alike Motorhead fanatic, my buddy set her sights a little higher and wrote to Wayne to find out how music had helped to shape his identity. Imagine our joy (and I mean the sort of ecstasy that only an unhealthily preoccupied teenager can experience) when a pale purple envelope dropped through the door containing an eloquent, beautifully handwritten letter on Mission branded paper! Pure bliss.

The Sound & Vision exhibition has sparked a lot of gigging memories for me. So much is captured on digital cameras and phones and uploaded to Facebook nowadays, whereas I have rely on my rather grainy recollections. I have this mad idea that I saw The La’s supporting The Mission at the Royal Court and there was a power failure. Someone jumped on stage and did an acoustic spot until the lights came back up and I heard it was Pete Wylie – another Liverpool star that features in the exhibition. It all sounds so unlikely now … whether or not it was really the case, I can’t say. Does anyone else remember?

Anyway, thanks to Francesco I’ve dusted off my God’s Own Medicine album and given it a twirl and it still sounds amazing. I’m just glad someone had a camera handy as well as the talent and inclination to capture some of this bygone era.

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