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The Smiths Room - Salford Lads Club

Alex Horne delves into the heart of Smiths nostalgia.

Published on July 2nd 2013.


The Smiths Room - Salford Lads Club

This week 'The Man Who Put the M in Manchester' returns to his home town for the first time since his 50th birthday gig in 2009.

Still cosseting his unreleased tenth solo album and riding the crest of a South American tour, described by the man as ‘the best tour of my life’, Morrissey’s focus, as usual, is firmly on the future. 

Gems such as ‘I think that the Smiths is grate’ by six year old Layla, however, are the true testament to the perennial influence of The Smiths even 25 years on from their split. 

It will not have escaped most devoted fans of the Mozfather, however, that this year is one of particular poignancy, a milestone in the history of Manchester, Morrissey and British music.

30 years ago, from a dubious musical backdrop of Culture Club, Bucks Fizz and Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark arose a band that would indelibly impact the cultural landscape of Britain and inspire the most fervid and enduring fan movement since, dare I say, The Beatles.

Adopting the moniker ‘The Smiths’ as a reaction to the extravagance and pomposity of their contemporaries, the four piece enveloped the country in a wave of melancholia infused melodies of heartbreaking insight and desolate romance. Propagating the message that outsiderdom is beautiful, in five years the band left behind a wealth of music which has had astounding resonance across the world and across generations. 

Despite the significant legacy of The Smiths, five years was too brief a time to satisfy their legions of fans. This is a band, after all, whose break up prompted threats of suicide across the country. Their short life, coupled with a continually growing fan base, has ensured that talk of a re-union has always been prevalent; even in the face of unequivocal refusals by the band. 

Salford Lads ClubSalford Lads Club

The closest thing to a statement on the contrary came a few months ago when guitarist and co-song-writer Johnny Marr stated the band would reform if David Cameron’s government stepped down.

Until Cameron does reassess his allegiances, there is a place tucked away down a Salford side street where the band are kept alive in spirit. 

Salford Lads Club may be familiar to many as the location of that picture but hidden behind those famous doors is an even richer source of Smith’s nostalgia.

The Smiths RoomThe Smiths Room

The Smiths Room, opened in 2004, is a shrine to the band. This lovingly curated exhibition is a fittingly understated affair. Still running as a lads club, the site contains no gift shop, wax models or other gimmicks. Instead, it is a place for fans to respectfully soak up the history and memory of the four-piece and leave their own tribute to The Smiths.

The walls of The Smiths Room are adorned with the gladioli, gig posters and memorabilia one would expect but the real value of the place comes from the people who have kept the band at the forefront of British cultural identity- the fans.

Visitors are invited to leave behind notes to the band and the room offers the unique experience of viewing and contributing to this mural of sentiments from across the spectrum of Smiths admirers. 

The Smiths RoomThe Smiths Room

Variations on ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’ and ‘There Is a Light’ have been penned by guests from places as far flung as Chile and Russia.

Gems such as ‘I think that the Smiths is grate’ by six year old Layla, however, are the true testament to the perennial influence of The Smiths even 25 years on from their split. 

The Smiths Room has no regular opening times but anyone can arrange a visit through the website www.salfordladsclub.org.uk. Additionally, to mark the return of the Pope of Mope to his hometown, Salford Lads Club will be open from 12-4pm from Friday 27 to Sunday 29 July.

Salford Lads ClubSalford Lads Club

The Smiths RoomThe Smiths Room

The Smiths RoomThe Smiths Room


 

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paulsouthernJuly 29th 2012.

Called in here today, great place even aside from The Smiths connection. Nearly 110 years as a club and going strong. Tribute to all the volunteers who have run it over the years.

Mark.July 7th 2013.

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