Just a few years ago, bets were being unofficially placed (somewhat cruelly on Twitter) on whether Shaun Ryder would outlive other renowned party-animals such as Shane McGowan and Amy Winehouse. Sadly for Winehouse fans, she never realised her full potential and died before rehab could save her (or not). Thankfully though, McGowan is still very much with us and Happy Mondays frontman Shaun has thus far dodged fate's bullets, most of which previously had his name etched on them.
And so, some thirty-odd (VERY odd) years have passed by since Ryder scribbled his first lyrics down and over 25 since impressing Factory Records' supremo Tony Wilson enough for him to take the budding Laureate and his band under his wing. It proved to be a great and equally disastrous decision. 'Great' because the Mondays made infectious, yet dishevelled, indie-dance that steered the label away from bankruptcy disaster, 'disastrous' because the band's medicinal extravagances extended beyond a dose of Night Nurse before bed-time - they were, back in the day and to coin a phrase, havin' it and havin' it very large. The makers of Methadone must have seen their share price rise overnight.
As the dust settled on the 'baggy' 'Madchester' swaggery funk that came out of the North West, Happy Mondays' catalogue has arguably survived better than most, as indeed have Ryder and co. From their first EPs 'Delightful' and 'Freaky Dancin'' (still one of their best), past the John Cale-produced debut album 'Squirrel and G-Man etc etc', through two bigger selling long-players with 'Bummed' and 'Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches'. And those hits - 'Hallelujah', 'Wrote For Luck', 'Kinky Afro', 'Step On'? You're twisting my melon, man.
After a recent hugely successful reformation, clean-up operation, books, several festival slots and a string of live shows, 2012 will conclude with Happy Mondays performing two shows at London's Roundhouse on 19th and 20th December. Both nights will feature and extensive romp through their catalogue and will feature another band associated with the chemical generations two decades ago, 808 State. A match made in Manchester.
Tickets for each night will cost £32.50 and are now on sale - be quick!