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  • His name is Barnabus Rigby.

    Some people say that, when he was born, his first wails were synchronised to the beat of his own heart monitor.

    Others say he was born on the same date, at the same time, that Ian Curtis of Joy Division chose to depart this world.

    And there are those that have claimed his first words were 'mad' and 'for' and 'it' and that he learned to play the maracas, his first instrument, when he was just a toddler, after watching Bez from Happy Mondays do his stuff on the telly.

    And there are a cynical few that say Barnabus Rigby made all those rumours up himself when he was still at junior school, and that he has asked his mates to spread them around. But then you might ask if that's any more credible than any of the other claims made about him. After all, how likely is it, really, that a seven year old child could have come up with stuff like that, and be able to convince all his classmates (and anybody else that would have cause to know his name) that it was all true? I mean he couldn't have.... could he?

    Whatever the truth might be, the cold hard fact of the case is that Barnabus Rigby has Northern Soul coursing through his veins. Everything about him is styled Mancunian, from his loose jawed nonchalance, to his dry, witty, self-assured drawl. From his Smiths 'The Queen Is Dead' skinny t, to his flared and weather-worn jeans. And he never walks anywhere – why should he? Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream doesn't walk. Liam Gallagher of Oasis doesn't walk. No, for Barnabus Rigby and his idols, it's struttin' all the way.

    Today was no exception. Headphones firmly in place, volume up louder than safely recommended, Barnabus strutted down Oxford Road watching all the people go about their daily business. He saw other people with their headphones on, also struttin'.

    He saw a rastafarian bopping along. Perhaps he was listening to Bob Marley.

    He saw a spiky haired platinum-blond with a neon pink t-shirt. Perhaps he was listening to Ministry of Sound.

    Then there was the girl with the violet eyeshadow and the piercings and the tattoos and the goth-black boots. Perhaps she was listening to Britney Spears...

    Well, you can't always judge a book by its cover, can you?

    Barnabus admired and respected those people, for the same reason he admired and respected himself. Just like those characters on Oxford Road, he had made music his life and his passion, the reason for his existence. It didn't matter that they each embodied different genres, different styles of music – it was their commitment that mattered, that they belonged to something worthy.

    Take religion, for example, the belief in something greater than oneself. Its followers are united by it, live their whole lives by it, but that doesn't mean they can't accept other ways of being. A Christian can accept and appreciate the ways of the Buddhist, but that doesn't stop him being a Christian. Likewise Barnabus listened to all kinds of rock music – punk, blues, even a bit of heavy metal – but his one true faith would always be the music of his home town. He could be anywhere in the world and never feel homesick, for he would always have Morrissey, or New Order, or The Stone Roses to listen to. He could always keep Manchester in his heart.

    Barnabus checked his watch. He was late for a blind date. Well, it was sort of a blind date. It wouldn't have been a blind date if he could remember anything about her. All he knew was that he'd woken that morning with a massive headache and a telephone number written in smudged eyeliner on a napkin in his pocket. The napkin instructed that he call her, adding several 'x's for kisses as incentive. Barnabus did as he was told for once. The girl's smooth sultry voice sounded sweet enough on the phone. They arranged to meet at the Cornerhouse pub at eight.

    At fifteen minutes past eight Barnabus arrived. A girl stood at the bar was smiling and waving to him to come over. Barnabus breathed a sigh of relief. She was petit, but she was cute. She had a neat blonde bob that showed off her sleek pale neck and her button-impish face. He stared in to her emerald eyes expecting to see something he would recognise from the night before, but nothing came. He'd just have to wing it.

    “Heeeeeey....you!” he said, with all the social confidence he could muster. “Wow, you're even prettier than I remember.”

    “I bet you say that to all the girls,” she blushed. “I've saved you a seat. Come park your keester.”

    She patted the bar stool next to her. Barnabus hated bar stools. He felt he was perching rather than sitting - clearly they weren't designed for people to sit on them for any reasonable length of time. Nevertheless he climbed uncomfortably on to the stool and ordered a pint of lager.

    “You'll have to excuse me if I'm repeating myself.” Barnabus began, “I'm still a little fuzzy, if you know what I mean. So what is it you do for a living again?”

    The blonde purred.

    “Oh, I'm sure you have much more interesting questions to ask than that.”

    She squeezed his knee and bit her bottom lip, then started to stroke his inner thigh with a well placed fingernail. Barnabus nearly spilled his pint.

    He searched his mind for a more interesting question, but all the blood he'd normally use for his brain had quickly rushed downwards, en route to swell his gathering erection.

    “Well, er, what about music then?” he squeaked. “What kind of music do you like?”

    “Oh I'm not really into music,” she breathed.

    If there was one thing guaranteed to kill Barnabus' libido, that was it.

    “What do you mean you’re not into music? Not any kind of music? Nothing at all? Come on now, really?”

    The blonde laughed, derisively.

    “Well that didn't seem to bother you last night,” she scoffed.

    Barnabus took a big long swig of his pint, then stood up.

    "Won’t be a minute.” he said. “Gotta take a whizz.”

    Barnabus Rigby scarpered.

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