Ode to Antwerp mansion: Sean

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Following the announcement of the closure of one of Manchester’s most unique and iconic student clubs, All My Friend’s founder Liam Oliver asked me to put something together to pay tribute to the place. What follows is part lament, part celebration and part indictment of how and why this was allowed to happen

Ode to Antwerp Mansion

The road to Antwerp’s an irregular one,
Slurping down mouthfuls of terrible rum,
Snorting a leveller, revellers come
through a land of kebabs, luminescence of sun,
Swing a quick left with the peasants you’ve brung,
Then fight through the queue, it’s a hell of a scrum,
David’s a doughnut, I’m telling you son,
Try’na pick up but he’s belling his Mum!’
Too close on his phone, compellingly dumb,
I’m after some pills, is she selling you some?!’
He brushes it off, repelling her tongue
with the arrogant charm of rebellious fun

Infamous doormen, challenge accepted,
Jaws are clenched tightly and baggies are rested
in ill-fated crevices, gladly ingested
so you’ll only get caught if you’re badly molested
Antwerp is Marmite, it chops down the middle,
Not for the far-right, the cops or the civil,
But if you like dark nights and shopping at LIDL,
Then look for your Mark Knights and drop in at Skiddle
cos it’s probably for you if you don’t mind it grimey,
Dressing down every night, threads getting slimey,
It can’t be avoided, soaking in sweat
cos it’s more ‘Oh, the toilet!’ than eau de toilette

Gothic musings establish the vibe,
Scrawled on the wall as you scramble inside,
Haunted house happenings, danger persists
As you ‘Enter the Mansion at your own risk!’
Littered with booby traps, Home Alone 5,
Boys craving Scooby snacks roaming outside,
The zone is alive with the sound of the sub,
Whether techno or grime or the foulest of dub,
Bass is the currency, organs will wobble,
Teeth will be rattled and doormen will squabble,
A ramshackle ethos with speakers stacked high,
As sound travels up through your sneakers and thighs,
Everyone’s grooving, having a laugh
and consuming their bombs like that gag in The Mask

It’s not long ‘til all the bedraggling starts,
The Audrey Hepgurns staggering past,
No grabbing their arse, it’s not tolerated,
Meatheads forbidden, groping is hated,
The girls here are plucky, no fucks are located,
So you won’t just get burnt, you’ll get bloody cremated

You’re needing a break from the sweaty enjoyment,
So you pike a quick straight and then head for the toilet,
Where Old Ornate meets Modern Unruly,
A Resident Evil stairwell that threw me,
Pink carpet banisters, really and truly,
I must have just smoked one hell of a doobie?
Or a drug Neapolitan, there’s Jeffreys galore,
The ones you inhale and the ones you endure,
Posh kids that sometimes are known to guffaw,
They’re stuck in the cubicle, prone on the floor,
You’d show them the door, but it doesn’t exist,
Humans stand warily blushing, in fits,
Acting innocuous, buzzing to bits
that they’re blocking a mate who is rushing a shit

The flush is legit so you head on in after,
To a Jackson Pollock inspired disaster,
A spectrum explosion, graffiti and plaster,
Doors booted off by the feet of the bastards
that ket the fuck up and can’t get the fuck out,
Unstable urchins infected with doubt,
Etiquette’s different, reflecting is out,
so no side-glancing ladies perfecting their pout

You finish your business and merrily bounce,
back to the crew and they readily pounce,
It’s heavily house and that sums up the place,
A Victorian mansion shot into space,
It slowly creeps up that the shindig is over,
Not just tonight but the distant moreover,
And the thought alone makes you instantly sober,
The first years will have an indifferent October
because where will they go, when all’s said and done?
When they’re quite frankly sick of the forcefed fun
of plush, boring venues, gold in the centre,
When they can’t afford cabs when it’s cold in December,
And cannot be bothered to dress to impress
when the sole motivation is making a mess
of themselves and their outfit, when the feeling is ‘Fuck it’,
256 is alright, but it ain’t gonna cut it

First we had Sankeys, the Roadhouse, then Mantra,
Soundcontrol went, these are moments of stature,
When Planning Departments suppose they can capture
the youth of this city by closing the chapter
on interesting places, where clothing’s a factor,
Cos the punters aren’t suited, self-loathing contractors
inhaling their wrappers of snow in the back of
a VIP Lounge of emotionless actors,
There’s no force on earth, no magic potion
that tells a young student, ‘Afraid we’re not open’
and thinks that they’ll head off into the night
with their spirit subdued, unwilling to fight
for the right to get crushed beyond all recognition,
To rave and to shout and to fuck and to glisten,
They thrive on rebellion, martyrdom even,
Turning the bass up and blasting the ceiling,
So watch out for this monster, condone the creation,
As the Council have sponsored their own aggravation

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