The Kid Who Saved Your Life – Bryan Glancy 1966 – 2006

I met Bryan Glancy in 1985.

My brother put on an event at the green room in Manchester where Bryan, Dave Hulston, Henry Normal and others, whose names have escaped me,  performed music and poetry. I Loved his tunes but it was his welcoming personality that gripped me.  Something about his boyish vulnerability.  I felt like i was looking in a mirror.

After the green room gig, we met up on a regular basis at his family home in Prestwich, where he’d play me new songs he’d been working on or we’d listen to Dylan and Bolan and Bowie.  These meeting always finished with a trip around an array of alcohol distributors in the city.

Bryan and Dave then got a residency at Manchester Poly Students Union on Oxford road where every Tuesday night they would perform brilliant tunes and students would ignore them.  I used to bring gangs of mates down to see them and we’d slag off the students for not listening then get pissed with Bryan and dave on cheap lager.  The night usually ended up back at someones crap bed sit where the guitars came out again and we’d sing, drink and smoke into the early morning. So my mates became his mate.

I loved his lyrics, i’d written poems (Secretly) since the age of 5 so i loved good words and Bryan was full of them…………..

“On a bicycle corn cob Tuesday, you rode into my world”.

“Only the crumbliest flakiest chocolate taste like chocolate never tasted before.  And only the crummiest scummiest scum bag, sells you chocolate like he’d sell you a whore.”

“Got those Lesley Crowther blues”

He sang of batterings off bouncers, punctured Bicycles, broken down italian cars, the kid who saved your life and Jackie, his wonderful girlfriend for many years.

I traveled the country with him – playing gigs and partying – every gig was an adventure.  I remember playing a gig with him in Leeds and after the gig we were sat chatting and we both took a fancy to this enormous art deco mirror. It must have been  4 feet long and 3 feet wide and it weighed a tonne due to all the Victorian leaded glass. So we prized it off the wall and blagged it out of the club  sneaking it passed the bouncers like a couple of kids – we didn’t really want the mirror, we just wanted to see if we could get it out without being caught.

Bryan thought he was Irish.  i think this was due to the fact that he was regularly billed as “Bryan Clancy”.  When he was with my dad he would become irish and talk irish.  He had the walk and the stoop of the old irish men we’d see climbing out of battered blue transit vans and straight into the pub . He’d nick me dads pints of Guinness to wind him up and he’d pilfer the occasional sweetie from my dads tablet draw.  He loved the banter and always had time for his drunken stories. But that was Bryan, he loved a drink and he loved a story.

Another close mate of ours was Mark Kennedy or Kenny as I’ve always known him.  Now famous for his mosaics but then a singer song writer and the front man in a band called New Morning.  They regularly played live  together and I’ll never forget the now legendary Mean Fiddler gig where two battered blue transit vans carried 50 people to london and back.  Bryan was billed as “Brian Clancy” and Dave Hulston was “David Holstein”. Kenny kicked off on some old woman who was pissed and talked throughout his set while Bryan and Dave stumbled on and off the stage, slurring and giggling because like the rest of the other 48 mancs in the room,  they too were pissed and stoned from the five hour journey in the back of a van with mates, a massive bong and a million cans.  Needless to say, the journey home was the twilight zone crossed with Mr Benn.

Bryan went to america with Mark Burgess and the Sons of God, touring with the brilliant Zima Junction album.  He was chuffed to be playing with Mark and having “Beat the Boat “, one of his own songs, on the album. He told me he met Mohammed Ali in a joke shop in L.A. staring, transfixed at one of this plastic fake turds.  But things came to a bit of a head when he was in the States and Bryan came back a different person.

He spent a lot of time in Ireland touring with David Gray – he later turned up in LA at a promo gig David was doing in a record shop and ended up being his best man at his wedding.  Bryan covered a number of tunes but “Say Hello, Wave Goodbye” originally by soft Cell, was his best.  He took the tune and made it his own.  David Gray used to hear him playing it when he toured Ireland and asked him could he use his version for the White Ladder album.  I can’t listen to white ladder anymore cos all i can hear is Bryan’s  influence on the whole album.

He had different groups of mates – music mates, footie mates, drinking mates, drug mates, family mates and he’d flit between them serendipitously  – they weren’t half mates, the people around Bryan loved him and Bryan loved them back.

He played with the Mouth who later became I Am Kloot but got kicked out for going on holidays the week before a tour and not coming back for three weeks – he was gutted.  He used to moan to me saying “I’ve been kicked out of my own band” with his bottom lip trembling.

Whatever i asked Bryan to do, he would do it – He was incredibly generous with his time .  The amount of events he turned up to and played for me at was incredible – usually charity events for Mental Health charities.  I remember him doing his tune “Morphine”  at Kendal sports club in Stretford one saturated saturday afternoon – while he was playing the tune, a young lad who had mental health problems and had obviously been exposed to morphine and other mind altering prescription drugs, seemed to lock into the lyrics and started rocking slowly.  This slow rocking increased as the song went on and by the end the young lad was in a right state . Shaking and crying – he seemed to have tapped into bryans words and world and was unable to escape- Bryan went straight over and put his arms round him telling him “Its OK now……Its OK.” and the young lad slowly calmed down and Bryan spent the rest of the day chatting and drinking with him..

He used to go to Israel a lot.  I’d been to Israel and spent time on a kibbutz and a moshav so we had a lot of common knowledge and he like the fact that i had spent time over there.  It was a place he could escape to when things were a bit intense at home.

When his dad died suddenly, Bryan was in a mess and his mental health was understandably very poor.  I’d meet him on Oldham street on his stupid electric scooter and he wasn’t good.  He was drinking more than ever and hanging out with some naughty sorts – the spiral had begun. The texts stopped because he didn’t want me to see him in the state he was in.

I met him on Oldham street once and he invited me back to his flat in Salford – the place was empty but for a stereo and a mattress.  He gave me a tape of the Mean Fiddler gig i refered to earlier and told me “Don’t lose it”.  I’ve still got it and listen to it regularly.  He was in a bad way health wise and i could tell he hadn’t eaten for days if not weeks.  We argued a lot about coke and crack and i could tell the Bryan I once knew had gone – never to return.

I’d not hear from him for a few months then the phone would just go with a text saying “playing tonight at academy” and nine times out of ten, i’d pop down to support him and we’d have a top evening together

The last time i saw him was at a festival in castlefield – he came up to me with a bag of something or other asking me if i wanted any – i wouldn’t mind but my four kids were with me and four hundred copper stood behind us – i bollocked him for being so up front and he walked off with his tail between his legs – we spoke later and he apologised.

On the 20th of january 2006 i got a phone call from Paul Fallon to tell me that Bryan was dead – I wasn’t shocked.  Paul just told me that he’d died after taking too many sleeping tablets and drinking whisky – I’ve spoken to people who saw him the night he died and he was in a bad way stumbling around Big Hands and obviously off his tits.

I never got to the bottom of what he died of and i don’t really want to know – I just keep him in my mind as i remember him.  Smiling, walking down Oldham street towards me with a t shirt two sizes too small for him and a daft hat on.

I regularly visit his grave in the jewish cemetery in Failsworth but the pain of loss doesn’t really go away – if anything it grows, daily.

He was mates with Guy Garvey and the Elbow lads and his death had such a profound affect on them they dedicated the mercury prize winning seldom seen kid to Bryan and the prize money has gone towards getting out an album of his work.

I miss him and i love him.

20 thoughts on “The Kid Who Saved Your Life – Bryan Glancy 1966 – 2006

  1. You are a man who loves words, You write very well indeed, your love and loss come through brilliantly. Bryan’s story is tragic and lived by many others, including my older brother. I have just finished writing a play celebrating and mourning the story of Bryan and my brother which incorporates Elbow’s SSK music and nervously await their comments. Two coincidences – a bicycle plays a crucial role and half my purpose in writing the play is to fund the treatment of mental illness.
    Will Woodson

  2. Godisamanc:
    You write well. I connected deeply with the Elbow SSK album a couple of months ago. I had a brother like Bryan but drugs and mental illness killed my brother when he was only 24 while you got to hang around with your mate for many more years.
    I come from a family of writers and poets of modest achievement so have written a play which incorporates the SSK music. I nervously await comment from Elbow.
    Will woodson

  3. Hi/ I dont quite know who you are ( although i must know you)really enjoyed your Bryan stories so much.
    Bryan and i met at the New Troubadours in 1990 and were friends up to the time of his death.
    I still see his cousins on a regular basis/ in fact we had a get together only last week.
    I am at the moment getting his ‘Kid’ cassette remastered and put onto disc.
    Hope you are well.
    Best wishes Chas Rigby

  4. Can’t believe its five years this week since we lost Bryan.
    I think of him often and will hold onto precious memories always.


  5. Beautiful…….I have a steady river of tears running down my face. To reach out and challenge others misconceptions and “be” with people takes a brave and genuine soul. Bryan was a brave and genuine soul who touched so many xx

  6. Exactly how long did it acquire you to create “The Kid
    Who Saved Your Life – Bryan Glancy 1966 – 2006 Godisamanc’s Blog”? It features quite a bit of really good information and facts. Thx -Elma

  7. I used to be in a band called the debuchias with John Bramwell of i am kloot and Bryan used to supports us lots of times. He played that often I was singing along with “my fiats got a puncture, but i’m riding this rocket for smiles – going 1500 miles”
    I was driving an 88 fiat Panda at the time and was quit chuffed. I remember going to buy the tape,” the kid who saved your life” and he wouldn’t except payment so I gave him a debuchias t shirt that he was pleased with…
    Bryan was a really genuine guy. I was only 19 at the time in 1999 and first time away from home and he made me feel really welcome and would introduce me to everyone, a true gentlman pure show biz in his blood..

    I havent got my copy of the tape anymore since they stopped selling blank cassettes lol but I would love to hear anything by brian that you may have..


    Justin Salmon

  8. I’m trying to track down some lyrics especially for ‘Kid who Saved your Life’ and ‘What’s in a Kiss’ Can anyone help?

  9. I used to in the debuchias with John Bramwell and although I remember Brian i dont recall him being in the band. I know that after we slip up the had a duo together.He was a top man – i remember giving him a debuchias t shirt an he gave the kid who saved your life demo back in 1990 at one of his gigs that John took me to whilst up in manchester. Im afraid all my tapes went out years ago so i dont have a copy. Is it available anywhere or any of his song online to play anywhere.
    My fiats got a punchtcure but im riding that rocket for smiles going 15000 miles. I loved that and we laughed as i had just bought a 1988 black fiat panda. Awsome days…

  10. Hi my name is Justin Salmon and I used to be in the deBuchias with John Bramwell from I am kloot the summer before Brian joined after we split up in 1990. We were only together for a year and Brian supported us at the mean fidler and many others that escape me know after so long. I got on well with Brian and I remember feeling very proud that he had time for me as I was about 8 years younger than them but I lied about my age but I think they all knew I was really still just a kid of 19 frying to pretend to be 25 the dame aget as John. He gave me the cassette of the kid who saved your life and I played to to hell in my black fiat panda which he liked very much. He accepted me straight away as I was a budding guitar player and we knocked about briefly that summer whigh was very special. I went back to Wales after we splot up and Brian joined I had heard a few years later just before I am kloot singing first album was released. He really was a gentle and a wonderful wordsmith and 12 string guitar player I just wish I still had that tape.
    If anyone knows where I can’t get hold ofor any 4ecordings that would be great. Maps little baby likes- shortening bread….

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