Oi Polloi

Interview — Neil Summers and the Bredbury Green Scene

Published: Fri Mar 21 2014

Ever wanted to know what Bredbury (on the outskirts of Stockport) looked like back in 1989? Well, wonder no more — it turns out Neil Summers (of Proper Magazine fame), lived in Bredbury, in 1989, and he took some pictures to prove it. Hot on the heels of exhibiting these fine photos in a Berlin techno dungeon, I fired some questions over to him. And like the up-standing member of the community that he is, he answered back.

First things first, how’s it going?

Alright, thank you for asking. I got some Red Wing suede shoes today, it’s nearly 10PM and I’m still on a real footwear high — they’ve taken years off me.

You recently had some of your photos exhibited in the Berlin. How did this come about?

I rediscovered these old photos whilst going through my mum’s loft last year and so I emailed my mate Ollie at Our Legacy to see if they might be interested in doing something with them. Instead he ended up saying he’d like to use them for his SEEK trade-show which is like Bread & Butter but better.

What’s the story with these pictures then?

In 1989 I decided to document the pastimes of myself and my best mates via a shitty plastic camera and some B&W film. Those pastimes mainly included getting drunk on Stockport market place every Thursday, smoking sputnik and listening to The The every other night, riding shit mopeds to nowhere in particular and wearing weird cardigans.

Bredbury’s a lovely place these days. What was it like back in 1989?

It was a bit like This is England but without all the mods/laughs.

Do you still live around there or have you moved on to pastures new?

I’ve since lived in Normandy, Gascony, Tuscany and Shirley (in the West Midlands) and then moved back to SK6 in Woodley. I now live just down the road in Compstall, though I’m not for stopping as it doesn’t have a ‘y’ at the end of it.

Do you still see the people in the photos much?

I hadn’t seen any of them for any serious length of time since actually taking the photos but last year on the back of showing them the photos on Facebook we reconnected. It was awkward for about the first five minutes then we were all falling about pissing ourselves, talking about our various mental illnesses and planning to break the law together.

Your exhibition was cunningly titled ‘Summers of 89’. Can we expect to see a ‘Summers of 14’ in 25 years’ time? What would this consist of?

Good question, probably loads of photos of me browsing for socks in TK Maxx, eating ALDI pastrami directly from the fridge, watching Frozen with my kids for the 400th time and just a massive pile of really nice jeans.

Off subject, but still important — when can we expect to see the next issue of Proper?

Early May (2014).

What have you got lined up for it?

Sweatshirts, hip hop cartoons and stories about locking the Mad Stuntman in a cupboard.

Seeing as I’ve run out of ‘real questions’, what was your favourite album back in 1989?

Technique by New Order.

And your favourite film?

See No Evil, Hear No Evil.

Raspberry beret or five panel cap?

Raspberry Beret.

Greggs or Martins?


Corduroy shoes or suede trousers?

Corduroy shoes — have you seen the new Veras ones? A-mazing.

Cheeky Vimto or Turboshandy?

I only really drink French drinks, soz.

Right, now I’ve run out of quick fire questions too. Anything else you’d like to add?

I’d really like to do an exhibition of the photos over here and ideally a book. If you can make this happen or just want to send me some trainers or free clothes then email me [email protected].

Cheers Neil.

And if you wondering what Neil Summers looks like, here’s a video of him talking about his photos…

SEEK Berlin: The Story Behind Summers of ’89 from Pica~Post on Vimeo.