Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

This Charming Biography from a Fleeting Smith

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

This Charming Biography from a Fleeting Smith

Article excerpt

FOR six months, Dale Hibbert was the bassist in The Smiths. He played their famous definitive show at The Ritz, popped down the barber's with them to get the official band haircut, sat in on the chats about being 'a gay band', and heard the first discussions of a new track Johnny Marr and Steven Morrissey had written called Reel Around The Fountain (it would open their 1984 debut album).

But this period in Dale's life is by far the least remarkable part of it.

And that's saying something; for anyone else, spending six months as a member of Manchester's greatest musical export on the invitation of its inimitable guitarist would just about top the life experience chart. For Dale, it was one unbelievable chapter in many.

His candid biography, Boy, Interrupted - released by indie publishing house Pomona - is an emotionally arresting journey through a life that begins with the loss of his mother, at just eight days old. He never intended to tell any of it. His name has occasionally popped up in newspaper features and on Smiths internet discussion sites, but the official story pretty much wipes his involvement out.

He went on to quite a different life.

He only went into music, he says, in hope of becoming a sound engineer - "I was working in a studio in Manchester with Nico - to me, to my generation, she was a god. Yes, I was in a band with these two guys... but Nico!" - and he was a married father in his teens.

He later launched the first dial up internet cafe bar in Manchester in 1996, Kaleida - the bar remains, now called Font Withington.

A club of the same name followed soon after, in the then salubrious Northern Quarter in a building that fronted onto Oldham Street and Tib St - now better known as Matt & Phreds.

Four marriages, a spell in Australia, eight estranged children, two near deaths (Dale lives with Asperger syndrome and depression, and has attempted suicide several times), and a spell with a million quid in the bank happened. …

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