The man, the myth, the legend.
There’s a lot to be said for simply being yourself. Just ask Bez AKA Mark Berry, who’s forged a route to the heart of the nation simply by being himself, an Energizer Bunny indie icon who’s endured from the Happy Mondays heyday to winning Celebrity Big Brother.
Bez was literally dragged on stage by school-friend Shaun Ryder to become part of the Happy Mondays for their debut live show at The Hacienda in 1980. Tripping on microdots (obviously), the pair immediately created a riot on and off stage, with Bez leaving quite the impression: not only did he shake his maraca so hard it left a wound on his hand, he impressed Factory Records’ boss Tony Wilson. “Tony Wilson said to Shaun, ‘Who’s that kid on stage with you? You’ve got to have him again,’ recalls Bez.” From that moment on, I’ve always been a Happy Monday.”
Bez has been a virtual ever-present: there through the band reforms, there in Happy Mondays off-shoot act Black Grape while he – somewhat improbably – added to his TV portfolio spanning BBC Two science shows, Pimp My Ride, the Crystal Maze, Dave comedy show Judge Romesh, Celebrity Juice and, erm, antiques. As well as his notorious CBB win in 2005, Bez recently starred on Bargain Hunt alongside Jarvis Cocker where, Bez being Bez, he became the first ever participant to get thrown off for bending the rules. He’s Bez, the man who put the Mad into Madchester, an ever-green indie icon, a law unto himself.
Yet, he’s still the indie icon, the dancing loon, the friendly Peter Pan of indie, the fresh-faced (that’ll be the juicing) star of indie and Hacienda nights across the country, the genial host of UK-wide club night And On The Sixth Day God Created Manchester and regular globe-trotting DJ dates and TV appearances. And, while his hip might be a bit wonky from years of pogoing and freaky dancin’, he’s still the Happy Mondays indie metronome, touring the world with his partners in loose 4/4 time, once again proving he’s the bee’s knees, an undimmed, full voltage light still shining bright 40 years into his career: Bez just being Bez.
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