People come up in TK Maxx offering coke but I'd rather be washing up says Happy Mondays' & Celeb Gogglebox's Shaun Ryder

HE has turned his life around to become a reality star and Celebrity Goggle- box favourite.

But former hell-raising rocker Shaun Ryder says he still gets offered drugs by fans while shopping in the supermarket.


The recovering addict, notorious for his antics with the Happy Mondays in the 1980s and 1990s, has revealed the highs and lows of life with the band and told how he took so many mind-bending narcotics that he can’t even remember headlining Glastonbury.

Shaun, 59, says: “I knew Celebrity Gogglebox would be the right sort of show for me and [former bandmate] Bez because it shows us how we are — two middle-aged blokes who used to cane it, sat at home watching the box. Me and Bez film it at my house.

“That’s one of the best things about it for me, I don’t even have to leave the house!

“But I still get people coming up to me in Asda or TK Maxx offering me a line, for f***’s sake. ‘I’m nearly 60, mate, and you really think I want to do a line in TK Maxx on a Tuesday afternoon?’. Sometimes I’ll just laugh, sometimes it winds me up — it depends what mood I’m in.”

Shaun has finally found happiness after going clean following years addicted to heroin and crack cocaine.

 Happy Mondays were formed in Salford, Gtr Manchester, in 1980 and their songs, including Step On and Kinky Afro, were anthems of the rave scene.

In his new book, Shaun says he and dancer best friend Bez, 57 — real name Mark Berry — were often high on drugs. At the band’s height they took acid every day FOR A YEAR.

He says: “We watched Watership Down one day. We couldn’t handle it. Both of us ended up crying, in bits.

‘They left Lily Allen looking after Bez’s kids for days’

“It would be great to have a picture-perfect memory of what it was like to walk out on stage at Glastonbury in 1990, or headlining the Maracana stadium in Rio, but I can’t remember much about it.

“My memory is not helped by the fact that I spent half the weekend in the baggage hold of the tour bus, smoking gear. I remember that.

“And I remember getting off at our hotel with a girl I’d met on Top Of The Pops. I just don’t remember walking on to the Pyramid Stage for our headline set.”

The band’s time in the spotlight was a blur of wild antics, with the lads  —  including   Shaun’s brother Paul Ryder, Gary Whelan and Paul Davis — even leaving a teenage Lily Allen to babysit while they went out partying with her dad, actor Keith, now 68.

Shaun said: “When I was living next door to Bez in Derbyshire, Keith came up to visit and brought his daughter Lily with him.

“She was still at school then, about 14.

“Keith went on a wild night out in Manchester with Bez and left Lily babysitting Bez’s kids.

“Somehow Keith and Bez ended up in London, still partying — and they didn’t get back to Bez’s   house until three f***ing days later. They left poor Lily looking after Bez’s kids for three days.”

The band’s escapades carried on abroad.

 When they went to record album Yes Please! in Barbados in 1992, they wrote off a fleet of cars in two just weeks.

Shaun said: “We didn’t do it on purpose. I’d jump in one of the hire cars to go out to score and total it on the way back.

“Then Bez would go out in a different car and total that.

“Before you knew it, the poor rental car dude had no f***ing cars left.” Bez had to have metal plates put in his arm after one crash.

 Shaun recalled: “They were all sticking out. His arm looked like the Eiffel Tower.”

The Madchester music scene included Inspiral Carpets, with whom Shaun had a long-running feud.

 He recalls: “I was pretty horrible about them. I remember sending nasty faxes over to their office, saying, ‘You bunch of t***ers’ and stuff like that.

“We started getting faxes back, saying ‘You bunch of d***s’.

“I thought, ‘You cheeky bastard, I’ll put you in a box!’.

“I found out, years later, that it was their roadie sending them — Noel-bloody-Gallagher.”

When Happy Mondays split because of Shaun’s addictions, he formed Black Grape. They temp-orarily dissolved after he stole money from his tour manager while he was asleep. But Shaun finally turned things around with the help of his second wife Joanne.

 He now credits her and daughters Pearl, 13, and 12-year-old Lulu with saving his life.

At one point Shaun’s weight plummeted to just 6st due to his drug abuse.

 He tried rehab, but says: “In the end it wasn’t any fancy rehab that got me clean. I did it on my own, with the help of Joanne.

“I cleaned myself up. I stopped taking cocaine, methadone and weed, and even stopped drinking for a while.

“I was completely straight, and started doing a lot of thinking . . . 20 years of life that I didn’t really have feelings about because I was anaesthetised by heroin.

“I then had to try and process all this s**t. It was like fast-forwarding through 20 years of feelings. I was all over the place. Up and down like a f***ing yo-yo. I felt like a ball in a mental pinball machine.

“Through all that rehab and cold turkey I’ve had to do so much self-analysing and reflecting that now I’m now pretty sure of who I am and how I got here today. 

‘I love washing up – my mind goes blank’

“I’m much more comfortable in my own skin and a better person to be around because of it, and hopefully a better husband and dad. I’m not running away from anything and I’m happier than ever.”

Shaun has a series of health problems. These include an under-active thyroid, low testosterone which has led to him losing all his hair — even eyebrows and lashes — and developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

But that has not held him back. He launched a new TV career in 2010 with I’m A Celebrity, where he came second to Stacey Solomon.

He says: “When I got asked to go into the jungle, the timing just felt right. Joanne and my kids all watched it at home, so they also helped persuade me to do it.

“Also, John Lydon, lead singer from the Sex Pistols, had done it a few years before, so I thought, ‘If it’s good enough for Johnny Rotten, it’s good enough for me’. The hosts, Ant and Dec, were old Mondays and Black Grape fans from back in the day, so they were made up when I agreed to do the show.”

Now he lives a settled life at home in Manchester tending to his chickens, filming Celebrity Gogglebox — and doing the washing-up by hand because he and Celebrity MasterChef contestant Bez haven’t embraced technology.

He says: “There’s something about getting s**t off plates and cutlery. My mind goes blank and I love it. I don’t use the dishwasher, I do them by hand. You know where you are with washing-up.

“Bez was using Siri on his phone one day, just talking to it in his normal voice, asking something, and Siri replied, ‘You sound ­possibly suicidal, would you like to speak to someone? Would you like the number for NHS Direct?’.

“Bez was like, ‘What the f***, Siri? You’re supposed to be my mate’.”

Shaun has no plans to retire and during lockdown even collaborated on a song with Robbie Williams.

Shaun says: “I never thought I’d last this long in the game, and I think it’s my greatest achievement.

“Now I’m here I don’t want to retire. What else am I going to do?

“My missus wouldn’t let me retire anyway. She wouldn’t want me under her feet all day. I’m going to keep doing this until I’m dead.”

l How To Be A Rock Star, by Shaun Ryder (Allen & Unwin), is out now, £20.


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