A group of youths from a Moss Side housing estate have made history by building a working rocket after one of them heard rock group Elbow’s stirring paean to the country’s disaffected young.
“It came on the radio and something about the words made me think,” said Troy Harding, 22. “I nicked the single and played it to me mates on the corner and we thought, yeah, why not?”
Troy and his friends Liam, Connor, Ashley and Josh used their extensive knowledge of the local area to beg, borrow and steal the ingredients necessary for the construction of a 2m-long rocket.
“Some of it were easy, like nicking me mam’s sugar and getting hold of fertiliser. The potassium nitrate were a problem, though, and the guy in the corner shop looked at me funny when I asked him for some permanganate salts. But you’d be surprised how easily the sight of a simian stroll can persuade people to hand things over.”
The construction took over two months. “We worked from the moment we woke up right through to six o’clock each evening. That’s over four hours a day,” recounts Josh, 23 and, like the rest of the ‘rocket scientists’, one of the region’s long-term unemployed. “As the rocket took shape I remember thinking these days are right golden.”
The rocket was tested successfully last Friday. A sophisticated guidance system saw it land and explode in the Comet car park, a diversionary tactic that allowed the boys to strip the shelves of iPads, Sony PSPs and Nintendo 3DSs.
“Makes a change from stealing booze and hour-long kisses,” added Troy. “If I see that Guy Garvey, I’ll shake him by the hand.”