The sky is notepaper-white and the pavements have been cleaned. Outside the bars of Thomas Street people sit alone at tables, hunched inwards over cigarettes and phones. I'm walking to meet Hurts. They're working underground near here; writing songs in a basement beneath Manchester's centre.
On my way down into the building, I meet another local band. They seem flustered and nervous. They tell me that they're off on tour. When they discover that I'm going to see Hurts the lead singer sets down the amp he's carrying and seems on the verge of tears. 'What do those two do in there?' he asks.
Adam Anderson and Theo Hutchcraft sit side-by-side in chairs. The room is sparse and has a dusty wooden floor. There's some recording equipment against one wall and a microphone in the opposite corner. Occasionally, Anderson pulls a guitar across his lap and inspects the frets for a moment. Hutchcraft takes a comb from his pocket, manoeuvres it between his fingers, then replaces it. They both seem different, at first. Anderson, the calculating visionary. Hutchcraft, the born pop-star. And yet there is a strong sense of loyalty between the two men. Above all, they both seem impossibly calm.
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