Happy Mondays sidekick Bez is backing an urban bee scheme in Manchester.
The maraca-shaking mascot, real name Mark Berry, has described himself as a “full-time honey monster” after he helped install two beehives on the roof of Manchester venue The Printworks.
As the BBC reports, Britain’s honey bee population is in decline due to the adverse weather conditions of a prolonged winter and a rain-sodden summer. But Bez, who now lives part-time on the Cwm Yr Hoel Farm commune near Swansea, where he first learnt to keep bees, said: “It has been a big part of our family life since my granddad came back home from the war with four tins of honey.”
“It’s magical really because the bees have been around since the days of the dinosaurs,” he added. “They are a great part of our diversity.” In addition to the two hives at The Printworks, a further four have been installed on the roof of Manchester Cathedral to help boost numbers.
According to The Independent, meanwhile, Bez was able to purchase his first hive for just £50 off “some fella” – a sizeable discount from the usual £800 price. He did say that his newfound hobby hadn’t been without its drawbacks, however: on one occasion, around 100 bees got inside his pants and stung him badly when he left his trouser zip undone. He was forced to run into the woods to escape the hive, but was still “stung everywhere”, inside his trousers.
Bez isn’t the only musician to throw his support behind the honey bee. In 2009, Beady Eye singer Liam Gallagher backed a campaign to save the species from extinction after honey helped him cure a throat virus. “The bees are vanishing. We’ve got to save them before they all buzz off. It’s important. It’s a really worthwhile cause,” he said. “Without them we’re in proper bother.”