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Manchester – So Much To Answer For*

May 1, 2011

1984. The year of “Relax” & “Two Tribes”. Echo & The Bunnymen & “Killing Moon”. “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” by The Smiths. Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel & the Furious Five doing their “White Lines”. And the year we arrived in Manchester. A very different Manchester to now. But a Manchester which captivated us – and has kept us here.

A Manchester when *the* places to be seen included The Hacienda, The Ritz on a Monday night, the MMU Polytechnic Bar any night of the week, Man Alive on a Sunday night, The Venue & The International on most nights and The Gallery on the intersection of Deansgate/Peter Street. True story – REM played a legendary black out gig when the electricity went. Anyone else remember this?

Living in Hulme. Going to the PSV. The infamous walkways and Crescents…

Hulme, Manchester

Hulme, Manchester

Looking back, we probably didn’t realise what an amazing city we’d come to. We were young & were just excited to be away from home. But, having now lived here longer than the places we actually grew up in, Manchester has become “home”. We love its history. We love its heritage. We love its swagger. We love its “northernness”. But, we also love its regeneration.

Manchester 1986

Manchester 1986

The bombing, on 15 June 1996, temporarily brought Manchester to its knees. Another day we remember very well. It was hot. In fact, already so warm for us to change our plans and to decide NOT to go into town, shopping. Because in 1996, that was mostly how we spent our weekends. Popping into Manchester and spending money on pretty pointless things. But that Saturday was a bit of a wake-up call.

Pretty soon after this event, our lives changed direction, and took us to where we are now. But the events of 15th June 1996 also changed the face of Manchester – and seeing what we saw today, we quite like the direction it’s going in. It’s just a shame it took such an event to change its face…

Manchester 2011

Manchester 2011

Spinningfields, Manchester

Spinningfields, Manchester

Manchester Wheel, Exchange Square

Manchester Wheel, Exchange Square

Manchester 2011

Manchester 2011

*So, Manchester, in the words of The Smiths, YOU do have so much to answer for. Sometimes, when when you are grey and cloudy for days on end, especially in the summer, we do dislike you quite a lot. But, mostly we love you . And that’s why we call you home…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Simon permalink
    March 30, 2012 10:02 pm

    A good post and very true. My nanna lived in Hulme – I have fond memories of the concrete landscape and many stories to tell. I had a happy childhood – my nanna had nothing, yet she would give you her last penny. She bought sweets for the local scruffy kids. Her heart was pure gold. Those type of people do not exist anymore in this materialistic world. My Grandad was a Hulme guy – he was an old’un who drank and gambled loads, but loved by all that met him. He worked as a caretaker in a school in Hulme for a while, but did cooking for the kids as well, because he was a chef in the war after getting blown up as a gunner. I grew up in Stretford in the 70s and 80s. I used to go to the Hacienda and the Ritz as well. The Ritz is still the only place that I have ever come across with headrests above the urinals! I lived in London in the 90s but came back for a conference in Manchester just after the bomb and felt that the city had had its heart ripped out – the Corn Exchange had been my favourite place in town as an 18 year old. My folks live in Urmston now. I go back now and again. I wish I still lived in Manchester. I miss the vibrant city, perhaps I just miss my youth. I definitely miss the people. My accent is dwindling, but I am a Northener and always will be.

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