[Image by Gene Hunt]
MMM. YOU CAN SMELL THE LEAVES START TO MAULT. THE LAST FEW SUNBEAMS of the summer are fraying into autumn, (although, notably, it’s been rather rainy of late) and some people have already cracked out the cardigans. Yes Manchester, more of them young ‘uns and young guns are about to invade and set up home in the city and it is at this epic time that the 2-for-£4.00 cider offers will return.
If you’re already from Greater Manchester then truly the streets are already yours. But what if you’re not? What if you need to find the northern soul? It’s all well and good:
- Wearing Pretty Green by fookin’ arr-kid Liam
- Ticking off each Courteeners lyric you learned when underage drinking at college, even though Fallowfield Hillbilly probably takes the mick out of you
- Generally skanking about with a particular yellow smiley top in mind.
And, yeah, you can definitely survive off iconoclasm – how’d you think half the writers at the NME get their jobs? However: it’d be a right shame to spend years – not really living. Manchester has much more to offer than its stereotype (although, admittedly, the selected marketing stereotype of anthemic tunes, free-spirited innovation, radical politics and, well, avin’ it, is one that’s unique in the world and will remain timeless).
So, clever fresher, wizened postgrad, city newbie – whoever you are, whatever you love, when you’re taking that giant leap for Mancunia…there are a few little gems you might need up your sleeve. For your now-and-future reference I’ve compiled knowledge form the very best of sources. Namely, what I’ve remembered from my own experiences, and those with my close group of friends and colleagues.
So here it is. How to be a mint new-mancunian.
Sha-na-na revol! Basically – it’s okay to like everything you grew up with; sounds weird but it’s amazing what a week of booze, desperation to not be alone in a massive city, and a scramble for local maps and magazines will do to your mind and opinions. So f*ck the populist vaccuum of thinking you need to like Oasis or Everything Everything to be in this city. Honestly. Much more credible to find a new band while you’re here. And can I make some suggestions? Google your way to Letters to Fiesta, Intermission, Young British Artists, The Modern Alarms, Jessie Rose Trip and Fugitive Empire. And all the kids seem to like Wu Lyf too – they were featured at the Manchester International Festival this year. Bonus points.
2. GREATER MANC
Explore the city. Then fook off and explore Greater Manchester. Get a cheap bike – or if you’ve got a favour due from a relative, get a bike – and cycle to the following places: Chorlton Green- just, Chorlton Green [insert the satisfied smile]. West Didsbury’s Burton Road at the end of the 143 bus line (head down Central Road, take a left and there you are), have a little duck-feeding trip at the Quays (technically Salford, but if the mainstream media fail time and again to get it right, why shouldn’t you?…). Or simply, get out of the middle class bubble you might have found yourself toying with, and buy a fatty bag of sweets from the world famous Bury Market on a Saturday. Or find a cheaper haircut (and pint) in Altrincham.
They’re all little gems for you to discover.
3. TRY OUT LA DIFFERENCE
3. Do something you’ve never done before – save a bit and go snowboarding at ChillFactore. Promise yourself to actually stay out all night (as is safe, silly). Go to a night with some brand new friends that you wouldn’t normally go to. Look for an alternative night in Northern Quarter. Get busy with your best clothes at an R ‘n’ B night. Try out guestlist places at the sparkliest club you can – and see if someone knows someone who knows someone can get you a whiff of the secret(ish) exclusive Circle Club. Or even The Press Club.
…and end up in Withington with a superb takeaway for £1.50. I kid you not.
(Cont’d) Go for an incredible meal at Velvet on Canal Street – and stay out all night after…it is a hotel after all [wink wink]. Dare yourself to WAG/Footballer blag it in Deansgate at Panacea, any bar in Castlefield and The Living Room. Watch a play in Afflecks Palace on Church Street at the Ghosts in The Machine theatre, (downstairs).
Apply for audience tickets at MediaCityUK in Salford Quays. Eat a piadina at Bread and Butter – graced secretly by the likes of Jarvis Cocker, Jude Law and The Kills, apparently. Dance soulfully at Common. And go to Salford! It’s a city with no city centre and its own version of Alderley Edge. Only, they call it, ‘Worsely’. Sounds worse – is actually very, very nice.
Oh and – go Google all of the above suggestions yourself. And as you do, discover bloggers such as The Pigeon Post and Creative Tourist for tips. Find what you like.
Going to University?
There’s a brilliant, giant mash of communities to discover. If you’re heading to University, I cannot stress enough how important it is just to take a day away from Trof and check out your students union. Stop hanging out with idiots and people you don’t really like. You’ll end up paying for it, after all.
Go to your students’ union. Support it – it’s the only thing that will back you up if the University ever screws you over. This is where the liberation campaigns and all the wonderful and weird clubs meet, from student radio stations such as FuseFM and Salford’s Shock; to LGBT, Make Trade Fair, to Dodgeball, Poker, Debating, Amnesty, Oxfam, Film, International Societies – and if your sport isn’t covered (pancake flipping, anyone?) you can create your own group and get free dosh to organise events if you get enough supporters.
Love in the city is a different matter. However, I can 100% guarantee, like a cheesy dating programme would, that you will find it. BUT ONLY if you do EVERYTHING on the list I just gave you. 100%. If you don’t, then by all means hound me via email and spit all your venom here. But I’m confident that you’ll get lucky.
And finally. If you actually are lucky enough to find love in this city – even if you end up hating it (the city, or the love – that’s your life) – you’ll at least walk away (not to Liverpool, egads!) with a stored nugget of wisdom which rumbles around in your pocket like a stolen beach pebble, all smooth and comforting. Like a beautiful man once said to me, reluctant to go home, at the X where Market and Cross street meet: “Seriously. I know everyone says it. You have to live each day like it’s your last. Like you’re gonna die tomorrow!”
So – Manchester. City life. The north. The attitude. To sum it all up?
Like a beautiful man said to me…And it is thus.
Still stuck? Go forwardslash, City.
Check out my quick guide, published by the UK’s leading postgraduate website prospects.ac.uk, and have a gander at the Withington guide from UMSU’s ‘Uncovered’ from 2009: all at https://speechmarks.wordpress.com/city/