The rain falls down in a hum drum town … which is preferable to the deluge I left hundreds of miles south in what might be an underwater village by now.
So Manchester, forsaken by Morrissey for a one off book signing in Sweden (embrace the artistic poet, forsake the man) here I am awaiting Jim Al-Khalili’s lecture on Arabic Science the forgotten legacy.
The day is alive, bustling with noise and people jostle for ownership of the pavement. Contrast with last night, where at the Walkabout pub it was just myself and – for once – an Australian barmaid. Then late night cinema with just five people – and change from a ten pound note for patronising which included a drink. It was like not just a time machine, but that everyone had been raptured away or a party was going on elsewhere and I was not on the guest list.
Walking back to the hotel at around midnight socialising was offered as I passed through the town centre – a guy invited me to a strip club, and a woman offered to do things to me which would make a sailor blush. I decided these offers were not a form of charity on a wandering soul and politely declined while still moving.
In the morning I discover the cathedral is boarded up while the heating system is updated to what promises to be revolutionary green, and around it the destitute huddle between it and the cathedral-on-the street opposite to allow services of praise to continue. Two cork board slabs bar the main entrance for anyone wanting to take refuge within, with drawing pin announcements which seem far away from the concerns of everyday life. It feels like the way to salvation is barred, we are on our own so shop till you drop or shop lifters of the world unite and take over.
Reading Morrissey’s autobiography the imprint of the 1960s can be seen to linger in the psyche of the city, and no amount of demolitions of historical buildings for luxury flats can make you forget how much was taken from people. Whether the industrial revolution and unionism, votes for women, the social argument for economic globalisation, or 1960s regeneration ideas that were monstrous, Manchester has been in the frontline of these upheavals.
I feel this in my spleen as I look around the city. If village life seems constant and stagnate, Manchester by contrast is vibrant but on edge.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog