I was thinking I could do with a list of all the things with this bit of the world that hack me off (to be followed by a list of things I love and I’ll miss!)
- Potholes. Why are there so many??! Particularly the ones on Adelaide Street and the really, really deep one on Bury Road
- Drivers. Slow ones. Fast ones. Ones that cut you up
- People who stop too close behind me. What difference does 12 inches make if you stop that much further away from me? It MAKES me want to stall on purpose
- The learner driver route that clogs up Bridgeman St
- Traffic lights that aren’t in sync. England has too many of them, and too many of them where you have to stop at EVERY SINGLE set, wasting time and petrol!
- The grey sky
- The fact it’s nearly March and there are no signs of improving weather
- The fact the council spends a ridiculous amount on stupid things, and then not enough on important things
- Buses that don’t give you long enough to overtake when they pull in
- Tax. Fuel tax. I’ve paid income tax on my salary – any other tax is just stealth tax. I reckon actual costs are so minimal now and tax accounts for about 80% of the products we buy
- The way council operatives talk to you
- The extortionate amount credit card companies charge, without anyone stopping them and saying they’re being ridiculous
- Newspapers that feel forced to spin every single story and then can’t see the irony of accusing politicians of spin
- Miserable faces
- The dirty shades of clothing Britain feels like it should dress itself in
- Why all new building projects are in shades of brown and grey. I realise it would be ridiculous to build everything in white or colours, but it would make it a little less miserable if there was a smidgen of a pleasant colour about
- The nastiness of my yellowing grass
- Moss in my grass
- Poor timekeeping
- Cold calls, especially for anything you aren’t at all interested in…
I’m sure more things will appear on my list as time goes on.
And the things I shall miss?
- The hills around Manchester, especially when they’re snow-capped
- The Hark to Towler, a combination of pub, music venue and pirate ship
- Rock Radio – nothing like Steve Berry’s banter of a morning, and some rousing rock tunes to spice up the rush hour!
- Manchester-friendly people, who’ll chat with you just to pass the time
- Northern curry houses – our best import! Trishna’s fantastic house specials, and the lovely guy who brings them
- Home delivery and takeaway – not that we indulge regularly, but I’m sure I’ll miss it
- Burger King and all its delightful burgers
- Hot Dog vans and the smell of fried onions outside the town hall
- Bolton library – France just doesn’t do libraries like we do!
- Manchester and city living – Affleck’s Palace, Ancoats, King St South, Kendals, Selfridge’s, Heals and all the shops, Kurt Geiger and Mac makeup. Paris is still a long way away!
I’m wondering if you can take the girl out of Manchester, but not Manchester out of the girl? It’s made me gritty and hard-working and industrious; it’s made me ironic and sharp, sarcastic and sardonic; it’s made me ‘mad fer it’ and it’s made me know how to celebrate. It’s all Buzzcocks and The Smiths, Joy Division and New Order, Happy Mondays, the Inspiral Carpets, The Stone Roses and Oasis. It’s made me all ‘fuck you’, but all full of self-swagger and insecurity. It’s my history, my roots. Dark nights at the International watching punk bands and pretty-boy metal, goth bands and thrash; cold winter nights on the locks, sitting outside, laughing and drinking in zero degrees without a coat; fantastic chinese, thai, greek, indian, bangladeshi and british food, and more too numerous to mention. It’s the Ritz on Monday night, and Dambusters. It’s Jilly’s and the Banshee, Band on the Wall and the Roadhouse. It’s the Hacienda and the Boardwalk, Sankey’s Soap and the Free Trade Hall. And Manchester has made me outspoken, concerned with social welfare; it’s the city of Marx and Engels, of suffrage and Peterloo, of trade unions and political radicalism. It’s a city of workers, lacking charm and sophistication. And it is me.
Can I reform sufficiently to leave this behind?