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  • Mark 6:43 pm on September 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: manchester   

    On Manchester 

    THIS IS THE PLACE (full version)
    written and performed by Tony Walsh for Forever Manchester

    This is the place in the North West of England
    It’s ace, it’s the best and the songs that we sing
    From the stands, from our bands set the whole planet shaking
    Our inventions are legends! There’s nowt we can’t make and

    So we make brilliant music. We make brilliant bands
    We make goals that make souls leap from seats in the stands
    And we make things from steel and we make things from cotton
    And we make people laugh, take the mick summat rotten

    And we make you at home and we make you feel welcome
    And we make summat happen, we can’t seem to help it
    And if you’re looking for history then yes, we’ve a wealth
    But the Manchester way is to make it yourself

    And make us a record, a new number one
    And make us a brew while you’re up, love. Go on!
    And make us feel proud that you’re winning the league
    And make us sing louder and make us believe it

    that this is the place that has helped shape the world
    And that this the place where a Manchester girl
    Name of Emmeline Pankhurst from the streets of Moss Side
    Led a Suffragette City with sisterhood pride

    And this is the place with appliance of science
    We’re on it, atomic, we strut with defiance
    In the face of a challenge we always stand tall
    Mancunians in union delivered it all

    Such as housing and libraries, and health, education
    And unions and co-ops, the first railway station
    So we’re sorry! Bear with us! We invented commuters!
    But we hope you forgive us – we invented computers!

    And this is the place Henry Royce strolled with Rolls
    And we’ve rocked and we’ve rolled with our own Northern Soul
    And so this is the place to do business, then dance
    Where go-getters and goal setters know they’ve a chance

    And this is the place where we first played as kids
    And me Mam lived and died here, she loved it she did
    And this is the place where our folks came to work
    Where they struggled in puddles, they hurt in the dirt

    And they built us a city.They built us these towns
    And they coughed on the cobbles to the deafening sound
    Of the steaming machines and the screaming of slaves
    They were scheming for greatness, they dreamed to their graves

    And they left us a spirit, they left us a vibe
    The Mancunian Way to survive and to thrive
    And to work and to build, to connect and create and
    Greater Manchester’s greatness is keeping it great

    And so this is the place now we’ve kids of our own
    Some are born here, some drawn here but we all call it home
    And they’ve covered the cobbles, but they’ll never defeat
    All the dreamers and schemers who still teem through these streets

    Because this is a place that has been through some hard times
    Oppressions, recessions, depressions and dark times
    But we keep fighting back with Greater Manchester spirit
    Northern grit, northern wit in Greater Manchester’s lyrics

    And there’s hard times again in these streets of our city
    But we won’t take defeat and we don’t want your pity
    Because this a place where we stand strong together
    With a smile on our face, Mancunians Forever

    And we’ve got this* as the place where a team with a dream (*Forever Manchester)
    Can get funding and something to help with their scheme
    Because this is the place that understands your grand plans
    We don’t do No Can Do, we just stress Yes We Can!

    Forever Manchester’s a charity for people round ‘ere
    You can fundraise, donate. You can be a volunteer
    You can live local, give local. We can honestly say
    We do charity differently, that Mancunian Way

    And we fund local kids, and we fund local teams
    We support local dreamers to work for their dreams
    We support local groups and the great work they do
    So can you …help us help… local people like you?

    Because this is the place in our hearts, in our homes
    Because this is the place that’s a part of our bones
    ‘Cos Greater Manchester gives us such strength from the fact
    That this is the place. We should give something back.
    Always remember. Never forget.Forever Manchester.

  • Mark 7:44 am on July 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , manchester, river irwell,   

    Stories of the River Irwell 

    Interesting short film made by someone I met yesterday:

  • Mark 12:39 pm on November 28, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: , cultural globalisation, manchester   

    a question about cultural globalisation 

    How did ‘love locks’ spread from the great cities of Europe to a grim motorway junction in suburban north Manchester? There’s about 10-20 on here at present. I’m going to keep checking back to see if they spread.

     They can also be found in Manchester city centre:


  • Mark 6:57 pm on September 21, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: , manchester   

    good cafes in manchester to work in 

    I asked this question earlier on Twitter and received an excellent range of responses. For my own convenience, here’s a list of the recommended cafes that I’m planning to try out over the coming weeks:

  • Mark 4:20 am on December 29, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , business improvement districts, city co, ground control, manchester, politics of space, privatization, ,   

    The Future of the British City? A review of Ground Control by Anna Minton 

    The reconstruction of Manchester’s city centre after the IRA’s 1996 bomb stood as the background to my teenage years and, as is often the case with such things, I never really scrutinised or questioned the direction it took. I was 11 at the time of the bombing and had been watching cartoons on a Saturday morning before driving into the city centre with my mother. I vaguely remember us being stopped in the car by a hastily erected police cordon on the outskirts of the city but it was only later in the day, while at my grandmother’s nursing home, that we found out what had happened. At the time the impact of the bombing seemed to be expressed solely in the immediacy of the destruction wrought; yet many years later, as I read Ground Control, it became clear quite how the events of that morning paved the way for a radical and, at the time, unprecedented experiment in city-centre governance.

    Since 2000 the centre of Manchester has been run by a private company called City Co which, in its own words, “provides the vision, strategy and influence” necessary for “creating the trading conditions for business to prosper”. The Manchester city council describes it as follows:

    Cityco is Manchester’s city centre management company. Cityco is an independent, member-based organisation, which represents businesses in the city centre, primarily leisure, hotels, retailers, commercial property and professional services. The company’s main objective is to help create the trading conditions for business in the city centre to prosper; a broad aim, which we work towards in a variety of strategic and operational ways.

    We are well-networked within the city and our close links with the City Council, the Police, transport bodies and other organisations allow us to help members resolve security and environmental problems. We lobby on behalf of members, for example, to improve late night public transport and regulatory frameworks, and undertake initiatives, including research, to inform the long-term strategic direction of the city centre.

    Cityco also promotes the city nationally and internationally as a leisure and business destination, running inventive and successful marketing campaigns.

    Far from being an isolated case, Cityco was the prototype for a new mode of city centre governance which became the heart of New Labour’s urban  policy: the Business Improvement District (BID). It’s a policy imported from America, where it has spread quickly over the last 15 years. Businesses petition the local government to create a BID, the local government (in principle) determines that a majority of the businesses in the area want the BID and then the legislation enacting the BID is enacted. In the US, after the creation of a BID, all business property owners within the district pay a fee – even those who opposed its creation – while in the UK, in the absence of a property register, occupiers pay the fee. This fee pays, as in the case of Cityco, for activity intended to create good business conditions within the area.

    Taken in a rather naive and literal sense this could be seen to practically amount to keeping the area clean, safe and attractive. However there’s a subtle but profound conflation at work here; good business conditions for the sort of retail and leisure outlets which usual dominate BIDs amount to circumstances which engender consumption and remove obstacles to consumption. As Anna Minton  reports a BID manager telling her: “high margins come with ABC1s, low margins with C2DEs. My job is to create an environment which will bring in more ABC1s” (pg 45). If you fall into the most desire socio-economic groups and are coming into the BID in order to spend money then the BID represents a proactive attempt to shape the area to your immediate needs. This becomes progressively less true as the people concerned become less socio-economically desirable and less intent on consumption to the point where those who are uneconomical, or even anti-economic, become subject to outright harassment.

    The Loiterers Resistance Movement are a group influenced by psychogeography who attempt to foster the creative exploration of Manchester. In 2008 they attempted to organize a festival of talks, walks and performances in the city-centre but faced resistance from Cityco at every turn. They were told that flyering without a permit  would constitute littering and they would be fined. They were refused permission to pitch a tent as part of an outdoor art exhibition on the grounds that it might encourage homeless people into the city. An event about pigeons came under fire on the grounds that it might “encourage people to like pigeons”. Members of the group who were asking passers-by about their use of the city-centre were questioned and subject to “vague” threats by Cityco’s wardens. Obviously though this is only example when many more could be cited. Indeed many go unreported.

    It’s great to be a wealthy consumer within a BID; quite the opposite to be homeless, flaneur, protestor, busker, young or poor. So the idea that certain public goods (cleaning, security, entertainment) are necessarily common goods is misleading when those specific public goods are pursued by business as a means to an end. Particularly when these de facto governmental bodies come equipped with private police (such as Cityco’s wardens and rangers) and vast CCTV networks. Likewise their ambiguous status, as can be seen in the growing outsourcing of policing functions to private security and equal involvement in policing operations, itself grants security guards de facto powers. Far from being private security guards, they are City Wardens who work with the police and increasingly have police powers; this leaves members of the public less likely to question them and individuals guards more likely to lie about or abuse their powers, at least when the individual would obviously be unlikely to take the matter to court. Likewise the extent of collusion between the police and private security (witness EON and EDO) elsewhere doesn’t inspire confidence in the accountability of these increasingly empowered and emboldened private security agents.

    This is only one small aspect of the book but it stuck with me for biographical reasons. It’s also emblematic of the wider issues the book deals with, as market imperatives and the utilitarian individualism which goes with them literarly consume public space: gated luxury housing, gated social housing, BIDs, CCTV, ASBOs, ‘malls without walls’. The attempt to provide control and security, as a business driven effort to attract well-off consumers and as a well-off consumer driven effort to repel the dangerous outsider, are radically transforming the spatial politics of the UK in ways which have yet to be adequately conceptualised; anger and protest at individual symptoms have yet to translate into a general understanding of the underlying problem which could provide an effective basis for resistance. Ground Control is an admirable attempt to provide such a basis but one which, at less than 200 pages, was always bound to remain incomplete.

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