Friday, February 1, 2008

Is Manchester Britain's Second City, or is it Just A Shithole?

All my life I, Ian Hough have championed the virtues of Manchester, my home town. People have been telling me that I should work in public relations for the place, such has been my enthusiasm for transmitting its might and elegance to "foreigners" who haven't yet worked out how cool it/we is/are. Out here we is stoned, man-dudes, k? The previous sentence was a cruel sarcasm, based on recent experiences I have had with some of the Mancunians (that's what they call people from Manchester). They have accused me of being "middle class"! Devastating! They have called me a "Bury lad"! Arrgghh!! And most of all they have drawn very definite lines in the sand as to what is "proper" or "real" Manchester, and what is Salford (a neighbouring city which was there for a very very long time before the Romans came and built Manchester), and what is "my" Bury, and other things besides.
In my first book, "Perry Boys", I push Manchester as the second city of Britain, and I took the mickey out of the cockneys in a playful chapter entitled "Cockney Kryptonite". But when I did the same to United fans from Manchester in a recent edition of United We Stand fanzine, it seems the Albert Tatlock spirit is alive and well in the city, and a sense of humour has somehow dissolved like the statues in the acid rain I know and love.
Britain's Second City? All my life I have pushed this idea of Manchester and wanted to make it true, but now I am rethinking everything; third city? Fourth City? You tell me, my penguins of the crystal desert. You tell me...

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