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A Great City...Just About
Manchester in General
Member Name: Hunting_Bears
Manchester in General
Date: 26/05/04, updated on 25/03/05 (1457 review reads)
Advantages: cool places, great architecture
Disadvantages: bad reputation
I arrived in Manchester and was unimpressed, that was until I wandered the city centre and had actually been to places, nightclubs and restaurants and such. You see dear reader Manchester is a fantastic place to be right now, it is forging ahead with a wonderful new identity or brand if you will. The city centre is an Architects heaven with some beautiful old buildings clashing with the new modernist flourishes that are being erected left, right and centre. Manchester feels like Barcelona, it really does. No it's not got mullet haired anarchists and Gaudi architecture, it does however have the same energy, the same joie de vivre. About forty-five miles away in the western direction sits an old archaic city known as Liverpool, it is currently attempting to fool Europe with its rather silly claim of being a 'city of culture', the fact that Liverpool lives in the past and constantly goes on about the fucking 'Beatles', it hasn't got a c
Manchester is a quietly confident place, it doesn't need labels and certificates to tell people its great, a lot of Mancunians know their city is changing and becoming a really great place to be. A friend of mine from London actually told me that even though London a shithole it still has a lot going for it but Manchester's easily the second best city in the country. Before the bomb in 1996, Manchester was a derelict post-industrial wasteland, I would have loved this, pre-1996 bomb Manchester was home to such wonderful music as The Smiths, Joy Division, The Stone Roses, Oasis, The Fall and New Order. Manchester's musical heritage is possibly in the top five places of great music in the world and they don't bother naming streets after the likes of Ian Curtis, Liam Gallagher or Tony Wilson, no Manchester looks forward to the future and is constantly searching out new music. In most clubs and pubs in the city centre there is a plethora of live music from jazz, hippity-hop, rock, indie and dance.
MY TOP FIVE PLACES IN MANCHESTER
1. THE CITY CENTRE
Take a walk around the city centre and just marvel at the architecture, there's the Bauhaus influenced Peter House in St. Peter's Square, the neo-classsical Public Library, the modernist Urbis building next to the Printworks, the new fantastic glass structure next to the M.E.N. offices on Deansgate and several grand old Victorian buildings scattered around. The fusion of old and modern give the city a really futuristic look, at night neon lights shimmer and glow making the city feel alive and I often feel like I'm in the film 'Blade Runner', especially when walking through China town.
2. MANCHESTER CITY GALLERY
This place has got some amazing artwork including Jack the Ripper suspect's W. Sieckhert's 'Jack the Ripper's bedroom' along with stuff by Flemish artists, medieval etchings, Francis Bacon,
Max Ernst and loads of post-modern art which is rather naff but interesting anyhoo. My favourite though is the Adolphe Valette, a French artist who taught at the Manchester Art School and is now incorporated into Manchester Metropolitan University, which is where I study. Valette's soft but rather grim impressionist paintings are wonderful to look at and an entire room is devoted to him, so check it out.
3. THE LOWRY CENTRE, SALFORD
This place is fucking awesome to behold, a post-modernist silver structure that houses theatres, art galleries and concert halls. I love this place especially when it is lit up at night. The Lowry centre is home to the largest L.S. Lowry collect in the world and though I don't particularly like him except his horrific portraits with their consumptive red eyes. I am off to see Kurt Weil's 'The Seven Deadly Sins' in June and I can't wait! The Lowry also has in the vicinity the Imperial War Museum which is an grand structure in itself and also a huge shopping outlet. The place is great for a day out so if you are in Manchester take the tram from the centre, on the eastern line and get it to Salford Quays it costs around 1.80 return.
4. PUBS AND CLUBS
5. THE CORNERHAUS/FAB CAFÉ/KIM-BY-THE-SEA
It's not spelt like that but I half expected it to be with its intellectual and sometimes pretentious vibe, saying that though THE arts centre of Manchester is a cool place if one wants to impress with one's knowledge of Iranian cinema or post-modernist sculpture. There are three cinemas here along with a crap restaurant, art gallery and a bar with silly chairs and Friends-style sofas. You can often catch some idiot in a turtleneck reading Proust and drinking mocha-latte's minus the foam, but I find the place endearing simply because there's nowhere else like it in Manchester. Famous film people come here, Danny Boyle, Quentin Tarantino and Eddi
e Izzard have all given talks and stuff here, so it's rather exciting sometimes. Another smashing place is Fab Café, a science-fiction themed café on Whitworth Street, it shows films and the décor is geeky, it's all Star Wars posters, Dr. Who memorabilia etc.
Another cool place is a little café just outside the city centre named Kim-By-The-Sea in Hulme on Old Birley St, the décor is wonderfully idiosyncratic, plush red velvet drapes mixed with polka-dot doors and William Morris wallpaper, it is a reasonably priced venue and offers vegan, veggie and meat dishes and a truly exquisite steak dish. It is run by ex-university students and is a great place in which to have a coffee, a chat or a meal at night. The owner's are barking mad and this gives the café a truly unique approach and atmosphere. I highly recommend this place it really is so different from other places in Manchester. I will write my next review on this place I like to so much.
Manchester is also to the dismay of its 'cool' residents as 'Madchester', the place does invoke a sense of hedonism and this is because many of its nightclubs are wicked cool. Being a poor student I cannot really recommend all the big posh clubs where all the rubbish actors from Corrie go to and overpriced footballers chat up council estate slappers. My favourite place to hang is the student pub 'The Thirty Scholar' on Oxford Rd just passed the train station and under the railway arch. It's got a good atmosphere, drunken pretentious students and people wanting to be the next Noel and Liam, for a good laugh, turn up on a Thursday night to witness the open-mike night, some of the performances are highly entertaining and deeply dreadful.
Manchester is a really good place to see a concert, go to the theatre, eat food, see architecture, have a laugh and get drunk in. I hope you visit one day, I know my review is a little light on how to's and
where are's but my intent was to review the vibe of the
city and try and get people to understand that London is not the be all and end all of England. Mancunians are not friendly and I love that, one thing that grates badly is when one is in Liverpool and Scousers are over-friendly, usually because they are going to mug you. Avoid the areas Moss Side, Longsight and Wythenshawe and Manchester is pretty safe but always be on the look out late at night for muggers and pissed up weirdo's. Manchester has got a thriving student population of something like 50,000 so this makes the place a little intellectual and chilled out compared to other places. It also has a Spanish Institute and this explains all the Spanish people you will see wandering around, it's a cool place, I hope you visit.
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