OK, I confess. Some people have accused me of being a bit parochial, a bit too obsessed with my home town and its near neighbours. Guilty. In my defence, I was born in Manchester city centre, went to my first school in Manchester, supported Manchester City from the age of four and even went to watch United occasionally with my mate Rod Gibson. I was also the arts editor, TV critic, travel editor and deputy features editor on the Manchester Evening News, where I worked for nearly 20 years. I may live in Stockport, which I also love, now, but I’m still always going into town to meet friends, watch City or just to enjoy the buzz. But to address this ‘professional Mancunian’ thing, I’ve decided to go national with my new map of the British Isles. Now, surely, no one can accuse me of being too Manchester-centric. Surely. This will be available to buy in the regular formats from Wednesday, July 25. www.statementartworks.comRead More
That errant 'r', pronounced in bath and path, and probably a few other words, by people from the south of England, is just wrong, wrong, wrong - a stupid affectation probably brought over by the Normans, whose linguistic influence generally stopped at the point now known as the Watford gap. The little 'r' is the one thing that truly separates northerners and southerners. In most other respects we're exactly the same, at least genetically. This poster is available at markets around the Greater Manchester and Cheshire area, and online from statementartworks.com
Ian Curtis, the late singer of Joy Division, may have been born and raised in Macclesfield, but he's still the cover star of my new Manchester's 10 Commandments poster.
Why? Because Curtis, along with the other band members who went on to form New Order after the singer's death, came to symbolise the renaissance and spirit of the new Manchester. The band and its label, Factory, spawned the Hacienda, which became the coolest club in the world and made Manchester one of the coolest cities in the world.
In my mind it still is - I still marvel at the architecture and luxuriate in the special attitude of the city's people - and my 10 Commandments hopefully reflects that love, albeit with a healthy dose of humour so we don't get too saccharine about this.
Below are the words, but they work best with the image. The whole package is now available on my website, www.statementartworks.com, and at markets around the regions, including Knutsford, Altrincham, Wilmslow, Northern Quarter, West Didsbury and Macclesfield.
MANCHESTER 10 COMMANDMENTS
Thou shalt have no rock gods before Ian Curtis and the rest of Joy Division/New Order, Morrissey and Marr, John Squire, Guy Garvey and Noel Gallagher. Anyone found worshipping Chris Martin from Coldplay should be taken to a doctor straightaway.
Thou shalt not make false idols out of anyone who has played football for Liverpool, Chelsea or Leeds United (with the exception of Eric Cantona), or any of the local wannabes who have sung in a boyband.
Thou shalt not take the names of Maxine Peake, Christopher Eccleston, Steve Coogan, Tony Wilson, Alan Turing, Emily Pankhurst or Anthony Burgess in vain.
Remember the last day of the football season, when either United or City or both will have some new silverware in the trophy cabinet.
Honour thy father and thy mother, especially if they have taken you into Piccadilly Records from an early age, introduced you to any of the beers from the Marble brewery or bought you tapas at El Rincon de Rafa.
Thou shalt not play Meat is Murder by the Smiths too often, as good though he is, Morrissey can be a bit of a veggie bore at times. And anyway, Strangeways Here We Come is better.
Thou shalt not commit the adulteration of any of the beers in the Castle, Britons Protection, Peveril of the Peak or City Arms pubs.
Thou shalt not steal any of the clothes or goods from Afflecks Palace as it works on very tight profit margins and if it goes all we will be left with is high street chains.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. OK, go on then if they are on a two-year secondment from Cambridge with Astra Zenica and the only places they ever go to are Wilmslow and Prestbury.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, especially if she prefers the Trafford Centre to Manchester for shopping or ‘just doesn’t get’ Alan Partridge; or thy neighbour’s house, if it’s packed with pretentious artefacts picked up in Peru or Myanmar (what’s wrong with Debenhams on Market Street?); or thy neighbour’s ox (and the bloody chickens and guinea pigs too).