About Mancky

Have you ever had any obsessions? Or any ideas that drive you to do something?

This site is about Manchester’s culture from a personal point of view.

The city is fairly grim, let’s be honest. But grimness can have an up-side: if this place was beautiful maybe the people here wouldn’t care so much about music, clubs and clothes? (And drugs and alcohol… and football…)

We live forwards but understand backwards – Soren Kierkegaard

I have started to regard Manchester as a “bad parent”, in so far as children have no option but to absorb what surrounds them.

I suspect this city has inflicted a brutalising culture upon its population; after all, Manchester is the product of historical human exploitation on a massive scale. The scars of 19th century exploitation persist in the attitudes of many who grow up here – grim stoical cynicism, sometimes vicious humour and rife reverse class snobbery. You have to be arrogant, thick-skinned or both to attempt anything creative in this city.

And many of the city’s high profile pop culture sons (and they are all sons) resemble rebellious adolescents, even in middle age. In fact, the male domination of this city’s culture is shocking; I’ve grown up with it but just never noticed how bad it is until recently. (The big football clubs should be shamed into financing women’s sport to help redress the balance.)

“Madchester” was a cultural disaster… It was fun briefly but led everyone down a blind alley. The city’s music and football cultures combined, solidified and blocked everything up. The city has suffered from creative constipation ever since. Thankfully Graphene managed to squeeze out on account of being thin.

Sticking with the body metaphor, Salford and Manchester are con-joined cities, sharing the same centre which lies within the city of Manchester… and that’s weird! (Are they joined at the head or the heart?) The BBC’s presence will hopefully make up for chronic neglect of Salford’s national and international profile. (If only Manchester United had been named for Salford instead.)

And did you know that Emmeline Pankhurst was born in Moss Side? Moss Side doesn’t know either.

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The few years before “Madchester” was an exciting time here, which I was lucky to experience. Tweaked Kondratiev cycle theory suggests something similar should be happening now-ish… but if it does, I’ll probably be too old to notice.

If you spot anything, let me know at urs@mancky.co.uk.

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BTW If you’ve commented on here and the comment has disappeared, I’m really sorry, it’s a cock-up not a conspiracy. While getting rid of comment spam, I accidentally deleted some good comments.

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18 Comments

  1. Anna Ackah

    Spyra Gyra got me jazz funking on my toes, Rafters got me completely jazz funked up!

    Manchester was cool then and has gotten cooler since

    Memory tunes come alive once more at the Hilton Soul weekender…keep on moving

  2. Mary Begley

    Hi Ursula,

    I disagree that Manchester’s grim!! What a sad epithet! I think that with the caveats ‘despite everything’ and ‘relatively speaking’, Manchester can be vibrant and friendly. As for beauty, we’ve got good and bad just like every other city, haven’t we? It’s the attitude of the people who live here that matters!

    Mary

  3. I’m doing my dissertation on the Manchester music scene from ’86-’96 and this website saved my life, thank you!! There’s so much good stuff on here, keep up the good work, rave on! :)

  4. Let me guess – geraldine and Ursula aren’t from Manchester originally ?

    • hi matt – i’ve lived in manchester since i was 6 – how clever of you to guess i wasn’t born here. geraldine was born in manchester.
      best wishes, urs.

  5. I have been looking for old photos of the arndale centre circa 1980 to 85 as I used to work there, does anyone remember the golden egg restaurant which later became crawfords. Ihave lots of great memouries of working in the arndale, I used to drink in the Isacc newton and eventualy worked there as a kitchen hand, I also worked at the newyork newyork restaurant and pizzaland on deansgate. I became a member of pips in 1980 and although I now live in Australia I still have my membership card, for some reason I never lost it and didn’t realize I had it until about 2 yrs ago and ive moved about a hell of a lot since the 80s.The music scene back then was fantastic,inventive and exciting. Cold beer,cold nights and steaming hot pudding chips and gravy at the end of the night and hopefully a sweet girl on your arm, then the late night bus home to blackley, sorry for rattling on just got nostalgic.

  6. Hi Urs
    Great site I’ve really enjoyed surfing thru it the past couple of days. I lived, studied and worked in the city from 81 to 84 and have many memories that overlap with your own. Strangely despite my weed and booze damaged memory your name seems very familiar (Afflecks Pally perhaps.) All the best Steve

    • Hi Steve! Thanks for commenting – in 1984 I was at sixth form and at the poly art foundation course. I did spend a fair bit of time in Afflecks – did you work there? Best wishes, Urs

  7. Martin Davies

    Hi Urs – just happened across the site while reading about Hulme and have now idled away a very enjoyable two hours reading posts and reliving my own past. I was in rockabilly (“psychobilly”) bands in the 80s and remember wandering – Narnia-like – into a newly opened Afflecks Palace one Saturday afternoon and feeling that life would never be the same again. I was never much a ‘metal’ fan but I was reading with interest about Phil Lynott recently and became quite fascinated by his mother’s ‘showbusiness hotel’ in Whalley Range and the motley array of characters who passed through there in the 70s – fodder for a possible post, if you haven’t done it already.
    Thank you for the Proustian trip down Amnesia Avenue – very much appreciated.
    Mart

    • Hi Mart – thanks for the message – that hotel is right at the end of my road as far as I know and I haven’t written about it but you’re quite right, I should. I don’t know any details – just the basic story. I’ll see what I can find out… Where were you reading about it? And which bands were you in? Thanks again, best wishes, Urs

      • Martin Davies

        Hi Urs –

        Re: Phil Lynott’s mother’s hotel: I was just reading bits and bobs on the internet, such as this:
        http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/phil-lynotts-mother-recalls-exciting-855110
        The bands I was in were never up to much – just playing local venues in west Manchester. But “psychobilly” was an odd and interesting phase in the mid-late 80’s. Even though we quiffed our hair religiously and wore the requisite 50s clothing, I don’t recall any of us ever really listening to actual rockabilly music or caring much about it! Might be one of those embarrassing “style over substance” moments I fear.

  8. This is really interesting for me to read up on dear old Manchester.

    I can’t agree that it’s a grim city at all. Sometime in the 1960’s, my parents used to take us over to visit Kendal Milne’s, as it was then, on Deansgate at Christmas time, so my perceptions of big city Manchester were always sprinkled with magic Santa Claus dust.

    Later on as an early teenager, it epitomised the big city and I viewed it like mini New York. Deansgate was Broadway and everything was happening there. It was the epicenter of all things good for me.

    The kung fu explosion happened in ’74, and various clubs opened and closed there to capitalise on the fad/movement which gripped the imagination of the UK’s youth, and I was in there, with dream inspired visions of Carradine’s depictions of the Shaolin monastery and Bruce Lee’s incredible energy and charisma, and Manchester was accommodating it all. There was a martial arts shop on Swan Street which ran for so many years and at which I bought a black kung fu jacket, made in Taiwan, and small enamel yin-yang badge which I still have in my closet here in China, where I’ve been living for over 12 years now. Such is the power of the media and Manchester.

    Due to my interest in Asia, from the psychedelic movement in the 60’s, and the kung fu explosion in the 70’s, I left the UK in the mid 80’s to make a year long trip overland to China and back.

    Just over a year later, I settled down in Taiwan for just over 4 years, the country which I had made the kung fu jacket which I’d bought in Swan St., remember?, and worked and studied Mandarin Chinese and tai chi, also advertised in the Manchester Evening News during the day. The spirit of Manchester was with me in Taiwan.

    Later, when Madchester occurred, I read about it in an issue of the American Time magazine one afternoon in the library at Chenggung university in Tainan city, Taiwan, and I was entranced at this mad foolishness that was happening in wonderful Manchester, and I so wanted to be there and see it for myself!

    Whenever I used to go home for a visit to my parents in Rochdale, Manchester was always the amazing city I would pass through; always checking out Chinatown, and the Free Trade Hall, where I’d seen so many great concerts. It was Manchester, and I was back to experience and enjoy it for a short while before going back to Asia to continue my travels. Manchester was always that central pin in my mind.

    11 years later to the day, I returned to the UK for 3 years and met a Chinese kung fu master at an exhibition of Chinese culture which was held at the Museum of Science and Technology in 1997. So again, that Manchester influence in my life. He invited me to visit his kung fu and chi gong centre just off Piccadilly Gardens, where I trained for 2 years before taking off to Thailand to work for 2 years. By this time, the internet had come into fledgling common usage, so I could keep in touch with Manchester happenings online. It was never far away now.

    Later, I took off for work in Kathmandu, another city which remains as dear and familiar to me as Manchester, and not finding any suitable vacancies there, gravitated to China, from 2002, to the present date; taking time off to go back traveling in India and Nepal, two loves of mine which equal dear old Christmas stardust psychedelic rock concert kung fu exotic eastern promise inspired mini New York wonderful Madchester Manchester. And it’s never far from me in spirit. And I always get such a kick when returning to the UK on visits and walking round old haunts and noting the changes and Manchester’s current face.

    I think it was Dickens who once said “Travel is mainly in the mind.”, but then so is everyday life, and my personally coloured perceptions of Manchester could never perceive it as grim, with so many great and influential associations embedded within its existence for me.

    Good on ya, Manchester!!! One of the true centres of the world, for me, and it always will be!

    Roger

  9. Come & enjoy a delicious 3 course meal at the Tea Hive Alexandra Park’s Pavilion Cafe accompanied with historical storytelling. This month our storytelling salutes radical icon Emmeline Pankhurst, the Suffragette movement and explores the rise of feminism in Manchester.

    A pop-up collaboration by The Wandering Chef & Manchester Sound-Bites who are a collection of local people who passionately believe in providing great tasting, healthy food inspired from cuisines around the world accompanied with epic stories from Manchester’s colourful past. Through our storytelling we hope to inspire & pass on our passion for all things Manchester. Our aim is to delight your taste buds, excite your intellect and swell your civic pride. Our events are relaxed, open to everyone and hosted in locations of character for a unique dining experience.

    A Special Event for 2 Nights Only:

    Wednesday 6th April 2016
    & Thursday 7th April 2016

    19:00 – 22:00 (IMPORTANT: PROMPT ARRIVAL BY LATEST 19:15)

    For MENU & TICKETS visit: http://www.eventbee.com/v/soundbites/event?eid=132744911

  10. heather

    Does anyone know we’re did salmon get to after sam sams closed down in hulme . Miss that place , had some happy memories me and my sister in the early 90 s .

  11. thanks for the information – i know the ‘manchester beat’ site, although it’s all before my time, best wishes, urs.

  12. Dear Sascha,
    Try approaching MOSI directly for the transcripts through http://www.mosi.org.uk/ although their site is down today for some reason.

    I am just a person who writes on the internet for fun… I’m not part of any group or institution.

    Re: The Hacienda see:

    http://www.mancky.co.uk/?p=8066 – Hacienda in City Fun fanzine ’82

    http://www.mancky.co.uk/?p=3079 – Hacienda in City Life magazine ’84

    http://www.mancky.co.uk/?p=685 Hacienda lifestyle ’85-’87

    http://www.mancky.co.uk/?p=2275 Temperance Club ’86

    http://www.mancky.co.uk/?p=837 House Sound of Chicago ’86-’87

    http://www.mancky.co.uk/?p=2323 Wide Night ’87

    http://www.mancky.co.uk/?p=462 T-coy Carino ’87

    http://www.mancky.co.uk/?p=403 52nd Street I’ll Return ’87

    http://www.mancky.co.uk/?p=1278 Zumbar night – Hot night ’88

    http://www.mancky.co.uk/?p=1258 Hot night ’88

    http://www.mancky.co.uk/?p=1343 Happy Mondays and new pecking order ’88

    I much preferred the scene before acid house and rave. Acid house killed musical diversity and changed the Hacienda from a creative melting pot into a drug-selling machine controlled by gangsters. Another case of cynicism devouring idealism, which seems to happen alot around here.
    Best wishes, Urs

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