Though my accent may not give it away, I’m a born and bred Mancunian. Originally from Moss Side I should sound like Liam Gallagher, but my mum spent most of my childhood correcting my grammar. There was no way she was going to let me pronounce hospital with a “k”. If you don’t know where the k goes, you have never been to Manchester. My Dad also often accused me of being a “Mancunian Mumbler, just like your Aunty Barbara” that meaning fast and quietly spoken. Over the years I have to try hard to enunciate loudly and slowly, as I often have to speak to large groups of people.
I grew up in Gorton, though my mum told everyone it was a suburb called Debdale. Went to school in Levenshulme, and with my nondescript accent, I was teased for being the “posh kid”
It was very much an inner city school, friendly but rough around the edges. Yes, the rough got out of hand on occasions, like the time a girl sat near to me in class was stabbed in the shoulder with a pair of scissors. Luckily the caretaker knew first aid and held pressure on the wound, til the ambulance and Police arrived.
My dad always says, you can succeed anywhere if you want to…
I left school with plenty of “O” levels and served my time as a Technician Engineer at G.E.C in Droylsden, attending night school in Openshaw. So when I say I am a proud Manc, or Mancunian, I believe I have earned the right to be.
During my lifetime, my home city has overcome trials, we currently are in the midst of a global pandemic and are under “special measures” above and beyond the rest of the nation. But…
“THIS TOO SHALL PASS”
In 1996 the IRA carried out some ‘urban redevelopment’ in the heart of our great city. They parked a lorry containing a 3,300lb bomb outside Marks & Spencers. Those were the days when terrorists gave warnings of impending attacks. The 90 minute notice allowed the authorities to evacuate 75,000 people. But the bomb squad were unable to defuse the device. I heard the blast from Ashton-under-Lyne, 7 miles away. More than 200 people were injured but miraculously no one died.
Manchester has been rebuilt, visitors today can enjoy a new improved and enjoyable experience. Mancunians move on and adapt.
On the 22nd of May 2017 as an Ariana Grande concert closed a bomb was detonated in the foyer area. Tragically 22 concert goers and their parents were killed, with hundreds more injured. To this day cars around Manchester have a stickers depicting a bee, the city’s emblem, to remember the 22. There is even a Mural on a wall, painted by Russell Meeham, with 22 bees.
Less than 24 hours after the horrific attack, Mancunians gathered in Albert Square at the steps of Manchester Town hall, to remember and to express, that they would not be scared by terrorists. In a particularly moving moment, local poet and wordsmith Tony Walsh (aka Longfella) performed his poem “This is the place”. A tribute to the resolve of Manchester. A month later in a collaboration with a local band, they released the poem to a classic “Manc” sound track.
What all my 52 years of life in Manchester and now Greater Manchester have taught me, is that overcoming adversity is what Mancunians do.
To quote James Baldwin a black American writer and activist…
“I can’t be a pessimist because I am alive. To be a pessimist means that you have agreed that human life is an academic matter. So, I am forced to be an optimist. I am forced to believe that we can survive, whatever we must survive.”
Will Corona virus cause more trouble for us, Yes. But we shall overcome. Stay Safe, play your part and the day we will come, that we will look back on this time as part of our collective history.
If you have made it this far, you deserve some more Mancunian poetry, this time from Mike Garry