the city talking: manchester, a-z 2016 • jBack
The City Talking
This is our first A-Z issue in Manchester; it’s a chance to fill our pages with as many stories, hopes, dreams and memories as we can. Every year we speak to friends, acquaintances and strangers who we hope will become friends.
The A-Z issue always begins with a question, and this year in Manchester there were two. We wanted to know what people in Manchester had enjoyed this past year — the events, individuals and moments that made their 2015 great. We also wanted to know what they were excited about — what 2016 had promised them. We asked everyone from baristas, writers and artists to CEOs and leaders of the city’s tech community. We hope to ask even more of you next year.
John Whiston MD
Continuing Drama & Head of ITV in the North
The credits of Coronation Street rolling up after the end of a faultless Live episode, while sitting in the scanner van in our new site in Media City. Over 300 people contribute to making a Live episode happen and a mistake by any one of them can spell disaster, so it’s always a massive relief as well as a huge adrenaline rush when you pull something as ambitious as that off. We even blew up a car… live… just for the hell of it. People hug each other like it’s VE Day after being through the trauma and the excitement of a Live episode.
Obsessed as I am with table tennis (anyone notice the table tennis storyline I sneaked into Corrie in the last couple of months?), my partner Nickie and I put on an annual Coronation Street versus Emmerdale Table Tennis Tournament in the street outside Manchester’s best gay club, New York, New York. Weirdly, it’s become a regular part of the Pride weekend. It’s a heady combination — soap stars, small white balls, glamorous drag queens and the incredibly generous folk of Manchester’s gay community digging deep for the charity the event supports, The Rainbow Trust. In 2015 we raised over £10k in an afternoon. Although admittedly, a big chunk of that came from Shayne Ward auctioning himself off for a kiss! Roll on 2016’s tournament.
2015 was the year my second album, Hinterland, came out on Warp records, so inevitably that dominates my memory of 2015. Hinterland explored my ongoing interests in psychogeography, Brutalist architecture, hauntology, topography, derive. Every song was about one kind of landscape or another; be it Audenshaw where I grew up, or the interior terrain of the mind. But most of all it was informed by the canal paths, dilapidated buildings and wastelands of Manchester’s outskirts, Miles Platting in particular, which was an area I returned to time and again to walk and wonder. This wandering in wastelands became a kind of ritualistic action and fed into the kind of sounds I wanted to make, the impressions I wanted to imprint on record. They are unremarkable sights — a scrap of rubble or piece of razor wire, childhood sites of play, towerblocks. I related to these dilapidated places as they re-connected me to the same sense of wonder and play that came more freely as a child, when it was possible to invent magic kingdoms using spare ingredients and the imagination. These are the qualities I try to keep hold of in music making.
Every atom of Hinterland was about Manchester, and I have never lived anywhere else. Perhaps it is time for me to be elsewhere for a while; it is this possibility that I look forward to in 2016. But wherever I go, Manchester is always inside me.
Originally published in The City Talking: Manchester, issue 03