Funny how a city can host a personality before you’ve even visited. Alive in a picture of people who’ve existed there, bands rooted there, a history learnt though documentaries on times long passed.
Manchester begins in dribs and drabs of estate housing and graffiti-ed red brick, a lineage of its industrial past. But there’s a certain warmth in the grottiness, maybe it’s the familiarity to me, that I can relate it to the streets I grew up in back in Newcastle.
I meet Amy and we play a game of musical chairs: alternative bars and cafe eats, vegan diners and dive bars, catching up on the year that’s passed like no time passed at all. A friend like a sister, a soul piece, a revelation. We’re well and tipsy and happy to be in the city discussing the deepest things in life: love, ambition, purpose and growing up. It’s been six years since we were let loose on the world, finding a grounding companionship on that first night of university. We haven’t changed much but then we’re completely different people, it’s a weird place your twenties.
Film camera tour stops, another cheeky brew at Jimmy’s, spontaneous tattoo’s and canal side goodbyes. It’s short and sweet and nothing spectacular at all yet I leave a piece of me there in the heart of Manchester and watch as those same red brick factories and terrace houses pass me by.
There’s something very humble about being back in England. An appreciation I failed to have before but I’m proud of where I’m from, not for the politics, for the societal decay but for the people up in these Northern towns, of the grafters, the artists, the people who paint the streets with their wild. We’ve got a riotous little core and theirs pride to be had in that.
Love & Light, N x