Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Salford vs. Manchester
Last night on television I happened to catch a programme called Dispatches: Yobs Are Scaring the Crap Out of us Posh Middle Aged Folk, or something like that. Of course where did it open but Salford, amid a hail of bone-chilling crime statistics and several minutes of grainy footage in which hoodie-clad scallies (and their wee brothers and sisters, aka the scallions) ran riot. Actually, they were mostly just standing around looking bored, drinking cans of Carling and occasionally lobbing a rock at a storefront. Every now and then the Dispatches reporter would approach them, shove a big camera in their faces without so much as a by-your-leave, and ask them inane questions like "Do you know why people are scared of you?" and "Does your mother know where you are right now?" I would have told her to fuck off as well.
I amused myself by imagining the poor BBC employees in London who were also watching Dispatches, colour draining from their carefully buffed faces as they realised that Salford is where their jobs might be heading! The BBC has narrowed it down to two sites for its massive expansion up norf, one at Salford Quays and the other in Manchester's "Central Spine" off Whitworth Street (I've never heard of that part of the city, but it sounds painful, doesn't it?) The winner will be announced in June. A poll of BBC employees back in January came out in favour of Manchester. Ya think? And calling the Salford site "Media City" hardly makes it any less hyperventilatingly scary for the northbound Beebers.
But they really shouldn't be that worried. Salford is nothing to be afraid of. Sure, there are bits of it you will basically want to avoid, like, forever. But other bits are quite nice. And there are quite a few excellent pubs there. A good excuse to see all of them in one day is coming up this Sunday, when Sounds From The Other City brings its swirly multi-location local music shindig to town. Book now, it sold out last year.