Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Manc lingo: "The Southern Quarter"

In this review of Odder (formerly Zumbar) on the always entertaining Manchester Clubbing we spotted what could be the genesis of a wankdified new trend: Referring to the bit of Oxford Road near Hulme as the "Southern Quarter." God, please nip this one in the bud.

Some creative businesses moved to the neighbourhood around Shudehill years ago because it was way sketchy, and the rents were cheap. The myth of the bohemian Northern Quarter was engendered by city council folk, residents and early-adopter businessowners panting for their own Greenwich Village North. In time, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. If enough people say that bit of the city is where all the arty bars/vintage clothing places/record shops are, then that's where the businesses who wish to be identified in that way will choose to locate. Nowadays, real estate there is no bargain.

But, however it got that way, the Northern Quarter is a neighbourhood with a distinctive character. Whether the bit of the city around Odder shares that character is highly debatable... as far as I can see, Oxford Road round there is mainly middling student bars, kebab joints, and Cornerhouse. There's Arch, which ain't what it used to be. And Hulme (apart from the Redbricks) is hardly bohemian. It's where students and other folks looking for affordable rents live. A walk around it will quickly disabuse anyone of the notion that it's another arty playland for people with silly haircuts. Still, the real estate agents have already seized upon the Southern Quarter as a marketing catchphrase. Ugh.

It must be said, though, that it's spot on to refer to the grim quadrant of meat-market clubs stretching from Quay Street down to Deansgate Locks as the "Straight Village." No time is this title more fitting than on a Friday night, say around 2 am, when passsersby are likely to run afoul of drunkunian mating rituals and frantic couplings in the street.

Strangely, I found a usage of straight village on Visit Northwest, a tourism site for the region. On the page headed Peter's Fields and the Conference Center, it says:
This is a newly developed area that includes the Manchester International Convention Centre (MICC), Bridgewater Hall and G-MEX. To many the area is also the ‘Straight Village’, the antithesis of the Gay Village. At night gangs of shaven-headed lads and girls in mini-skirts roam from pub to pub.

Now, doesn't that make you want to visit? Sounds well friendly.

6 comments:

Stephen Newton said...

Here's some more new jargon to hate: 'hetrophobic'.

(Although they're probably right about Deansgate Locks.)

JdG said...

i live in the northern quarter and the hipbranding/ council insistence on it being one of about 15 city quarters irks. however there is much scope for working out silly abbreviations for the area: NoQuo is my fave, with le Quartier Nord and NQ1 in hot pursuit. So what for the Southern Quarter? SoOx (South of Oxford) or Mancunian Way Way?

yankunian said...

So you still kicking it on Church Street, JdG? Haven't seen you for ages, hope you're doing well...

Adrian said...

Can't remember whether it was Jonathan Schofield or John Robb who said they preferred the "southern quarter" in a slightly tongue-in-cheek article in City Life a few years ago. It didn't catch on then, so I doubt it will now... HNY.

JdG said...

I am indeed on Church St still doing the NQ/4 thing. How's you?

yankunian said...

can't complain. Hope to run into you some time soon, j.