I thought I was safe from news of the Mancunian arts scene way over here, but today it came looking for me. I opened up the New Yorker this morning and read this Talk of the Town piece about the upcoming Manchester International Festival (that takes way too long to say, doesn't it? How about we come up with something shorter, like Muffy or the MIFfest?)
MIFfed is surely how some people in our city felt after reading the piece, which made Marketing Manchester's Nick Johnson, Sir Richard Leese and Alex Poots (listed in descending order of how silly they came out sounding) look a bit, well, idiotic. Like powerpoint hucksters trying to condense the city's appeal into "brand signifiers" and not letting little things like historical accuracy or not actually knowing much about Manchester get in the way. Apparently, Poots
still lives in London half the week. I know it's not the same as trying to commute from Australia, but still.
Anyway, I thought the article was good, slightly patronizing about Manc at times, but those New Yorker writers probably don't get up North much. And it's downright refreshing to see someone write about the city without the automatic unquestioning deference for Mancunian sacred cows (The Hacienda, Alan Turing, Peter Saville, etc.) that the local press always includes free of charge.