Manchester has many things, but it doesn't have a listings magazine. Online, there are plenty of places to look to for cultural inspiration, including Creative Tourist, Manchester Wire, and enough good blogs to choke an eGoat (see sidebar). But since CityLife folded in 2005 and Time Out wussed out in 2007 we haven't had a proper listings magazine.
Well that's all going to change soon: we're getting one. Well, half of one. We have to share it with Liverpool. You know, that other city a scant 36 miles away. The conventional media wisdom (only reinforced by the failure of the Northwest Enquirer a few years back) goes that these two cities are so irrecconcilably different they must be kept apart at all costs, and will respond negatively to any attempts to lump them together. Kind of like Edinburgh and Glasgow. So who better to conquer this job than the publication that has successfully covered both those cities in one publication for seven years? Yes, The Skinny is setting up a Northwest edition. They've been flirting with the idea for the last couple of years, but now it's official: they're hiring a staff and will be publishing both online and (take a deep breath) in print starting in April.
They've lined up Lauren Strain to edit the magazine and are recruiting over here on The Skinny site, with a few positions up for grabs including a subeditor and section editors for books, visual art and comedy: some paid, some not. It will be run from offices on Tariff Street in the Northern Quarter, which will probably put some noses out of joint at the other end of the M62, but they were never going to please everybody with that one.
It seems like every week I get a email about a new website that will be covering Manchester (the latest is Wow247 which asked me to pick out some fun things to do in Manchester the other day). So I doff my fedora in The Skinny's general direction for taking a chance on print in this city. Now let's all try to read the thing, shall we? Or we won't be getting another one.