It seems that wherever I look there are constant reminders that time is marching on and I am getting old. It is a weird feeling because technically I am not old. Being 33 isn’t old, is it? But with technology moving on at the rate that is, the political landscape changing most dramatically and the entertainment industry marketing nostalgia, it is easy to look back rather than forward.
I took a trip out to Altrincham this week while I had some downtime. To get from my house, which is located in a town north of Manchester, to Altrincham I have to travel across the city centre. Due to not being on the clock, needing to be at a certain place for a certain time, I could stroll through the city and take it all in.
I have worked, lived and been educated in and around Manchester city centre. As well as my home town that is within Greater Manchester, I would call the city centre, home. I know the city centre like the back of my hand and have some fond memories.
Manchester has changed dramatically during my time as an adult. I remember when Manchester was cold and uninviting, unable to transition from a northern industrial powerhouse to a home for services, banking and the BBC that it is today.
I remember my uncle taking me to Old Trafford and Maine Road and telling me to make a choice. I remember 1 skyscraper, derelict old mills, gas works, terraced houses, limited luxury apartments, taking my first trip on the tram with my grandfather, my first concert, my first football match, seeing the Champions League trophy during a parade on Deansgate, my first ice hockey match, the smell of Boddingtons brewery, parking next to Strangeways due to piss take parking prices, school trips, college trips, university enrolment, the last bus home, my first art gallery visit, shopping, eating, drinking with friends and family, laughing in the city.
Manchester has been the backdrop, the setting for the majority of my life. Since I left my last job in the City I haven’t had to travel every day. In those intervening years, Manchester has changed and grown dramatically. It is without a doubt that these changes have been for the better. Economically the city has reclaimed its status a northern powerhouse. There are more opportunities for the young, more job prospects, improved public services that have expanded out from the city to the rest of the towns in Greater Manchester.
But a little bit of me wishes we could go back to the way things were. When this was my City, my home, my sanctuary. No longer does this city resemble the back of my hand. Manchester is more like a distant relative you haven’t seen in 30 years, you still recognise them but due to the time you have been apart, they’re unfamiliar, not the person you once knew.
Till the next reboot…