Its official Manchester is a better place to live than London. No surprise to Mancunians , now we’re the top destination for weekend breaks in the UK after London. Yes many of us have lived in London and enjoyed it’s hospitality and shuddered in horror at the price of a pint or item in a shop ( often prompting me to gasp – at least Dick Turpin wore a mask). As for living in London, its how deep are your pockets .I’ve paid through the nose to rent in leafy St John’s Wood, had a fantastic pad in Maida Vale even nearly bought a place down there , until the grasping estate agent told me the price and I told him I wouldn’t pay that for the whole street. I lived the highlife down there with plenty of money in my pocket – it was boring. The people were grumpy and miserable and everything seemed to shut early unless you could afford to pay an extortionate membership to drink in some poncey private members club. Londoners have to pay to park outside their own homes and pay a tenner to drive into the City centre and hardly anyone there speaks English any more. In London when people do talk to you the first question is ‘What do you do for a living’, a Mancunian would consider that a rude thing to ask a stranger as well as a bit dull and Londoners only ever seem to talk about work. Move to Manchester and it won’t be very long until you are comfortable in its warm cosmopolitan embrace. Manchester has a rich cultural history , Rolls Royce was started here , the Football League was founded here as was the chartist movement , women’s liberation ( Emily Pankhurst), The University invented the worlds first programmable Computer, Rutherford split the atom ( nuclear energy) and we had the world’s first railway line going all the way to Liverpool, we needed a port but were 35 miles from the sea , so we dug the Ship canal and became the third biggest trading port in Britain, even the iconic TV show Top Of The Pops came from Manchester ;Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones spent 45 minutes with me in New York 15 years ago bemoaning the fact that they moved Top Of The Pops from Manchester to London and ruined it. In fact the only two British nightclubs to ever win the accolade best nightclub in the world in American Billboard magazine were Wigan Casino in 1978 and The Hacienda in 1989, both in Greater Manchester.
London offers high culture , buildings , museums , theatres etc , but if you’re a Londoner when was the last time you went to an art gallery or to see an opera, and we do offer all those things in Manchester too .When was the last time as a Londoner you walked into a pub and ordered a pint of Bitter and got change of two quid or ordered a pub lunch and got change of a fiver. Well for me it was last week and there are drinks offers galore in Manchester every night of the week as it caters for the biggest student population in Western Europe and every night of the week there are clubs and bars with different sorts of music and live bands , from reggae to Northern Soul and the best home-grown talent in the world , and there’s always somewhere open as late as you want to stay out any night of the week. Musically we’re the music capital of Europe. Even back in 1965 Manchester Bands topped the USA billboard charts for six consecutive weeks with one week in April of that year seeing Manchester bands at occupy all three top positions on the USA chart and Herman’s Hermits outsold The Beatles , our music scene stretches way back. If you’re not into nightlife, great shopping and having friendly strangers talking to you, a 45 minute drive and you can be nestled in the wilds of the Peak District, 45 minutes north towards Burnley and you’ve got the beauty of the Lancashire countryside and Pendle Hill , an hour North East and it’s the Yorkshire Dales , an hour and a half northwards and you’re in the Lake District , an hour West and your in North Wales and Snowdonia. Oh and for weather buffs, statistically we get one inch of rain a year more than Brighton.
Manchester has the most famous football team in the world and the richest club who modestly reject success despite their untold wealth. Admittedly life might be tricky for our footballers as there aren’t that many 5 star hotels so they’re likely to be caught if they are playing away with some model – but then Mancunians are less likely to grass you ( very frowned upon up here). Manchester is maverick , modern and forward thinking. As Ian Brown of The Stone Roses said back in 1989 – the only way Manchester could be better is if it had a beach.