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Love Lock Craze Hits Manchester... A Bit

David Blake on the Trinity Bridge padlocks

Written by . Published on July 23rd 2013.

Love Lock Craze Hits Manchester... A Bit

BACK in 2007, some author that nobody has much heard of (Federico Moccia) wrote some bestselling wet wiffy-waffy soppy teen literature sensation, Ho Voglia di Te (I Want You). It had Italian teens and young lovers sprinting for Wilkos, or whatever the Italian version of Wilkos is called – Wilkinsonizzia possibly. But why?

Confidential and Manchester (we are aware of this skin-crawling sentimentality) and the most forceful and timeless love of all – Gordo and food. He ruddy loves his grub.

Well, within the story, a young couple attach a padlock to Rome’s Milvian Bridge and symbolically throw the key into the river as a sign of their eternal love. Er. Cue locky mayhem and bridge failure.

Trinity Bridge: under attackTrinity Bridge: under attack

Italian authorities say that the love locks can damage bridges and historic attractions, not simply because of the extra weight of thousands of metal padlocks, but also that their rusting can damage stone and paintwork.

In the past few years lampposts on the Milvian Bridge became so heavy that they nearly gave way. So out came the boltcutters to the dismay of thousands of Romans and tourists alike.

On the other hand, Italy’s largest circulating daily general-interest newspaper, La Repubblica has called for strict fines and even jail terms for perpetrators. A tad draconian for a centre-left publication.

But this romantically adolescent gesture has gone global, with tens of thousands of padlocks splayed across bridges from China to Denmark, Uruguay to New Zealand, Latvia to Otley. Now the craze has begun to overwhelm Calatrava’s Trinty Bridge outside The Lowry Hotel.

Two of sixTwo of six

By overwhelm we mean there’s six of them, well eight now that we’ve had our way. Romance over the River Irwell has to yet to reach its potential.

Some online opportunists have even begun to capitalise upon the craze (tut you can’t have anything nice) selling personalised £15 locks to those lovers who just don’t feel that a cheap little Halfords jobbie truly represents the immeasurable extent of their love – only to split up a week later because of Snapchat.

You can even buy locks for your pets (I imagine Spot couldn’t give a toss either way).

We opted instead for the cheapest Wilkos £5 option – bloody cutbacks.

So off to the Trinity Bridge we popped, with a head full of Petrarch and Dante whilst whistling Adele, armed with two budget padlocks, a marker pen and a Brompton. But what to write? How do you encapsulate a passion to last the ages? Especially when you don’t have a girlfriend. Woe is me.

Confidential and Manchester (we are aware of this skin-crawling sentimentality) and the most forceful and timeless love of all – Gordo and food. He ruddy loves his grub.

Hope Mike and Sarah don't mindHope Mike and Sarah don't mind

Stepping back I soon realised that I’d forgotten to add a ‘loves’ or a heart or even a simple ampersand. I blame spacial restrictions and the size of the pen nibbin – a big black marker takes no prisoners in terms of delicacy. Mike and Sarah nearby were better at this, right nib size although less good drawing hearts. 

So there we had it. Casting the keys into the River Irwell I had cemented in time our love for this fair city and Gordo’s love of grub – casting away all of the keys however may have been a bit short-sighted, especially when Salford City Council come calling. Oh well, we’ll deal with that when it comes to it.

Admiring my work I ask a passing elderly gentleman what he thinks of this terribly charming gesture. “Waste of bloody money if you ask me,” he said. “It’s supposed to be romantic.” I implore. “I use them on my shed," he said.

Follow David Blake on twitter.

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Graeme WrightJuly 23rd 2013.

Surely a more appropriate inscription would have been 'Food 4 Gordo'

AnonymousJuly 23rd 2013.

I saw a bridge in Chester which had the beginnings of a new collection of padlocks . One was even a 'Save the Date' padlock which must've been photographed and distributed for a wedding. There's perhaps a little originality in that particular example (or probably not) but the whole thing is just a bit cringe-worthy when you know it's just copying something someone else has done many, many times over. Here's hoping love locks don't become the new Harlem Shake. Before you know it your company will have you out defacing bridges as part of a marketing campaign to sell soft drinks.

IanJuly 23rd 2013.

so ultimately a waste of taxpayers money

Poster BoyJuly 24th 2013.

Note to sub edit; "Snapchat yeah. Text, is so last year"...

LuggyFebruary 8th 2014.

Some killjoy has now removed these, manchester is no longer the city of love...

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