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Manchester comes 20th

City ‘Beatle-ised’ on the New York Times top 41 places to see in 2011

Published on January 11th 2011.


Manchester comes 20th

Hyderabad in India is preferable but Tallinn in Estonia not so good. Santiago in Chile is top of the tree and Miami 41st on the list.

It’s nice to be talked about in any way internationally but good tourism is about a good mix. To be thought of as simply the city of The Hacienda, The Smiths and The Stone Roses is in the end dull. We’re bigger, better, culturally richer, than merely that.

London bloody beats us but Singapore, Zanzibar and Dresden don’t match up. Many of the locations are included because of something fresh blowing in on the global economic wind: new hotels being built, cultural landmarks scooting into the sky or sparkly fashion districts coming into their own. The London entry is all about the changes being wrought by the 2012 Olympics.

So why has Manchester attracted the attention of the Yankee Doodle Dandy Times? Because we’ve been Beatle-ised, that's why. This may be bad news for many of us.

Charly Wilder of the NYT has described us thus:
‘The cold and gritty factory city that famously inspired the post-industrial anguish of bands like Joy Division and the Smiths has transformed into a thriving cultural hub. Several new music venues are cashing in on ‘Madchester’ nostalgia, including FAC251, an indie-music club that opened in February in the old Factory Records building. The owners of the popular Trof cafe, which bills itself as a “dandyish den of opulence,” recently opened a new multiplatform cultural venue called the Deaf Institute. An industrial city reinvents its famed musical past. For those who want a taste of the city’s favorite depressive sons.’

Now it’s lovely to make that New York Times list but at Confidential we’re not sure about the description. Leaving aside the use of a geological timescale and calling the three year old Deaf Institute ‘new’, this paragraph is all about those bands of thirty years ago and a long gone scene.

Manchester's defining moment

The NYT has in effect fossilised us. They’ve turned a brief if noble period of pop grandeur into a permanent tombstone casting a shadow over Manchester’s lively, contemporary music.

Truth is, the music never stops and the city is presently chocker with bands and music such as Hurts, Delphic, Danny Mahon, The Jessie Rose Trip, Kid British, Modern Alarms, Janice Graham Band, Where’s Strutter and so on.

Of course these new acts may not be of the calibre of the previous bands – time will tell. More importantly they can’t be lumped together as a scene, reflecting a ‘moment’ in a city’s life, distinctive and different, defining the mood of the place, catching its spirit. 2011 is very different from 1982, less localised, turned global through digital magic.

Given that much of Manchester’s late seventies to early nineties music can be compartmentalised as a post-industrial reaction makes Mr Wilder’s job easier – although his entry may also simply reflect a generational prejudice in his musical tastes.

Yet from the inside, from Manchester looking out, the NYT entry is frustrating. It’s nice to be talked about in any way internationally but good tourism is about a good mix. To be thought of as simply the city of the Hacienda, The Smiths and The Stone Roses is in the end dull. We’re bigger, better, culturally richer, than merely that.

Number twenty

So at Manchester Confidential we have a plan. We’re going to counter that mono-culture image in a couple of weeks with our top 41 Greater Manchester things to see and do in 2011.

This will be about more, much more, than just music and for that matter, football, although they will be included. We hope to surprise readers, take you places you’ve not been before – all on your own doorstep.

Santiago, Chile, top of the tree

The New York Times top 41 places to see

1. Santiago, Chile
2. San Juan Islands
3. Koh Samui, Thailand
4. Iceland
5. Milan
6. Republic of Georgia
7. London
8. Loreto, Mexico
9. Park City, Utah
10. Cali, Colombia
11. The Danube
12. Niseko, Japan
13. Oahu
14. Antwerp, Belgium
15. Melbourne, Australia
16. Tlemcen, Algeria
17. Sopot and Gdansk, Poland
18. Erzurum, Turkey
19. Hyderabad, India
20. Manchester, England
21. Tallinn, Estonia
22. Fogo Island, Newfoundland

23. Singapore
24. Port Ghalib, Egypt
25. Whistler, British Columbia
26. GuimarĂ£es, Portugal
27. Olympic Park, Wash
28. Dresden, Germany
29. Oualidia, Morocco
30. Zanzibar
31. Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
32. Tozeur, Tunisia
33. Hangzhou, China
34. Iraqi Kurdistan
35. Durham, N.C.
36. Kosovo
37. Pingyao, China
38. Salonika, Greece
39. Okinawa, Japan
40. Budapest
41. MiamiClick here for the full article.

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

AtalantaJanuary 10th 2011.

Glad you set the record straight on this... ;)

AnonymousJanuary 10th 2011.

I bet people in Miami are pleased that the author opted for a top 41 places to visit instead of a more round-numbered and usual top 40.

James11364January 11th 2011.

It's the quaint streets of Ole Manchester as W Hotels said but they are not coming! Gone West I believe cos they lost their Origin.

NutsJanuary 12th 2011.

Ibiffa not on the list? You clearly haven't lived...

Anon TooJanuary 12th 2011.

It's not a ranked list though is it? It's just 41 places to see.

I love Manchester but it doesn't beat Miami.

andydoorJanuary 13th 2011.

I love Manchester and think we should be higer on the list! and carnt belive that London Village beat us! they must have bribed the panel!! Zanzibar should be higher also.

SiriusSnapeJanuary 14th 2011.

It's like Anon Too says, this isn't a ranked list. Read the original article. We're on a par with all the other cities/destinations listed. And so we jolly well should be.

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