Wednesday, 30 April 2008

In m–my beautiful neighbourhood …

The bit of Manchester I consider the ‘neighbourhood’ is small, but since you can maybe walk across the whole city in half an hour I shouldn’t be greedy with my coverage. To my reckoning, nay, my specifications, the neighbourhood stretches east to the end of Whitworth Street, taking in Legends (once the Twisted Wheel) and the majestic London Road fire station (monkey’s favourite building in Manchester), then over the road to the back of Piccadilly Station (and if I am feeling greedy, a little further to the Star and Garter).

North is a little way up Princess Street past my friends’ Kirsty and Keith’s flat where they reside with their gorgeous city kittens Eric and Bo, up to the junction with Mosley Street where Koh Samui (excellent Thai restaurant) sits on your left and the City Gallery sits on your right.

Up west from my front door is, surprisingly, Whitworth Street West, to Great Marlborough Street where my sister lives, and The Ritz where The Smiths and countless others have gigged.

South is down Oxford Road, past the BBC, taking in Odder, Kro 2, 8th Day and, behind that, the Sugden Sports Centre, aka ‘the gym’.

I am happy here in this little island. I have two parks (Sackville and All Saints), an indie cinema, a supermarket, gay pubs, straight pubs, two train stations and food from around the world. It ain’t bad.

My flat is inside the labyrinthine Grade II, 102 year old Lancaster House, a building I had fantasised about living in for ages. Don’t imagine I own though, no no, I’m one of the down-at-heel rental neighbours bringing ‘character’ to the place. It’s having a facelift for the summer so is sadly about to be hidden by scaffolding (the tips have just reached my window). It’s not easy looking this good at her age. If you check the link you’ll see the big round windows belonging to my flat, four floors up (‘Four floors up on the Charing Cross road and never a job at the top of them’, says Uncle Monty). From here I can see the CIS, Portland and Piccadilly towers, the Minshull Street Courts, the Town Hall and the splendid mill chimney directly opposite, whose name and origins I have yet to find out but I will, I will. Yesterday there was a man right on the top hanging off a little platform. It must also be having a spring clean. I spend lots of time hanging out of my window and nobody ever looks up.

Soundtrack: Space singles, The Concretes

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