What’s your name?
On my birth certificate it reads Matthew Michael Arthur Glenford Williams. Talk about inheritance…
What do you do?
I am a final year student in Photography. I’d like to say I’m a freelance photographer but I haven’t quite made it there, yet. To pay the bills I make Lattes, Cappuccinos, Mochas and various Macchiatos and so forth in a coffee shop.
Where do you live?
On the edge of the city centre, quite close to Piccadilly.
Tell us the story of how you ended up in Manchester.
I’m from London and I had the clear intention of leaving that city once I’d finished the two extra years needed to complete my Photography diploma. I applied for a BA in the same field at Portsmouth, Bournemouth, and Manchester. Manchester, because I had heard good things about the experimentation of the course; Bournemouth because it had a very successful Arts Institute; and Portsmouth because I needed a failsafe plan. It was really between Bournemouth and Manchester.
Now, Bournemouth is ‘nice’, it is a seaside town, it is quite small, it is... cute. The first time I arrived in Manchester I was purposely listening to The Smiths, and it happened to be ‘Suffer Little Children’: ‘Oh Manchester, so much to answer for…’ My first time in Manchester we pretty much hit it off. My mum’s side of the family are from Stoke so I’m very used to the Midlands, Staffordshire and the neighbouring towns this side of the country, which was all nostalgic for me, seeing the redbrick designs of the houses and mills, not to mention Stockport’s viaduct, I love that stuff. I was sold.
What’s great about this city?
Being from London you can be accustomed to obnoxiousness. I hear it time and again, ‘Oh the people are so friendly up North’, but it’s true. Yes, there are some c*nts, but that’s true of everywhere. Also in Manchester you are in a large city that allows you to be in a beautiful piece of countryside in the space of twenty minutes, even by bicycle. It’s marvellous. It also has a very unique vibe, the people, the places, the ‘spots’. No other city I have been to in England quite compares to Manchester.
What’s not so great?
It can be big enough to hide in, but let’s face facts, it isn’t that large. Seeing the same faces can be a drag. I also cannot stand the amount of glass on the roads; why is there always a street sprinkled in glass? Many a time I have had to repair a puncture. The students are probably partly to blame, I realise…
Do you have a favourite Manchester building?
I love the Beetham Tower. Okay that’s a lie. It is unique but it’s over the top and irrelevant. Wait, no, it has one nice purpose, coming in off the M62 or the M56 you can see it, and go ‘Oh look, there’s Manchester!’ I really love Smithfield Market Hall, I wish someone would do something grand to it. There is also Victoria Mill, it’s beautiful and I think what makes it more beautiful is the odd location, and what has happened to it. It’s like a library or a day centre I think.
Do you have a favourite Mancunian?
She is known as ‘crazy bus lady’ [aka‘The Magic Bus Lady’] but she isn’t that crazy. I like her, she boosts my ego when I talk to her, saying how tall and dashing I am. Therefore, she is my favourite. Her bags are so heavy (I have lifted some) and she does the 142 journey perhaps five times a day. On her fifth journey she’ll still look as glamorous as she did on her first. That’s stamina.
What’s your favourite pub/bar/club/restuarant/park/venue?
Bollox at Legends is my immediate nominee for a club/venue; to be simplistic, it’s perfect. Clayton Nature Reserve (known as Clayton Vale on Google maps) is another place that again is perfect. You are practically in the countryside in the city.
What do you think is missing from Manchester?
Harrods, or maybe a Palace so the Queen can visit. Imagine the Queen in the Northern Quarter, she’d love it.
If I was Mayor for a day I would...
Ignore the current financial problems and declare a day off so people can be free and enjoy the remaining good things on this Earth and hope that they just didn’t spend the time on the internet; that is not being free.
Who else would you like to nominate to answer this questionnaire?