So when Howard Jacobson asks us to forgive him if he sounds prim because Manchester is his town and he liked it the way it used to be, I'd really like to know how long ago that was.
In my experience Manchester city centre - and I'm not just talking about the bit the IRA bombed - used to be really grotty. You would come out of Piccadilly station and all you would see for miles was derelict buildings. You could then walk down to the the dangerous-looking bus station, get a bus in any direction and all you would see were more derelict buildings. Oh and the Arndale Centre.
To my mind, the change to the centre of Manchester is quite stunning - all the shells of buildings have either gone or been turned into something marvellous.
Someone from Miles Platting or Fallowfield shouting "watch where you're going with that, you twat" when one is having problems with an umbrella is not, in my experience, a regular occurrence.
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