When I wrote, from my own jaundiced viewpoint, that Manchester had a greater claim to beEngland’s second city than Birmingham, I was braced to expect a torrent of missives from angry Brummies.
“The one claim to fame Manchester has is Manchester United,” wrote Stan Nevett. “And that’s largely thanks to two Scotsmen.” (Ignoring the fact that there are in fact two outstanding football teams in Manchester - that’s City and City Reserves, in case you didn’t know - Stan has a point. I met a woman in Germany many years ago who thought there was a city in England called Manchester United!)
He goes on to laud Birmingham’s contribution to culture, and, alongside Tolkien and Simon Rattle, lists such giants of our cultural heritage as DuranDuran, Frank Skinner and Slade. “Unlike Liverpool, Newcastle etc,” he concludes, “we don’t keep telling everyone how great or funny we are.”
Martin Waldron was another who didn’t want to say how great Brummies were. He added Black Sabbath, Julie Walters and “half of Led Zeppelin” to the list of cultural icons, before ending with a sideswipe at me. “Some of us are proud enough to still live in our city of birth!” Ouch.
He said he was so annoyed by my comments that he vowed never to buy i again. So, to Martin, and to all the other indignant Brummies who wrote in, I’d like to say this: I’m very fond of Birmingham, I like your canals, I love your museums, I’m even quite partial to your ring roads. And as i is a model of impartiality, the fact that I have a Mancunian bias will not in any way, not ever, affect our editorial integrity. Of course not! Have a good weekend, wherever you live.