CITY SLICKER : MANCHESTER

To celebrate the world's first all-woman flight crew (daily BA flights from Ringway to Aberdeen), a guide to the city that last week hosted this historical event, but not, so far, the Olympics ...

Appearance: Like a school trip, caught in the rain, waiting for a nice caf to open.

Obsessions: International sporting events. The city entered two Olympic bids with artists' impressions of world-class sporting facilities that weren't built yet. The 1993 claim that Manchester in July had less rainfall than its rival, Sydney, was said to have been delivered with a straight face by theatre supremo Bob Scott, who was knighted for his achievement.

Culture: From the perms of 10cc, through the pallor of the Smiths to the pounding of Oasis, the city is infested with lads with guitars. Manchester resounds with voices urging, "Shut that bloody row! Your Dad and me are trying to watch telly." Stone Roses' new album reminds the city of the ecstatic days of "Madchester" and A&R men still pile into showcases for several bands a week at Band on the Wall and The Roadhouse. This "left field of pop" thrives only a plectrum's width from the Halle, Camerata chamber orchestra and Chetnam's, the college for unbearably talented musical prodigies.

Football team: Manchester City. United is in Salford, as City fans love to remind their rivals. Unfortunately, it's the only superiority they can lay claim to these days, with United carrying all before them and struggling City rocked by the news that Nick Leeson, least successful trader in economic history, is a City fan.

Bars: Epidemic of chrome, cool and cappuccino in "the new Bohemia". For design and Euro-chic, Atlas is the pick of a lovely new bunch of bars; Isobar, is a quiet venue for weekday board games, at the weekend the music is loud and the interior dark; Night and Day is the hangout for the louche. The city council is in favour of 24-hour licences.

Restaurants: 38 curry houses pack a 400-metre stretch of Wilmslow Road, starring the formica table bustle of the Shezan, and, opposite, the posh Shezan, which provides tablecloths at no extra cost. Tapas bars are proliferating following La Tasca, along with Chinese, Armenian, Turkish, French and Italian. Chips and gravy are still available and not to be sniffed at.

Night-clubs: Londoners come to Manchester for the clubs - music to North- west ears. Newer hotspots, Paradise and Home, doff their caps to the Hacienda, now 12 years old, fast approaching the age of its gilded clientele.

Shopping: The yellow-tiled Arndale Centre, the largest shopping mall in Europe, has struggled admirably to shrug off its nickname as the biggest public toilet in the world, but Arndalophobia (fear of not finding the exit) is still a social problem. Barton Arcade is a pavilion of exclusivity, St Ann's Square is pedestrianised for brand names and Big Issue vendors, while Affleck's Palace is part of the establishment now, supplanted for used clothing, headshops and tarot readings by the heartfelt lunacy of the Corn Exchange.

Publications of note (literary): Tourist authorities were unhappy with Friedrich Engels, who based his Condition of the Working Class in England on Redbank, a slum to rival Manchester City's Umbro Stand. Elizabeth Gaskell didn't think much more of the place in Mary Barton, while Jeff Noon based his 1993 cyberpunk novel Vurt on a "decaying post-industrial city" unrecognised by members of the Olympic Bids Committee.

Publications of note (magazines): City Life for listings of absolutely everything. In business with one hiccup since 1983, it long outlasted Manchester Flash, flash by name, nature and 12 issues in the pan. Editor Andrew Jaspan couldn't stand the pace and ended up editing the Observer.

Celebrities: Mick Hucknall, Ben Kingsley, Bernard Manning, the cast of Coronation Street, a resting French footballer, Steve Coogan, Paul Calf and his sister Pauline. For celeb-spotting, try the Novotel, any of the above bars, or Safeways in Chorlton.

Coming soon: The International Concert Hall (1996), the Victoria Arena (July this year), a second airport runway (depending on the outcome of a public inquiry), better weather (June this year for a two-week run) and the Olympics (soon).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

    £65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

    Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

    £20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

    £8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

    Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

    £14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable