Opinions: Is it grim up north?

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Indy Lifestyle Online
FIONA COOPER, novelist (born in Bristol, lives in Newcastle): Grim it ain't.

I'm a rosy-spectacled adopted Geordie. People talk to you here. In London if anybody talks to you, you think 'Oh God, it's the Royal Free Hospital's turning-out day.'

CHRISTOPHER MAYFIELD, bishop of Manchester (born in Plymouth, lives in Salford): Poverty in the north is grim and solutions are difficult to find.

Manchester has all the difficulties of mass urbanisation. But the scenery is marvellous, and the people are astonishingly creative and inventive and amongst the friendliest I have ever met.

JO SMITH, film-maker (born in Leicestershire, lives in London): Yes it is.

It's a total lie that they're the friendliest people. I've spent a lot of time in Manchester, which I hate - people there have a pride in being stoic and a miserable sense of humour and a strange sense of enjoying displeasure.

JANE LESTER, housewife (born in Brighton, lives in Reading): It's definitely grim in Manchester - kind of grey and arctic, with long ugly streets lined with mean, poky, dusty little shops. They make a huge fuss about how good the fish and chips are up north, then smother them in revolting, gooey, mushy peas.

CARLA LANE, author (born in Liverpool, lives in Sussex): You can't say that the north is grim, it's an intriguing place. Give me northern people any day. Southerners are spoiled rotten.

MARK NORMAN, BBC radio producer (born in Barnet, lives in Herts): When the north is good it is very good, but when it is poor it is very, very poor. I cannot envisage spending more than half an hour in Middlesbrough without committing suicide. People from the North-east have this real chip on their shoulder about shandy-drinking southern puffters born with silver spoons in their mouths.

JANE McGUINNESS, receptionist (born and lives in Manchester): It's not as grim as London - at least we don't have people living in cardboard boxes up here. If I won the pools I'd move abroad, I wouldn't move down south.

CAROLINE BENEDICT, florist (born in Staplehurst, Kent, lives in Sussex): Yes it is. My boyfriend is a Scouser though, so there are exceptions. I pass through on the train and I don't really look out of the window, it's just too depressing.

STU ALLAN, Manchester Radio DJ (born in Anglesey, lives in Manchester): Every time I go down to London it's raining. It's a damn sight cheaper to buy a house up here, too.

DUSTY GEDGE, circus performer (born and lives in London): It's not grim up north - it's grand up North. The only place which is grim in England is Birmingham.

(Photograph omitted)

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