Earlier this year some guy (because he doesn’t deserve to be known as anything else) blew himself up outside the Manchester arena and unfortunately killed 22 and seriously injured several others including children. The youngest of those killed was just 8 years old.
What happened next seemed to shock the world.
Manchester opened its doors.
Yes we laid tributes and held vigils and even a concert for those that were fallen but it wasn’t all that we did. We opened up our homes to those in need of help whether that was a bed for the night, somewhere to charge your phone or even just handing out that good old fashioned british cup of tea.
Manchester taxis rallied together and took those in need of transportation home FOR FREE. They weren’t told or even asked to do this.
Local hotels looked after groups of stranded teeneagers until they could be safely reunited with family.
Emergency service staff turned up to work even if they were not on shift. Hell, one of manchester’s homeless was one of the first on the scene to help anyway he could. The world seemed stunned that we responded with this outpouring of love, kindness and neighbourlyness.
That is just how we are up here in’t North.
The weather can be harsh and the government takes us for granted so we learnt a long time ago to stick together. Yes we’ve had rough times but who hasn’t. Like family we all fall out every now and again but if someone else even dares threaten us, let alone actually attack us, well, then you will see just how strong we are.
It may be “grim up north” but the people certainly are not.
As Tony Wilson once said, “Manchester, we do things differently here.”
I could try and sum up this place I call home and all the people in it but somebody has already so eloquently done it. While Oasis’ don’t look back in anger has become an almost iconic defiance anthem to that attack, for me it is the spoken words of the Manchester Poet, Tony Walsh, that perfectly define this city and its people.
Below is a video that Dane Bayley has created that help frame the words of Tony Walsh’s poem This is the place.
I have included the words as well.
This is the Place
This is the place
In the north-west of England. It’s ace, it’s the best
And the songs that we sing from the stands, from our bands
Set the whole planet shaking.
Our inventions are legends. There’s nowt we can’t make, and so we make brilliant music
We make brilliant bands
We make goals that make souls leap from seats in the stands
And we make things from steel
And we make things from cotton
And we make people laugh, take the mick summat rotten
And we make you at home
And we make you feel welcome and we make summat happen
And we can’t seem to help it
And if you’re looking from history, then yeah we’ve a wealth
ut the Manchester way is to make it yourself.
And make us a record, a new number one
And make us a brew while you’re up, love, go on
And make us feel proud that you’re winning the league
And make us sing louder and make us believe that this is the place that has helped shape the world
And this is the place where a Manchester girl named Emmeline Pankhurst from the streets of Moss Side led a suffragette city with sisterhood pride
And this is the place with appliance of science, we’re on it, atomic, we struck with defiance, and in the face of a challenge, we always stand tall, Mancunians, in union, delivered it all
Such as housing and libraries and health, education and unions and co-ops and first railway stations
So we’re sorry, bear with us, we invented commuters. But we hope you forgive us, we invented computers.
And this is the place Henry Rice strolled with rolls, and we’ve rocked and we’ve rolled with our own northern soul
And so this is the place to do business then dance, where go-getters and goal-setters know they’ve a chance
And this is the place where we first played as kids. And me mum, lived and died here, she loved it, she did.
And this is the place where our folks came to work, where they struggled in puddles, they hurt in the dirt and they built us a city, they built us these towns and they coughed on the cobbles to the deafening sound to the steaming machines and the screaming of slaves, they were scheming for greatness, they dreamed to their graves.
And they left us a spirit. They left us a vibe. That Mancunian way to survive and to thrive and to work and to build, to connect, and create and Greater Manchester’s greatness is keeping it great.
And so this is the place now with kids of our own. Some are born here, some drawn here, but they all call it home.
And they’ve covered the cobbles, but they’ll never defeat, all the dreamers and schemers who still teem through these streets.
Because this is a place that has been through some hard times: oppressions, recessions, depressions, and dark times.
But we keep fighting back with Greater Manchester spirit. Northern grit, Northern wit, and Greater Manchester’s lyrics.
And these hard times again, in these streets of our city, but we won’t take defeat and we don’t want your pity.
Because this is a place where we stand strong together, with a smile on our face, greater Manchester forever.
And we’ve got this place where a team with a dream can get funding and something to help with a scheme.
Because this is a place that understands your grand plans. We don’t do “no can do” we just stress “yes we can”
Forever Manchester’s a charity for people round here, you can fundraise, donate, you can be a volunteer. You can live local, give local, we can honestly say, we do charity different, that Mancunian way.
And we fund local kids, and we fund local teams. We support local dreamers to work for their dreams. We support local groups and the great work they do. So can you help us. help local people like you?
Because this is the place in our hearts, in our homes, because this is the place that’s a part of our bones.
Because Greater Manchester gives us such strength from the fact that this is the place, we should give something back.
Always remember, never forget, forever Manchester.
Yes the things in a place are a good enough reason to visit a place but it’s the people that make it worth calling home. It’s the people that make you want to return to a place, that make you feel like you really got to know a place. Without the people a place is nothing and Manchester, well Manchester has some awesome people. I’m not just talking about the famous ones either. The ordinary people. Like you and me. Come visit us and see for yourself becuase just like Tony said
this is the place!
Until next time
Other posts in the Manchester like a local series include;