The Senses of Manchester: SOUND

Resize Tannoy

October 22, 2012 in A WONDROUS SPACE, MANCHESTER, Wondrous Cities

Is this on? Is it my turn now?

Yes. Yes it is.  Hello from Manchester!

Unlike a few of my fellow Wondrous Placers from previous weeks, I have not moved to my city from elsewhere.  I did not choose it. I was born here, and despite some attempts I have never fully escaped for any great length of time. And it really is a Wondrous Place, despite my escape attempts. It’s a place I have immense love and hate for.  It’s a place that stimulates all of your senses. Which is very lucky, as my posts are all linked by the five senses. Phew!

I always liked the Sensory homunculus. It looked a bit like this:











Yes, I added a Mancunian twist. You can choose a different famous Mancunian face if you like. I’m not precious like that.

Somewhat surprisingly for someone who writes and draws what might be loosely described as a music blog, when I talk about the Sound of Manchester it’s not the bands or the tunes that I think define the sounds of city. There’ll be no eulogising about the same old bands, or name dropping new ones in this post.

I hear the sighs of relief. Yay!
(And those of exasperation too. Sorry!).

Manchester is the sound of differing accents.

I’m not just talking about the amazing diversity of cultures and races within Manchester. No, what I mean here is the accents of locals from North Manchester, East Manchester, South Manchester. All different (Don’t bring West Manchester into it though. That’s Salford, home of the Salfordian Clan, fiercely proud of their own city, and they don’t like to be confused with us Mancs).

And it brings about the debate about what to call Chip Sandwich from a Chippy (In case you’re wondering, the proper answer is “Chip Barm”).

Really. Don’t shake your head.

I grew up in South Manchester. Despite spending the last 8 years living in East Manchester (about as far as you can go east and for it still to be Manchester, before you drop the edge of the earth – because no one really believes Tameside actually exists, do they? It’s a story made up to scare young children), I still get accused of being a “Posh Manc”. In fact, as a girl from London whom I met recently put it:  “Are you sure you’re from Manchester? I can understand what you’re saying.” That surely ranks as one of the most absurdly back handed compliments ever.

What else? Well…

Manchester sounds like someone putting their hands over the ears and shouting “la la la la la la la la la I can’t hear you la la la la la” any time anyone says that there is a better city anywhere else, ever. It is an annoying trait, but I’ll admit to it doing it sometimes if the City is criticised by non-Mancs (even if I agree with them).

Manchester sounds like planes taking off. My parents used to take my brother and I to Manchester Airport when were were young, just to watch. Maybe have a cake. I liked the old dangling chandeliers in Terminal one. They looked like a giant had had a massive cold and that was what had fallen out of his nose.

My Grandad was one of the people who installed them, you know. And he made the lovely old wooden bar at the Briton’s Protection pub too.

Manchester sounds like hundreds of tannoys following you down the street, poking you in the back and then screaming in your face “Metrolink apologies that there is a delay of at least 12 minutes”. (See the image at the top of this post) It’s a strangely reassuring noise, and something that will always remind me of home.

Manchester sounds like the broken 3 stringed guitar of the Market Street busker who changed his name by deed poll to Marc Bolan. I miss him.

Manchester sounds like my City. Because it is.


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Pete Collins

"I'm a socially awkward Mancunian, drawer of what could loosely be described as a music blog: 'Having A Party Without Me', bass player for Flange Circus and Belgiophile."We think 'Having A Party Without Me' is brilliant. We think you will too - find it at