Monday, August 05, 2002

Commonwealth or Just Plain Common

So the Commonwealth Games have finished. I shouldn't be cynical, after all I do not match the abilities of any of the athletes that competed, so irrespective of where they finished, they are each and every one of them worthy in their own way of my respect.

However, today on the news I seem to have been bombarded by Manchester City Councillors and associated PR people telling us that this is only one facet of Manchester and that people will have loved their time in the City so much that it is likely that they will return again and again. All this is because Manchester is (allegedly) a live, vibrant and happening place, with lots to see and do.


Is this the same Manchester that I lived in for 5 years? The same Manchester that I was visiting a couple of weekends ago?

I assume it must be because the place I was visiting was filled with people wearing "official" games t-shirts, and there were posters showing the sports all over the place, so I know I was in the same city as the games. It's just the vibrant and happening bit I don't get. You see the Manchester I was visiting is dying on it's feet. The main shopping mall (The Arndale Centre) while trying to promote itself as a high class place to shop is half empty and the shops that are there are little more than glorified market stalls. Even the Warner Brothers store is the clearance branch. Everywhere you go in the city centre there are shops boarded up, and being left to fall in the disrepair and dereliction. One of the main (high quality) department stores has closed completely and its premises have now been taken over by T.K.Maxx and Primark who are the bargin basement end of retail. The centre is being developed with modern blocks of luxury flats that most Mancunians cannot afford. Did I say dying?

The patient is dead and the corpse is beginning to smell.

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