A Year on the Manchester Music Scene

A Year on the Manchester Music Scene

by Louie Shelley

Foreword by Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley

These are the collected writings of a freelance journalist who was commentating on the city’s music and cultural scene up to the year 2000. Some of these articles were written for Manchester titles – yet some of them were written for national papers who seemed to welcome the opportunity to have a freelance contributor covering the north west arts scene.

Culturally the city was thriving. It was still in the process of being rebuilt, physically and spiritually, after the IRA bombing in 1996; however, it had not yet fully succumbed to the dubious ‘improvements’ that have been inflicted on the city since then: the rasing or reconstructing of many of the metropolis’s Victorian landmarks and the proliferation of chrome and glass on the municipality’s radial routes which are billed as ‘City Edge Living’.

Of course, Manchester’s not the only place that’s changed. As they say, ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.’ We live in a world where things are disposable, commodified, commercialised and slick; where people shop for things they don’t want then have to rent storage to accommodate them; where there is an internationally-branded coffee shop on every corner and where people endlessly consume. Manchester – with its Selfridges, MEN Arena and O2-branded Apollo – has fallen victim to these developments as much as anywhere else. The summer of 2000 was only a few years ago but already it seems as though we have complications that we didn’t have then.
Looking back at these writings, they form a snapshot of a particular place and time: a specific moment in regional cultural history which can never be repeated.

It’s a great city, and it was a great year.

(c) Louie Shelley, 2014

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