Written by: Nana Ansah

Dearest Manchester,

My love, my second home, soon we will be parting ways. As I move down south and you remain here, three hours away, I am reminiscing on all that I love about you…

Like the way you champion the little guy.

The Northern Quarter is the truest testament to this. Independent businesses, cafe’s, bars, restaurants, arts and culture venues, dance studios and whatever else your heart desires, are scattered across you like stars. Championing small business in a world full of giants, and giving someone the chance to turn their dreams into reality. You are home to dreamers.

It breaks my heart to think that I may never see another V-revs, Common, HOME, Bodybarre, Studio 25 or Chapter 1 again. There will be similar places, but they won’t be like you.

The way you pick yourself up, and everyone supports one another like family.

Manchester is a place where people walk down the street and stop to chat with Dan who is rough sleeping, like he’s a real person and not a ghost.

Where the girl opposite you on the bus just gave a rough sleeper her keys so he could go to her flat, again, whilst she was out.

Where a man reaches in his pockets and pulls together whatever he has spare to give, when he himself doesn’t have a lot.

The sense of community you have here I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to replicate. Although many do not have a physical roof, you provide a home.

When others sought to divide and conquer, through tragic events in our Arena, you came together stronger.

The overwhelming sense of love and family I felt when everyone passionately sang ‘Don’t look back in anger’… our song.

The history you have.

So many defining moments and people came from right here (natives or those adopted by the city). They went on to shape not only our little corner of the world but the entire thing.

From political activists like Moss Side’s Emmeline Pankhurst to Iconic musicians Morrissey and The Smiths. The ever so entertaining Gallagher Brothers, and academic geniuses instrumental in the war efforts such as Manchester University’s own Alan Turing.

Their names and faces are honoured around the city like our own private family album.

The music.

Speaking of music, it’s not just in your history, it still pulses through your blood. The list of venues spans the length of my arms.

From little Jazz clubs to monumental shows in the Arena. There is something for everyone, from the fans of the obscure to those more mainstream.

To have three large venues right here in the heart of OUR Oxford Road, in OUR Student Union. A road that is crowded with students late to lectures and magic buses rolling past like toy trains on a track, becomes a whole new world at night, lined with the palpable anticipation of gig-goers. The McDonald’s a hub for their post-gig comedowns.

I’ll always kick myself about missing Billie Eillish.

The way you made things accessible and allowed me to follow my passion.

When I saw that cinema tickets were £5 and that the bus was £1.50, regardless of your age, I thought I was dreaming.

Back home, and what seems like the rest of the country, to go to the cinema requires you to take out a mortgage on a semi-detached house. Your affordable tickets allowed me, and many others, to participate in something I love a lot more often than I could elsewhere.

Don’t get me started on the transport, oh I’ll dearly miss you. The ‘Wilmslow Road bus corridor’ is not thought to be the busiest in Europe for no reason. Yes, it’ll always sting that when you need a bus, the wait feels like forever, but as soon as you’re just walking by 30 seem to pull up, but I’ll take that over the once every 30 minutes schedule I’m used to.

I’m going to stop here, or else I’ll convince myself never to leave. The list could go on endlessly and there’s so much I want to thank you for, but just know that whenever the clouds part and the rain begins to pour down, I’ll think of you.

Curled up, with my head by the window I’ll turn to whoever’s near and say fondly:

‘It always used to rain in Manchester’…

Love, Nana

Original article: https://studentnews.manchester.ac.uk/2020/02/12/a-love-letter-to-manchester/

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