Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Born to the vicinity of Manchester, I have been a local to the fine city all of my life. Originally a shy boy in my childhood, I grew into a skin of my own and became fascinated with discovery. Once at the point of higher education I began to blossom, and this at the point I developed my love of music, art and travel.
I then went on to take up Lomography and somehow was named the 10th best Lomographer twice in 2002 and 2004 in their congress trips in Vienna and Beijing respectively. What a lucky boy I was.
In the dividing years I have been known to co-run club nights and DJ in various venues across Manchester and have been involved in some era defining genres of music. I feel privileged to have been taken on the ride of a lifetime.
I also love great shoes, special edition record sleeves, books that I buy and never read, riding bikes up very steep hills and games of Scrabble. Not at the same time, obviously.
How do you like being a Spotter?
I love being a Spotter! I used to spend my days wandering aimlessly and not paying attention to my surroundings, but I always know where to pull little facts and findings from when it comes to tourists. Being a Spotter makes me really think about my favourite areas and things about Manchester and I become very passionate about it. If you ever meet me I talk a lot with my hands and when it is something I really love I can become a bit of a windmill. Spotted by Locals just brings this side out of me even more than usual.
Why Manchester? What is a must do when you visiting Manchester? What is not
Manchester is a city I have spent all my life in and it is a place close to my heart. It is what makes me who I am. The city has a way of making you who you are and the people also make it the place that it is. Without the people this city would be a totally different place. It breathes individuality and charisma. Anyone from Manchester will speak passionately about it, and it doesn’t matter where you are in the world when that person speaks to you about it. We are the creative hub of the North, we are the sporting capital of the UK, and we are the pioneers of the modern world. Fact.
There isn’t anything specific that I would go to see while in Manchester as I like to discover things while walking, but I love to look up as my town is a beautiful in an architectural way. Keep your eyes skyward and you will discover hidden gems sticking out from every angle.
Which prejudices about Manchester are true? Which ones are not?
It always rains in Manchester. Not quite, but the amount of rain we get makes it look beautiful and green. The actress Chloë Sevigny recently said that when she spent three months in Manchester whilst filming there was not a dry day. It maybe is true, but it’s what makes the city and the people. It makes people stay indoors and create the most amazing music, literature and other creative things.
What do you know about Manchester what no tourist will know?
The number 42 bus is the busiest bus route in Western Europe. A bus every 30 seconds is just crazy, but fantastic when you want to be somewhere in a hurry!
What is the most popular neighbourhood to live in Manchester at this moment?
I would say that Chorlton is the coolest place to live at the moment. It’s full of every group of people. You have students, old folk and the young professional families all on the same streets. There are great pubs, restaurants as well as good routes in to and out of the city via cycle routes, bus and the new tram stop. If you are in a band, this is the place to be seen sipping on your latte or having a pint of continental lager. And it is even better that most of the town revolves around one main junction. Be there or be square.
Can you describe a perfect day in your city?
My perfect day would consist of being a perpetual dawdler. I tend to wander, look up at buildings, discover exciting back alleys and procrastinate on where to have lunch and a drink. I would start from Piccadilly train station and head down towards Dale Street (pictured above) to get away from the main pavement and road traffic. Then I would have a walk around the Northern Quarter and window shop at the Lomography Shop and Piccadilly Records. I would then head along Thomas Street and maybe pop in for a drink in one of the many great drinking establishments (Marble, Odd, Common). Odd is also a good stop off for a bite to eat. After being refreshed I would head north towards Ancoats and all the adjoining streets to take in the architecture of the old Victorian mills. Then I would head back through the Northern Quarter and head down to the Cathedral, taking a leisurely walk the full length of Deansgate, which is a perfect stop for dinner at Dimitris. Another couple of drinks around the Castlefield area (Cask (pictured below), Ox, Dukes 92) and then a slow walk back to the train station past the railway arches and some of Manchester’s best architecture down Whitworth Street. That is my perfect day.
Is there something else you want to share?
Come to Manchester to feel the history and walk away with a feeling of discovery. Discovery of the city and discovery of yourself.