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Manchester- Not So Grim Up North? ::

Reported by Olly @ Trackitdown on February 19, 2007

A new poll ranking England’s most important cities placed Manchester above Birmingham, the BBC reported this week, despite Birmingham having almost three times the population (London came first).

The BBC said Manchester’s music scene was one of the key factors influencing the 1,000 people polled, and were enthusiastically backed by Mancunian in Berlin A Guy Called Gerald.

“Manchester is probably the friendliest place on the planet. There is no other city in the UK that you could call a true melting pot of cultures like Manchester,” said Gerald.

“It might seem strange in this day and age but some people I know in Berlin are surprised how relaxed I am around white people. I think the generation before me in Manchester had no choice but to get on with each other because basically everybody was in the same boat. Nobody had any money, they were all living in council property -all had the same bath, the same sink, the same wallpaper.  It kind of made people feel more equal - kind of like the school uniform – it got rid of all the one-upmanship you find in places like London,” he told Skrufff,.

“I think the problem with Birmingham is it's just too big.  Even going into the city centre in Manchester was just like going down to the local shops. I feel privileged and thankful to have be born in Manchester,” he added.

Midlands-based DJ Steve Lawler also surprisingly agreed with the survey’s findings telling Skrufff ‘about fookin’ time’.

“My girlfriend is from Manchester, so I can confirm they’re definitely bossier,” Steve added, “but as for people from Birmingham, they’re just further behind than anyone else.”

“Im from the Midlands but not Birmingham, and I’m negative towards Birmingham simply because its shit,” Steve added, “I have seen more life in a morgue.”

Skruff man-in-Berlin, former Mancunian Mark Reeder from Flesh also celebrated his home town’s significance, agreeing ‘I’ve always considered Manchester to be Britain’s "2nd" city, even when it apparently wasn’t.’

“I certainly don’t have any negative thoughts towards the people of Birmingham or the Midlands, to me it’s all the same,” he added, “I think because they have a particular dialect it attracts and is easy to make fun of, I don’;t think people  really dislike it though.”

Gerald also stressed his has no preconceptions towards Brummies (‘I don't like referring to cultural stereotypes’) though admitted ‘most people from Manchester would say definitely the accent makes people laugh.’

“My first impressions of Birmingham were not negative but most people I know got their impression from comedians – and even comedians from Birmingham take the piss out of Birmingham e.g. Jasper Carrot.”

“Though I personally feel that Manchester should be the capital of Great Britain,” Gerald added, “The Manchester accent is the real mother tongue of England. The Queen's English is just that - just for the Queen,” he laughed. (Guy Called Gerald on Manchester’s Hulme- ‘I lived in Hulme in the early 70's from when I was 4 to 8 and then I moved back there when I moved out of home.  This place was the creative hub of Central Manchester and I built my first studio there. Forget the Hacienda, this was the place that built Manchester's music scene . . .’)  (A Guy Called

Gerald Live in Sweden) (Bernard Sumner on Mark Reeder’s role in New Order: ‘I was really depressed after Ian (Curtis) died, very unhappy and disillusioned. I felt that I didn’t have any future. I was listening ta Lou Reed, Street Hassle,         really down music. I started smoking draw, and found that electronic music sounded great. Mark Reeder, a friend from Berlin, sent me over records like 'E=MC²' by Georgio Moroder, Donna Summer, early Italian disco. I discovered a new quality in music, which was to pep you up: suddenly, this was the new direction . . .’)

Jonty Skrufff (