A love letter to Manchester
As I parted away from home in 2019 to begin a new life, I met you and I promise, you were no less than my home.
Now that I have moved down South, I miss you with every ounce of my being. Our relationship is precious and humble.
I have witnessed you in every colour from golden to grey and blue to pink and it’s funny how our moods were synchronized and we oozed our hearts so beautifully to each other.
As I sat in Whitworth Park wrapped up in the warmth of your sunshine or welling up at the Piccadilly Gardens bus stop while you gave me rain soaked skin, you were there for me.
And as I walk at midnight on Oxford street and fight your icy winds, you play with me at the rusty Big Hands while I sit and sip a drink, you were there for me.
While I danced my way into the night at the clubs in Deansgate you sang the melody and sobered me whilst during the day you made me glow so bright that paved a way for free food at Five Guys, you were there for me.
And look at me, I’m here, writing my first love letter to you, Manchester. With you I could even write a symphony.
When I was stuck recently, I choose a familiar place to seek some love and belongingness,
I visited you again two weeks ago and you welcomed me with open arms.
And all at once as I walk this ground my heart is full again,
Considering the weather and hour of the day, I yet again question will the colours be golden or grey? Your light gleams the twilight inside me and makes me feel whole,
Soothing as dusk and your subtle hues, Manchester, you are my true fairy tale.
Here’s a long, warm and a tight air hug to you mi Amor.
Rhythm of Dreams
Dreams never end – Oxford Road heaves and pulses,
Buses beep, trains screech, Boom Box Barry bikes by,
All locked into a rhythm – people, planes and pigeons,
Together we stroll towards our city’s throbbing heart.
Waves of white noise whirl from the Mancunian Way,
To hush the atonal orchestra of construction,
Whose movements crescendo new heights each day,
Manchester’s metal hands clasp for the sky again.
In St Peter’s Square, cast in shadows of Peterloo,
Pankhurst, and police pandemonium, the lone
Saxophonist plays, hums his tune guiding trams
Away – away into the greater lands around.
Silent, the sunset settles on the city of cotton, Corrie,
Industry and ecstasy, symbol of suffragettes and socialism,
Where Northern hearts are big, bright, red and blue,
Open armed – where hatred will never break through.
Life on Oxford Road
Amongst the weeds, the movement begins,
life visible beneath.
It always flows,
each footstep forging fragile connection to the street,
temporary yet significant for those
What is it they seek to know?
What does it mean to grow in this place?
My pace is my pace, not yours. Breathing,
the 143 doors hiss – or was it a kiss
to yesterday’s rider?
Crossing won’t wait for the lights to count down,
revolving chains, linked, roll their people home,
to an office no longer bound.
“Just a single, please”,
its people join in a special communion,
is this the goal or just the beginning?
Space shared in a moment – the movement
Its steel limbs stretch upward,
(not with a nervous mumble but with the quiet confidence of financial dominance –
they say it’s for knowledge).
a space for understanding
Silence studies while conversation sits and sips,
This is the hope that fuels the whispers – scheming,
of ordinary people – going,
The foundations shake,
extraordinary taking shape.
A letter to the class of 2020
“Lastly, to our Manchester, a place I’m missing far more than I thought I would and I know others are too. The love letter I wrote to you in February said a lot, but it didn’t nearly explain how deeply you have become embedded in who I am. In who we are.
I miss that sunny friendly accent. I miss the liveliness of Oxford road. I miss saying ‘To Piccadilly please’. I miss my lovely lecturer Dawn. I miss the business school and the campus I can now navigate like the back of my hand. I miss perusing the Whitworth Gallery on a Sunday afternoon. I miss the cafes and shops in the NQ. I miss the food…so much. Rudy’s, Common, Salt n Pepper and Wholesome Junkies. I even miss the familiar grey overcast clouds.
I don’t want to say goodbye, I want to say see you later.
I don’t know when but I know it will happen because a little part of me will always belong with you.
See you soon Manchester and the Class of 2020,
A fellow ‘Class of 2020’ student.
A Love Letter to Manchester
When I think of Manchester, even while currently abroad as an international student, a kaleidoscope of thoughts, feelings and recollections come to mind; as visceral as if I were there in the flesh.
Sitting in cafés for hours poring over an assignment, talking, or people-watching. Lectures and tutorials spent broadening my mind and engaging with my peers, listening with rapt attention to erudite and ever-relevant theories and thoughts about the world. Walking home after class with my friends to our shared flats/halls, doing our grocery shopping at Tesco together on the way. Sitting in a campus building watching the steel-grey clouds take over the sky, feeling at peace as the sound of rain fills the air with a soothing rhythm. Trying seasonal bubble tea flavours at Chatime, though everyone knows Gong Cha is better. Wandering through the Northern Quarter, popping into Afflecks or a vinyl store every now and then. Late night talks and study sessions that run much longer than expected. Relaxing with Netflix all day in my cosy student room on weekends, steaming Earl Grey always in hand. Finally managing to watch a film at Vue after immense amounts of planning. Eating out or ordering in from our favourite Japanese and Korean and Thai and Mexican places. Feeling the pulse of life in the city centre on a sunny day, warmed by the smiles on people’s faces and the gentle fading out of my troubles.
Manchester has given me more than I could possibly fathom or articulate; more memories , experiences, and dreams fulfilled than I would have imagined a few years ago at the cusp of starting my undergraduate degree, overridden with uncertainty. There is an inexplicable magic in this city, in the seemingly ordinary and mundane, in all the little moments and occurrences you are in danger of taking for granted if you are not paying attention. There is beauty everywhere, from a Magic Bus crowded with students and working professionals from all walks of life to the art galleries and museums that you always say you should visit more. There is love, hope, excitement, anxiety, success, failure, disappointment, reassurance, and everything in between. Above all, for me, Manchester is a place of happiness, of freedom, of lessons learnt and potential manifested, and of serendipity and some of the best years of my life with some of my favourite people. In my final year, as I look back on my time, I am comforted by the fact that wherever I go and whatever I do hereafter, I will always have Manchester.
Harveen Kaur Gulati
What are your favourite things about Manchester?
John McLorinan (BEd 1971)
I started my adventure young and naive with excitement and trepidation.
We’d no cars, computers, mobile phones or lap tops…
Manchester was already old and wise,
A mature and welcoming multi culture –
Strangers with smiles and friendly voices.
Foreign accents among the
Warm Manchester vowels…
Strangers chatting at bus stops and on railway platforms.
The city, with its murk and grime soon became familiar.
Its many faces emerging through snow, mists, rain and hot shining summers.
Manchester became home .
Through far too infrequent return visits ,
I saw the her change .
Ravaged by time and bombs and progress
I struggled to find my way around the geography –
But not the identity nor the memories.
Five decades on, like her, I remain largely the same.
Not easily recognisable , but in essence unchanged.
I learned as much in the city and her streets
As I did in the lecture halls and tutorials.
I remain grateful .
Part of me remains in Manchester;
Part of Manchester in me.