This weekend I’ve been up to Manchester to a climate change protest. Lots of things were amazing about it: feeling like you’re at least trying to make a difference, the inspiring speakers we heard from, spending time with my fab friend, the gorgeous weather (definitely a surprise in Manchester, although perhaps in itself a sign of climate change). I think what has struck me most about the time, though, is mine and my friend’s success in making our trip about ‘Indie Manchester’. On the one hand, this should be fairly straightforward. Manchester is, after all, famous for its indie scene, particularly on the music front. However, sometimes things are easier said than done. I lived in Manchester for several years and know how commercialised some of the seemingly independent or alternative ventures are. Even the late, great Tony Wilson used to shop in a well-known high street supermarket (on more than one occasion, I stood next to him in a queue).
I’m not sure ours was a conscious mission, but it was certainly immensely satisfying. We stayed in a small, family run B&B (a bit run down but this was more than compensated for by the comedy pink neon sign saying ‘non-alcoholic’ above the front door). We had a drink in the afternoon sunshine in a non-chain bar. We had our dinner in a pizzeria that cannot be found outside of Manchester (well, Manchester and Prestwich, which I guess is in greater Manchester. Plus the owner was waiting on, so that definitely makes it an indie venture still). And we ended our night in the bar of an independent cinema. None of these places cost us anymore than going to well-known chains for the same. Furthermore, we enjoyed the payback of feeling really chuffed with ourselves – two fingers to the man, in our own small way.