I like to refer to Manchester as my adopted hometown.
I came to Manchester in 2003 on an au-pair placement. Oft-times I think of how lucky I was to end up here. A city, but not as huge and frantic and loud (and expensive) as London.
I first heard about the attack late on Monday night. It was reported that there was a loud bang at the Manchester Arena after the Ariana Grande concert and at the same time, Metrolink (which I use for my everyday transport) tweeted that services were not going through Victoria Station due to a police incident. Shit, I thought, I bet this is gonna last till tomorrow morning and how will I get to work?
(To clarify, Manchester Arena is next to Victoria Station, the box office entrance is through the station. I pass this station daily, it is physically impossible for me to avoid it when going to and from the city centre.)
As the reports coming in became clearer and clearer, my getting to work stopped being a priority.
You hear there are fatalities. And then you remember, Ariana Grande’s fanbase is young. Very young.
You hear about an attack like this and you want to be a good person and not believe that it is that thing it usually is and then it turns out that it is that thing that is usually is. But this is not what my post is about.
Times of tragedy bring out the goodness in people. Taxi drivers offering free rides. Cafe giving out free coffee to emergency workers. Hotel giving shelter to frightened teens returning from the concert. A homeless man rushing to help the injured.
Terror threat has now been raised to critical and it’s likely we will see soldiers on the streets tomorrow. I will get up in the morning and go to work and do my job as usual and when I finish I will go home and do shopping and cook my dinner and feed my cat and watch my shows and read books as usual, because I’m damned if I let any fanatical terrorist do anything differently.
We stand united.
Some phone shots from Tuesday 23rd.
Owen Jones writes for Guardian:
It is a cliche to talk about the friendliness of the north. Manchester has problems just as every city does: nowhere is populated by saints, everyone is capable of unkindness or worse. But whereas, in other cities, people can be in too much of a rush to bother with niceties, where icy politeness is a substitute for warmth, Manchester stands out. Strangers ask how you are, and mean it. People who have never met can strike up conversations on public transport and on the street: in London, that is seen, quite frankly, as a bit odd. That would have happened in that concert yesterday. That’s just what Mancs do.
Yesterday, Manchester was one of the greatest cities on earth, and it remains so today. The warmth, the solidarity, the unique Manc humour, all of that will thrive as much as it ever did. This was the city that helped bequeath modern industrial civilisation; it is a hurricane of creativity and talent, like the music of Oasis and The Smiths, the art of Lowry, Corrie, the football, the athletes, the comedians, the suffragettes, the LGBT activists.
I heart Manchester.