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Sunday, April 11, 2004


I spent yesterday in Manchester with an old friend (in length of time we've been friends, rather than her age) and was quite shocked to see Manchester city centre nowadays.

Lots of glass and such buildings - very modern, whatever that means, striking, and almost certainly built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games which were held there.

I also couldn't help but notice the sheer number of designer and exceedingly expensive shops around. This could have just been representative of the area we spent time in, though we were pretty central which could suggest this is how the whole of the shopping centre is. Selfridges was large and impressive, though almost frightening in prices, and it was not alone amongst an an incredible array of capitalist blatancy.

That's not to say I didn't have fun or indeed indulge in the shopping experience. I left Whittards with Almond Amaretto and Irish Cream flavoured instant coffees, and chocolate milkshake stuff, which I hope will go well with my soya milk supplies.

I also spent a little too much on purty things in Paperchase which is an incredible shop indeed, and I could easily spend a year's wages (if indeed I got wages) in.

I couldn't, however, imagine what Manchester City Centre is like for those souls who live in Manchester but, as will be the case for the majority, don't have the income to do their regular shopping in a centre like this. Sure, I spotted a Mk One and other such bargainous shops, but to be surrounded by such oppressive extravagence and indulgence must be somewhat depressing.

I got the inescapable idea that, in catering for the many visitors which Manchester must get, Commonwealth Games or not, they have perhaps lost sight of their city's residents' needs. It was a fabulous place to visit and see, but if I lived there, with the minimal income I have, I would find going into the city centre a thoroughly depressing experience as it highlighted how little I have and how much some have, the huge gap and unfairness implied within that.

It had been quite a while since I'd visited Manchester, and I would certainly go again, though most likely next time I would avoid the uncomfortable crowds which are so inevitable on Easter Saturday in school holidays.

Incidentally, this must be the first Easter ever when I seem to have managed to not buy a single Easter Egg. Impressive.