I'm not actually from Manchester, but I might as well be. I've lived here for a little over five years now and I think is safe to say I know all the lingo, all the quips and quirks and a good chunk of the history. I'd like to think myself as a honorary Manc... although I might be being presumptuous.
Being Mancunian is about more than bucket hats, bad attitudes and parkas. It is a way of life, a way of being and a way of speaking. But if you, like me, see yourself staying here for the foreseeable future, maybe you should scan through this list and see how you get on.
1. Get used to the weather
It is safe to say that it probably rains 360/365 days of the year here in Manchester and there is no way around it other than just sucking it up and getting on with it. Get yourself a decent umbrella and a waterproof coat and handle it. You aren’t a bath bomb- if you are going to be Mancunian you are going to have to be made of stronger stuff like steel or brick or pure pie-fuelled Northern muscle.
2. Pick a side
I’m not going to sit here and lie to you- I’m not into football. Not one little bit. But you would have to be mad not to know about the football rivalry here in Manchester between the reds and the blues. It can’t be avoided that Manchester’s infamy comes, for the most part, from football and both teams are known in the most isolated corners of the world. Me? Well if I had a choice, I’d go in the middle and pick purple- but I guess that isn’t an option- but just be prepared for people to ask.
3. Educate yourself
This has been the birthplace of so many influential people from Emmeline Pankhurst to Alan Turing to Victoria Wood. You must learn about them, and an excellent place to start would be an article I wrote a while back on famous women from Manchester. While you are feeling studious, go to our countless galleries and museums such as The Whitworth or MOSI and find out about the fascinating industrial past of Cottonopolis- and if you don’t know what that term refers to then you aren’t ready my young padawan.
4. Learn the Lingo
Start easing your way in by adding words such as “Brew” (a cup of tea), “Tea” (evening meal) and Dinner (lunch) into your lexicon. Once you’ve mastered the confusion of that, you can move on to more complex additions such as “mither” (to annoy), “hanging” (repulsive) and “sound” (good). If it is all too much to cope with I wouldn’t worry too much- you’ll pick it up quicker than you can say you’re “gagging for a bev”.
5. Get around properly
The bright yellow trams are both fun and terrifying if you are unlucky enough to be swanning around Piccadilly Gardens on foot. Make sure you learn to dodge them in the city centre. Other than that, you will see many a Magic Bus beetling around, which will be packed full of students at all times. Failing that, Manchester can boast a pretty safe system for cyclists with lanes installed all the way down Oxford Road towards Withington and Didsbury and the southern suburbs.
6. Start Loving Greggs
Sure, you have them down south, but I promise you not in the sheer volume we have them up North. Did you know that in 1997 it was made illegal to have a single street in Manchester and Leeds without a Greggs? Alright, perhaps I’m lying, but it is still a human right to be within a stone’s throw of a sausage roll at all times.
7. …and Gravy for that matter
Up here, gravy isn’t just reserved for Sunday roasts, it is the lubrication of choice for most if not any meal. Pie? Obviously! Chips? Of course. Any kind of meat? Yes please. Not to mention fried chicken, Yorkshire puddings and even just plain old bread. To be honest, you could dip anything in gravy up here and no one would judge you.
8. Listen to some tunes
It isn’t a secret that Manchester is home to some of the best music that has come out of the UK in the past 60 years- and we aren’t letting it go. None of it. We are proud of Oasis, and The Smiths and The Stone Roses and even Simply Red… well my mum is anyway. I guarantee you will have at least one friend with a Joy Division tattoo, and our streets are adorned with murals and song lyrics- so you better brush up on your stuff.
9. Know your pubs
Ok, Ok, this one isn’t unique to Manchester and it is a rule you should keep close to your chest wherever life takes you, but if you are going to consider yourself a proper Manc you’re going to have to know top boozers. We’re talking the historic ones; The Britons Protection, The Castle, Peveril of the Peak, The Circus Tavern, and The Crown & Kettle just to name a few.
10. Get used to swearing
I have no f**king idea why but for some stupid f**king reason everyone in this sh**ty place feels the need to f**king swear after every other bl**dy f**cking word. You see my point? Don’t be prudish about swear words because you’ll hear them more than you will listen to your name. Oh, and confusingly a certain swear words beginning with the letter C is more often than not used as a term of endearment…so try not to be offended.
11. Beware of Market Street
A couple of weeks ago I made the grave decision to go shopping on a Saturday afternoon and while I was being bustled down Market Street I couldn’t help but think to myself that I must have died and gone to the 9th circle of hell. It is hideous. Full of slow walkers, busy shoppers, charity workers trying to do good and rubbish buskers- if you are going to call yourself Mancunian learn another way around.
12. Get out and about
Manchester is so much more than just the city centre. You might live in a trendy Northern Quarter loft and have everything you need round about you, but I cannot stress how gorgeous some of the suburbs and outskirts are. Didsbury Village is goals, and Chorlton is full of beautiful shops, bars, cafes and all the dogs you could ever want to smoosh. Further afield in the north of the city is the stunning Dovestones National Park- which is well worth a visit on a sunny day. Get out explore the whole area and enjoy what it has to offer.