Tuesday 22 May 2012

I thought I had better look up where the hotel was at which I was running a meeting today as I had never been there. While I did find it quickly (man finds hotel details on internet: hardly a fucking headline bit of news is it – well this isn’t the front page of a national newspaper, so get off my back; I do listen to my voice-mails and read my emails so my relationship to myself is akin to a journalist at News International researching a story) I also found a ‘what to do in Manchester’ page on one of the chain’s other hotel pages.

Choose any one of our two hotels in Manchesterand a great city is on your doorstep. It pulses with life, famous for football, music and feisty attitude. Full of museums, art, and some of the best shopping around, Manchester is as the saying goes ‘mad for it’.

ANY ONE of our TWO hotels in Manchester. That’s a good start. Any of them. You can look at the list of the two hotels and choose any of them. Any.

Not sure about the grammar of the next ‘sentence’. Too many commas doing the job of other punctuation, like there is a grammar war on and all the semi-colons and full stops are in Iraq stopping an evil sentence get out of control. Is Manchester famous for a feisty attitude? I am not familiar with how we are viewed stereotype-wise so I perhaps shouldn’t comment. I have never been talking to someone and they’ve said, “you’re not as feisty as I thought you’d be coming from Manchester.” Maybe that’s because I am feisty and I have never realised it. Then again no-one has ever said, “typical Mancunian: feisty cunt.” Perhaps they are too busy laughing at my hair and ‘mutant Paul McCartney face’ (© a comment on a picture of my face on Facebook the other day).

If I was being pedantic I would also say that – though it has some great museums and art (galleries) – it is not full of them; they are dotted around – slightly more frequent than Nandos, but not as frequent as Tesco Expresses. Also ‘some of the best shopping around’ should probably just say ‘after London it’s probably the best at shops’.

Oh dear. I wouldn’t think of using the phrase ‘mad for it’ on a website hoping to attract people to Manchester, or more accurately to stay at my hotel if they had already decided upon coming to Manchester. Manchester also isn’t mad for it. Some bits of it are quite tired. There are parts of the town centre that are positively trying to be sane (for it). Perhaps branding Manchester with Liam Gallagher’s 1995 catchphrase is something to move past now. (And one more thing: stop talking about a city as though it has a stance, mad or otherwise, on anything – let alone ‘it’.)

‘It’ might be the magnificent and moving Imperial War Museum North. This tells how war shapes life, through unique objects, sounds and moving pictures. Local heritage sites celebrate Lancashire’s days of cotton spinning and textiles. In Castlefield, you’ll find traces of the world’s first passenger railway and canal system. The People’s History Museum explains how other pioneers and heroes fought to bring the ballot to the people. Modern heroes go into battle in shining football stadia like Old Trafford, well worth a tour.

Does this paragraph really need a critique? Well I’ll do one anyway.

Well at least they are starting off trying to describe the ‘it’ that Manchester might be mad for…but…it’s not a collection of museums is it? If we are to accept that the phrase ‘mad for it’ has any meaning outside of the mid-90s, Soccer AM and pastiches of Manchester then the ‘it’ people are mad for is probably not the Imperial War Museum North. And this kind of continues the confusion of the whole concept of city being mad for it. Manchester is mad for its own constituent museums? Surely as part of Manchester they are part of what is being mad (for it). If there is one thing the Imperial War Museum North, local heritage sites, The People’s History Museum and traces of railway and canal systems could not be accused of it is being vain and egotistical¹. [Yes, I intentionally left out Old Trafford of the list of things that might be considered vain – as it could be.]

While the paragraph is selling the museums of Manchester – and for that reason alone it should be respected on some level – I think it would have done better without the beginning (being linked into the whole ‘mad for it’ debacle) and the end bit. Where it kind of links footballers to war heroes/victims and social pioneers². They also want to mention the OTHER football stadium. What is it with this little biog? Two hotels is considered some kind of massive choice and it can only be arsed listing one (out of two) football stadia. TWO IS NOT A REALLY BIG NUMBER.

Art lovers will adore the tribute to local artist LS Lowry that is the Lowry in Salford. This stunning ship-like building on theManchesterShip Canal is full of drama, art, dance and family fun. Typically Manchester, in fact.

Hmmm, well….yeah….let’s not bad-mouth The Lowry. Not that this is bad-mouthing The Lowry. I am just saying: don’t think I am going to do it. I heart it. But…..

While the Lowry should be visited by anyone interested in art (it is using art as in paintings and stuff here rather than ‘the arts’) because there are some Lowrys there, and other stuff. So, yes, do that. But….there are quite a few art galleries in Manchester that might be worth a mention here. I mean the Manchester Art Gallery springs to mind. And The Whitworth³. And..well I could go on naming the other art galleries in Manchester but that would be boring. Hey…that’s mean…whoever said that was the end of the list of art galleries I know the name of was bally bang out of order.

And there are other theatres. Like The Contact and The Royal Exchange (I can’t be bothered hyperlinking the places I am mentioning anymore: I must remember, that much like this hotel’s webpage this is not an informative guide to Manchester) and The Palace and…well there are fucking loads. And I don’t want to say THAT ARE IN MANCHESTER..because it seems awfully like I am buying into anyone’s argument ever that Salford and Manchester are not intertwined to the degree that Salford is just a part of Manchester. But. There are plenty of places that offer art in Manchester. Whoever did this piece of copy really struggled with the concept of ‘more than one’.

And now Manchester is now ‘drama, art, dance and family fun’? I thought it was mad for it. Actually it is kind of both things isn’t it? It’s fucking brilliant, Manchester. I think what’s annoyed me about seeing this pithy little thing is that it’s managing to make the greatest city in the world sound a bit like Halifax (the place, not the building society..bank, whatever it is). It doesn’t even mention the bars and eateries. It manages to reduce the city to a couple of clichés, four museums and The Lowry. And while it has those things – clichés aside – but a lot more. Fucking hell that sounded a bit tour-guide-y.

ps. If anyone from the hotel wants me to do a better job for free then I will. But someone should do a better job than the one they have up already even if I am the only person that will ever read it and it was just knocked up to make the website seem like it wasn’t just trying to push an anodyne room into someone’s life for a healthy profit. EVEN THE TITLE IS WRONG: ‘MANCHESTER HOTELS’? NOT REALLY DESCRIBING WHAT IS WRITTEN UNDERNEATH IS IT?

¹I mean you could: they all have souvenir shops filled with pencils, tins of sweets and pencil sharpeners with their names on: but it would be churlish to describe this as vain given the majority of these things lay testimony to other things, like history, rather than their own selves. Not sure this footnote worked out.

²Of course I think that football deserves to be placed above war and social change but I am aware that this is nonsense.

³I don’t go to these places you understand. Art is fucking boring isn’t it? (note to self: this might not appear sarcastic when people read it but that’s okay because you are only 77% joking).

Some museums and The Lowry

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