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Manchester, England Paperback – 2 Sep 1999
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The strap line to Manchester England is "The Story Of The Pop Cult City." A music history like no other, it comes complete with a recommended soundtrack for each chapter-- evoking aural memories as Haslam unleashes an assembled cast of artists, musicians, hooligans, writers, workers, students, entrepreneurs and poets playing out a unique history of a unique city.
Not the first to write on Manchester's musical heritage, many of Haslams's predecessors had one thing in common--their desire to convince us that they were there and, as such, had something to do with the numerous mini cultural revolutions that have taken place in the city. Frequently they do little more than cry "me! me! me!" Haslam's approach to Manchester is different. His meticulous style contrasts with the rough, eager spontaneity of his subject, yet the book works because of this. Mapping out the city's creative and industrial history from the early 19th century to the ecstasy-fuelled dance culture of the eighties and nineties, you begin to realise the profound extent to which the city has always been part of a cycle of cultural upheaval, innovation and desperation. A mix of immigrant cultures and classes at loggerheads: it's this cocktail of human influence that has enabled the city not just to survive, but to inspire it's populous to innovate rather than imitate.
From "Immigrants, Merchants and Anarchists", via "Punk, Post Punk and the Punk Postman", to "Hard Times and Basslines"--the headlines alone reveal the eclectic references uniquely brought together here, united not for the purpose of self congratulatory navel-gazing but to enable an understanding of the city's past and its future. Haslam presents a completely holistic view of how Manchester, on the verge of the millennium, has ended up, for better or worse, the city it is today. "We're living in an uneasy city in a very tough world ... but the so-called experts ... can't stifle the desire to break the silence", Haslam tells us, asserting that creativity in the city has always won out, not just in spite of, but because of the challenges that face it.
Manchester England is not simply about Dave Haslam flexing his academic muscle alongside his DJ-ing credentials. The book is absorbing, insightful and entertaining. There's been enough overblown hype surrounding this rainy Northern city. Haslam's earnest and intelligent approach betrays his quiet conviction that 'on the third day', as the t-shirts used to shout, 'God did create Manchester.' --Tony Martin
The definitive account of the pop cult capital of the UK by Dave Haslam, one of Manchester's top DJs and journalists. Manchester, a predominantly working-class city, away from the nation's capital, has been at the margins of English culture for centuries. The explosion of music and creativity in Manchester can be traced back from Victorian music hall and the jazz age, to Northern Soul and rock and roll, through to acid house and Oasis. But its roots are in Manchester's history as a melting pot of popular idealism and dissent, from the industrial revolution on, via film, theatre, comedy and TV. And for Manchester, read England and the world. Dave Haslam is uniquely placed to tell this story -- Manchester, England is as witty, erudite and passionate as you would expect from a man who can say, again and again, "I was there". Like Jon Savage's England's Dreaming, this is the last word on the abiding centre of 40 years of UK pop culture.See all Product description