The Guardian has been stirring the embers of the ancient and, oddly, rather nostalgic argument about old versus new Manchester with this blog by our favourite music writer on the paper, Dave Simpson.

Grabbing some quotes from the excellent Wu Lyf and the Dutch Uncles– where the youthful bands talk about either not knowing of the old bands or not caring too much for them it builds up a cause for a city suffocated by its past. Whether this is the main thrust of their arguments or just some exciting youthful disdain for the past is a moot point. The argument seems to be old Manchester is suffocating the new.

But is this true?

Apart from the media no-one else seems that bothered. Everyone I know seems as happy with bands from the city from any decade. From the Hollies to the Roses to Dutch Uncles or Fraser King to Wu Lfy and many others beyond the Manchester International Festival new band event they all sound good to the gig going crowd.

The media always wants to create these squabbles. It’s good press. It seems sad that the Manchester Guardian, as some people still call it in Manchester, seems to be keen on creating these divisions.

Wu Lyf are sort of part of the lineage anyway- their manager was part of the later days of Factory and In the City- so what? Who cares that they are even from Manchester? I don’t- they just sound good. The city’s past does not suffocate them, if anything it gives them a slight advantage in having a springboard to bounce away from. There is no Manchester sound. There never has been a Manchester sound- like punk it’s always been diverse and only linked by geography.

This all started with the Fuc51 blog which was an amusing distraction for a few months- initially railing against Hooky revisiting his past it all ended up more obsessed with the past than anyone else! It’s bolshy attitude was oddly more in tune with Manchester past than anything and when it was laying into your author it was great.

London has its musical past so has New York. the Strokes somehow got compared to the Velvet Underground. No-one went on about it forever.

The Guardian blog was hooked around Manchester International festival and the raft of new bands playing it. The bands are a loose selection of groups that represent a certain sector of the city’s music scene. It was a shame that they didn’t get into the real grit of the city’s bands like the endlessly great Frazer King or Dirty North- there’s lots of stuff out there in the city- it lies beyond the Guardian, it lies beyond the hipster scene and it lies beyond the Manchester International festival and it lies beyond this rumbling non- debate.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Another badly researched/thought out article from The Guardian, there are loads of journalists out there so why are they still paying these hacks who write nonsense to continue to contribute. Quality journalism is plummeting. I don’t want somebody’s I’ll informed opinion I want the facts so I can make my own.

  2. I read the article and the newer bands weren’t complaining about older bands, they were moaning about the general nostalgia of FAC251 etc, and the way people in pubs constantly bang on to them about the good old days, which is a totally different thing


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