I’ve missed the bus drivers, the tram drivers, the shop assistants, the over-enthusiastic newspaper vendors, the baristas, the traffic wardens, the TV crews taking over whole streets as if they own the place. I’ve missed the Uber drivers, the Deliveroo riders, the skaters and the goths. I’ve missed those guides in uniform who tell the tourists how to get to the cathedral.
I’ve missed rice ‘n’ three at This & That. I’ve missed queuing for a Greggs sausage roll. I’ve missed a plate of free-range poached eggs, sautéed spinach with homemade hollandaise sauce on a sourdough bloomer. Who’d have thought?
I’ve missed settling into a morning’s writing at Central Library only to bump into a friend in the café. I’ve missed the escalator at Waterstones, transporting you to another world. I’ve missed cutting through the Royal Exchange Theatre on a rainy day, just because you can.
I’ve missed meeting collaborators and clients in the Fig + Sparrow, or Takk, or the Federation Coffee House. I’ve missed dropping into the basement of Fred Aldous afterwards, buying another sketchbook I will never fill and another pen I don’t need.
I’ve missed cycling down unfamiliar side streets and being taken aback at what’s changed. I’ve missed negotiating Canada geese and latté-laden hipsters along the towpaths of the Ashton or the Rochdale.
I’ve missed Epstein at The Whitworth and Valette at Manchester Art Gallery. I’ve missed the Arndale’s indoor stalls and those Sunday makers’ markets.
I’ve missed a decent pint with mates in one of the back rooms at The Briton’s, with an expensive bag of peanuts. I’ve even missed the toilets.
I’ve missed Whitworth Street, Canal Street and Oldham Street. I’ve missed Market Street, but much less. I’ve missed the grandee that is Castlefield and the upstart that is New Islington. I’ve missed sitting on my stool sketching. Have I missed Piccadilly Gardens? Probably not.
I’ve missed the pizza at HOME. I’ve missed the cycle path home.
They say cities will change. They say we’ll use them less and Zoom more. Not me. I’ve missed Manchester. I’ll be glad to be back.
I’m looking for a home (or a number of homes) for “I’ve Missed You Too”. This series of 12 artworks playfully depicts Manchester and is a celebration of getting back to the city we all love.
I’m offering these artworks as a set to any organisation that is able to exhibit them to the public or to their staff. I’m imagining them in windows, down corridors, on fencing or railings, in canteens, on construction site hoardings.
Please get in touch if you are interested. email@example.com