17 May 2015


Dear Rupert

Thank you for your recent visit to Manchester.

I don’t know if you read the backlash of comments inspired by your latest article which I have to address.

Firstly whilst we are all entitled to our opinions, I am not sure yours is well placed.

As an “Opera critic” and an academic I am not sure how you are placed to be commenting on the cultural needs of Manchester let alone the overall needs of the people of the Great city of Manchester.

I have learned that great writers do a far better job when they have conducted proper research. Asking “four people of different age and ethnicity where the Bridgewater Hall” is, is hardly reseach.

Manchester is a little more diverse than 4 ethnic groups!

It’s also worth noting that in cities these days, when someone walks up to you and asks for directions or the time, people tend to say whatever they can to avoid getting into a conversation with strangers. Especially ones who look out of place!

Research aside, you insult the millions of people of Manchester where you say “Let’s be realistic about this. Manchester is a down-to-earth industrial city, dominated culturally by football.”

As someone who is no doubt smarting from the fact you never got picked to play football as a kid, as you clearly are not the sporty type, you are right about one thing Manchester is proud of our football, we are, but the use of the words, “dominated culturally by football” insinuates that football is the limit of our cultural threshold is a disgrace. Whilst you are no doubt trying to be clever did you think we are not intelligent enough up North to read between the lines and see that you are simply being a snob.

Rupert Christiansen who wrote scathing article about manchester's culture in the Telegraph

Rupert Christiansen who wrote scathing article about Manchester’s culture in the Telegraph

That computer that you write your article on was first dreamt up in Manchester. Manchester is a city of creative people who set the standards for the whole of the world.

Have you ever heard of Graphene?

There is a shift happening in the UK. Manchester is at the heart of it. It’s also something that you cannot stop. It’s the law of nature.

The internet is growing faster here than other parts of the country. Why? Because Manchester is more central and can serve all areas of the UK quicker and more effectively than other parts of the country.

Manchester’s central location is the reason you cannot stop our growth or destiny.

In the same way the canals connected the whole country that lead to the industrial revolution, the fibers that connect the internet beneath our pavements and roads are making Manchester a significant force and soon to be the dominant player in the internet race.

Manchester has more up and coming high flying technology and digital entrepreneurs than any other city per capita including London and we are only just beginning. Check the Sunday Times Rich list for some of the new entrants.
I appreciate you consider yourself educated enough to pass comment on our great city and future, however I notice from your penultimate article where you refer to your penchant for Lady Boys; Sadly I don’t have your experience in this area however I’d suggest you stick to what you know best.

I will leave you with this thought, in response to your comment “the glory days of the Hacienda and Madchester have long faded into mythology.”

The Hacienda is and will always be part of our history, but it’s a stepping stone, not a destination. For those of us who were lucky enough to experience such a cultural shift that changed the world and not just Manchester, do you think we have forgotten those times or do you think that same creativity that resonated from the steel and concrete of that era is still deep inside us?

Let me make you very aware we are driving a cultural change that will envelop the whole of the UK and shape everyone’s future and one day make the whole of the UK Greater and not just Manchester.

In the mean time, until we educate the last remaining theorists and voyeurs, let us all thank heaven for the North South divide!

Lawrence Jones MBE

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