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Feature

Ten reasons why the North of England will always be better than the South

There’s definitely more than ten but we don’t want to keep you all day…

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The North of England is a special place, an area rich with history, culture, natural beauty, community, and pies with absolutely loads of gravy on them.

We know this, you know this, even that lot down South know this – we’re just proper mint up ‘ere.

And if anyone cares to disagree with that, then show them the following list:

greggs_official/Instagram

1) Greggs

This list is by no means in any kind of order other than what my brain thinks of first, and naturally, that begins with Greggs.

It’s now been three and a half years since The Tab quite literally divided the North and South of the country based on Greggs per head and it’s still just as relevant. If you’re reading this in a Pret – you’re probably in the south.

2) Gravy

Another food-based number on the list but gravy is quite literally the Lord’s juice.

Research done in 2014 found that more Northerners insisted on gravy on a roast than those in the South. And the fact that you would have difficulty getting chips and gravy down south hurts my little head.

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3) You can buy a house

Back in 2019, the house price gap began to close with house prices rising in the likes of Yorkshire and Humberside and falling in London. It was pretty short-lived.

In 2020, the average house price in the North West was £170k while in London it was £475k. You even get more bang for your buck up North. For instance, £800 per month studio flats in London feature beds hovering over your entire kitchen, bathroom and washing machine, while in Manchester you’ll get a thing called a garden, as well as a garage and possibly a drive, for that price. Maybe even a shed too.

4) Music

Manchester on its own is easily the UK’s most musical city, home to the likes of the Bee Gees, Morrissey, New Order, The Charlatans, Mick Hucknall, Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, Joy Division, The Smiths, Oasis, Blossoms, The 1975, Everything Everything, Pale Waves, Elbow, and even my other half (Larkins).

When you take in the rest of the North you start to create an unstoppable list of the world’s greatest musicians and an ultimate festival lineup… The Beatles, Take That, Pulp, Ed Sheeran, Arctic Monkeys and of course Jane McDonald from Wakefield. I’ll stop now.

Joseph Whyle on/Unsplash

5) The countryside

There is nothing quite like the Great British Countryside and the best bits are in the North, from the likes of the Yorkshire Dales to the Lake District. Then there’s the North York Moors, the Peak District, the Pennines and Northumberland’s Coast. Not bad…

6) Accents

We speak proper up here, like.

I can sum up the breadth of the North’s accent in four simple sentences: I’m a Manchestah Gal don’t hate me, CHANEEEEEEEEL, chicken, up the Boro. You can see others here in the BBC’s handy Tour of Northern England Accents.

7) The pub

Not only can people up North easily nip home to get changed after work before they head out, but it’ll also be cheaper when they do get down the pub (when they finally reopen, that is).

The Good Pub Guide claims you can get a pint for £4.44 in London – I’ve been charged eight quid once so I’m not having any of it. In Yorkshire, a pint of the frosty stuff will set you back £3.40.

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8) The Northern Pound

Keeping on the theme of money, the North has its very own currency. Yes you come to England and get given Great British Pounds with the Queen’s mug slapped all over them but in the North, a London £1 is worth £1.17 up here.

9) The people

We’re just sound aren’t we? Everyone knows it too.

10) Everything else

There are plenty of other things I’ve missed off so number ten is easily just ‘everything’ else not included – which is absolutely everything. We are the best. The end.

Honourable mentions: Yorkshire Puddings, Blackpool Illuminations, football, Coronation Street, The Chuckle Brothers, Parmos, Kendall Mint Cake, a proper brew, fish and chips, Vivienne Westwood and pies, pies and more pies.

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Feature

If you’re having really weird dreams this lockdown here’s why

(Don’t worry, you’re not the only one)

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Matthew Henry / Unsplash

If you’re finding yourself having super weird dreams and actually being able to remember them in the morning, don’t panic, you’re not alone.

Tonnes of people across the country have been reporting the exact same thing during lockdown. Luckily a scientist has given us a clever explanation that will calm down all our fears that self-isolation might be getting to us.

There are a lot of contributing factors that stem from being in lockdown that are changing our dream patterns. One of the biggest one is increased stress and anxiety levels due to the uncertainty of the world right now.

Credit: Stephen Oliver / Unsplash

Many, in fact, most people are finding themselves with financial worries and pressures like never before.

Cabin fever is also a huge factor to our unconscious thinking patterns and a lot of people are having dreams of being stuck, whether that formulates as a room with no doors or a shipwreck you’re stuck on – it all comes down to a feeling of being stuck inside. Which is pretty self explanatory.

We’re all also spending more time than ever with the same few people which will be having an effect on your dreams.

Other reasoning comes down to the fact that our homes are physically warmer because we’re all in it, potentially with the heating on. When we’re asleep and warm we have more vivid dreams.

Credit: Kate Stone Matheson / Unsplash

Some people’s dreams might not be that spectacular – finding themselves down the local having a frosty pint of their favourite beer (which does actually sound spectacular tbh) – and that’s completely fine too.

Life has become monotonous, what with ‘going to work’ including rolling out of bed and walking the 10 steps to the dining table. Basically we’re just missing normality and craving the things we would do in an average week.

There’s even a reason as to why we’re all remembering our dreams like they’re a blockbuster movie too.

Credit: Damir Spanic / Unsplash

As we’re all having a little lie-in in the morning, with some of us not even setting an alarm, we can move into that REM sleep.

While we’re in REM sleep our brains are more active, dreams get longer and more vivid. With our alarms not going off, we stay in this type of sleep for longer, dreams extend, get weirder and we can then remember them when we get up.

So whatever your dreams involve, you’re not crazy just isolated!! Keep dreaming kids!

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Feature

Who remembers Manchester’s hugely popular Granada Studios Tour?

Ahh the memories…

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It was Manchester’s answer to Universal Studios, but with the Coronation Street set…

After a successful decade-long run of providing fun for Manchester, the demise of the Granada Studio Tour began after visitor numbers dwindled – meaning the tour sadly shut up shop for one last time.

One of the biggest reasons as to why can be put down to poor businesses practises at ITV, which saw the company lose millions.

The main culprit was the Sky-like service called ‘ONDigital’, which launched in 1998 and was forced into administration just four short years later.

Granada Studios Tour, Manchester
davekpcv / Flickr

It was pretty much the exact same concept as Sky, only the exclusive shows were essentially rubbish and the whole thing flopped.

At this point the Granada Studios Tour was seen as a large and unnecessary expense, and unfortunately closed down.

The tour was the brainchild of Granada producer David Plowright, who proposed to create a ‘Hollywood-on-the-Irwell‘ – and that he did. Sort of, anyway.

The tour first opened its doors in 1988, expecting to welcome 250,000 in the first year, but in the initial eight months alone 600,000 people visited to take in the sights.

Arguably the most popular attraction was the Coronation Street set which in 2013 moved to MediaCity, built on an even bigger scale with the chance to go inside too!

In 2018 Victoria Street was added, which features a garden and memorial bench paying tribute to the Manchester Arena bombing 22 victims and Coronation Street super fan Martyn Hett.

The old Granada Studios Tour might not have been the bright lights of LA or Hollywood, but you don’t get much more Mancunian than that cobbled street! 

What are your favourite memories of the tour? 

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Feature

From pet shops to sex shops: how Manchester’s Northern Quarter has transformed over the years

The best place in Manchester?

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This quarter of the city centre has seen it all! 

The Northern Quarter is Manchester’s Indie haven, where you’ll find everything you need and plenty of stuff you don’t need but definitely want. And the best bit is that it’s almost entirely independent! 

In the early 1970s the area that we now know as the Northern Quarter was massively suffering with neglect, impacted greatly by the opening of the massive corporate shopping centre, the Arndale. 

The NQ quickly lost all appeal and viability as the shopping destination it had been prior. The famous pet shops of Tib Street disappeared altogether – apart from just one surviving at the very top of the road that is still open today.

By the late ’70s the area was pretty much derelict and mostly residential thanks to the new housing estate near Smithfield Market. The old warehouses from the Industrial Revolution became the perfect occupancy for large, cheap storage for clothing and textile wholesalers.

Things stayed much the same for a few years until the ’80s saw a little spark ignite with the opening of Affleck’s palace. A one-stop-shop for all things boutique and independent, Affleck’s Palace became a destination with people flocking from all over to get involved at the new local market for artists. 

Around this time creatives began to flood the area again and those large spaces became studios and practice rooms for the likes of musicians and inventors.

A few boozers worked through the night to keep those in the area from going thirsty and hungry with plenty of cheap ales at the likes of The Millstone, Koffee Pot and Mother Macs – as well as This & That providing a much needed Rice & Three.

Manchester City Council commissioned the regeneration of the NQ in 1993, and Urban Splash moved in and set to work on redeveloping the area, turning it into a residential neighbourhood. If people live here, businesses open – or so the theory goes.

It turns out the theory was correct! The ’90s was a big moment for the NQ, cheap rent tempted just about everybody and as people moved in so did the businesses.

The public started to champion independents again and the plan, overall, was a great success.

Not everyone is quite so positive about the progress that happened to the area though.

Gentrification can often be described as the killer of culture and soul of an area, and people who once lived there are priced out. The NQ in particular is now a ‘party hot spot’ where rent has increased by 40%, and more and more plots of land are being sold to big time investors to create luxury flats that will likely become Airbnb’s.

But it’s not all bad, the Northern Quarter is a haven for artwork, there are parrots on the walls, poets on the floors and ever-changing graffiti that even has entire tours dedicated to it.

And there are still independents to shop at, dine in, drink dry and dance on the tables of.

There is no denying that the NQ is still the place to be – Ancoats might have reached worldly heights but the NQ has the Castle, the Millstone, newbies like Federal, Another Heart to Feed and Feel Good Club, shops like Noma, Blue Rinse and plenty more that keep it the bustling spot all the cool kids hang out.

Even as more and more areas see regeneration, the NQ still comes through with that star quality that some areas will just never have.

You can follow NQmanchester for daily updates on going’s on in the area!  

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