They’re the years that mould you, and where you spend your childhood and following formative years is always going to be special.
Come of age in Manchester in the 1990s? This one’s just for you…
1. You could make money on match day
Man City’s car park at the old Maine Road ground soon out grew the amount of fans visiting it, consequently there was a lot of on street parking. Enterprising local kids would run protection rackets – ‘£1 to look after your car mister?’
2. There was also free live music if you lived near Maine Road
When the ground wasn’t being used for home games sometimes there were gigs including the famous Oasis gig in 1996. So you could sit in the yard doing your homework to the strains of ‘Champagne Supernova’.
3. You went swimming in an old Edwardian pool
You may not have appreciated it at the time but for the first couple of years of the decade you could still swim in Victoria Baths on Hathersage Road. Closed now since 1993, currently you can only view its crumbling splendour on one of their open days.
4. Your mum would always be taking you to the city’s markets
Maybe to the Underground Market on Market Street to buy new shoes or a new coat for school because it was cheap. Or Longsight market for material to make a frock/trousers.
5. The Arndale centre used to be covered in yellow tiles
The colour of illness. And disease. Making it look a lot like a public toilet. That is until the IRA bombed it and we got a new one.
6. But if you were lucky you’d get to go to Afflecks or the Corn Exchange
Whether is was with your older brother going in for coloured hair dye or with your mates as a teen, there was little more magical than your first visit to these shrines of the alternative scene – weird objects, fancy dress, and piercings aplenty.
7. Outside the fountain was forever blowing bubbles
Barely a week seemed to go by without someone putting soap powder in the fountain outside the Corn Exchange. Up it coughed clouds of wondrous bubbles.
8. And you could join a tribe there too
If you wore your skinny jeans and black eye-liner, and were really lucky you could get adopted by one of the groups of goths outside. The ones who probably put the soap in the fountain.
9. You watched the Hulme crescents get pulled down
And everyone getting nostalgic about them though none knew why as were pretty grim at the end. Only the squatters liked them by the 1990s.
10. You made your own entertainment in the ginnels
If Mum had decided you’d spent too much time on your Gameboy you were sent to play out in the alley. If you were really lucky on a warm day there would be molten tar inexplicably dribbled on the cobbles that you could poke with a stick and pretend was Playdoh.
11. You’d use Clipper cards on the buses
Way before coffee loyalty cards you could get ten bus trips for the price of nine using your clipper card, punched each time you got on a bus.
12. And you’d probably be riding an orange and cream bus
Before the full deregulation of the buses, the bus you’d most likely be catching, Clipper card in hand, would be a GM bus – once ubiquitous across the city.
13. You’d go on a school trip to Styal to visit Quarry Bank Mill
And be told to be thankful that you get to go to school and do maths and eat school dinners rather than losing all your fingers or an arm in a machine working as a child labourer in t’mill.
14. Saturday morning telly was from your town
The 8.15 from Manchester filled in for Going Live on Saturday mornings when it took its summer break. Knowing it was being filmed just down the road at BBC North made Manchester seem that little bit touched by telly magic.
15. Trying to get that bit closer to Coronation Street
In Manchester on the old set of Coronation Street. Thinking how splendid it would be to have an immersive post-apocalyptic experience filmed/performed here. #roversreturninn #coronationstreet #tv #theatre #Manchester #uk #england #soaps #drama #television #northwest #apocalypse #zombies #pubs #pub #universe
You’d try to catch a glimpse of the Corrie set from the street outside Granada studio. Or try and spot a cast member out doing their shopping on Deansgate.
16. You’d eat dead fly cake
Stuffed full of currants there was only one thing you could liken an Eccles cakes too – a flies’ graveyard. They were almost good for you there was so much fruit in them. And they’re local.
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Main image: Stacey MacNaught / Flickr / CC