mens vintage shirts

Why Manchester In The 80s Was Actually Very Cool

The recent death of the former chief of Manchester City Council Howard Bernstein brought many tributes, with a wide focus on how he helped to transform and modernise the city during his role as chief executive between 1998 and 2017.

No doubt these are justified and the Manchester we see today is a very different one he inherited, with its array of skyscrapers, ever-expanding tram system and reputation as a great place to live, work, visit and enjoy football and culture.

However, all this is to paint a grim picture of Manchester in the years before, of a declining post-industrial city with poverty, crime and a city centre that was empty once the evening rush hour ended.

Some may remember another side to Manchester in the 1980s, one you can still see and celebrate today with vintage T-shirts commemorating the culture of youth and music that emerged and flourished in the decade.

This wasn’t the decade of the Commonwealth Games or topping the Deloitte Crane Survey. It was the start of the ‘Madchester’ age of the Stone Roses, Oasis, Happy Mondays, James and the whole Acid House scene, of the Hacienda and 24-hour party people, of baggys and Affleck’s Palace. In those days, Tony Wilson, not Howard Bernstein, was ‘Mr Manchester’.

Some will remember this as a more upbeat decade for music and culture after the moody 70s output of the Smiths or Joy Division. Others took a dimmer view, claiming that Madchester was all about drugs (as if this wasn’t already a big issue). Others saw the new image of Manc culture as something to satirise.

However, a more enlightened view might be to see this as the true rebirth of Manchester; no longer the ‘Cottonopolis’ of old, but a city enjoying a cultural moment that grew and grew. It was taken on in the 90s by people like Sir Bob Scott, the man behind the Olympic bids who had previously revived the Palace and Opera House theatres in the 1980s.

Manchester may have much to celebrate, but the bits most worth wearing T-shirts about came before Mr Bernstein.

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