One of the biggest influences in my life, as I think must be true of the majority of people, is where I grew up. And that, for me, was Moss Side, Mersey Bank and Withington. They’re three of the more deprived areas of the city. They’re not the the worst areas in the world, but they’re certainly not on the Top Ten Places to Live list!
Growing up in areas like these, I was obviously aware of some of the trouble and the goings on, but this was limited to a small number of people from the communities. For me on the whole, the people I lived amongst were proud, welcoming and decent people.
Even though they weren’t the best places to grow up, there was still a strong community spirit; an open arms, ‘everybody’s welcome’ feel. Because of this I’ve learned to turn the negative things around me into positive little stories within my music.
The things I experienced growing up here were what made me and my mates want to create music. We saw it as an outlet for our stories. Growing up here helped us go from strength to strength, which in time lead us to form KiD BRiTiSH – a collective of musicians of different ages and cutural backgrounds.
See, Manchester is a lot more than just the baggy T-Shirt, Parka jacket wearing, Gallagher talking city the media has painted it to be. It is home to so many people from different heritages and backgrounds, which adds to the city’s beauty.
There is a large Asian community where many people from all over the world travel just to eat from the ‘Curry Mile’; a nickname for the part of Wilmslow Road running through the centre of Rusholme in south Manchester. The name is earned from the large number of restaurants and take-aways specialising in the cuisines of South Asia and the Middle- East, thought to be the largest concentration of South Asian restaurants outside the Indian subcontinent – and my friends and I can often be found there having late night drunken food binges.
For me, the thing that seperates Manchester from a lot of other major cities – apart from being the home of the biggest football club in the world (Manchester United) ha ha! – is that you are never made to feel like a stranger, or that it’s you versus the world here. Which is why it is home to such a large student population.
I am proud to say that this is the city I was raised in, and wherever my career takes me Manchester will always have a place in my heart, and be the place I call home.
Simeon McLean, KiD BRiTiSH