I had the sudden sensation that I was perhaps an alien myself, an otherworldly figure walking down an empty alley which was also the dead holy relic of another civilisation. The temperature had abruptly dropped and the sensation – fantasy and the material world seemingly in union – made me feel rather unwell, a touch panicky. I recalled with an impulse of genuine horror the simple phrase in which Engels, while roaming the streets of Manchester in search of class injustice, had summed up what he saw: ‘Hell upon Earth’. I stopped walking and removed my earphones for a moment.
I was asked by The Learned Pig to write a brief piece about my experiences of editing We Were Strangers. I said yes and then instead wrote a lengthy ramble through Manchester and its heritage, industrial and musical, taking in some of the figures who passed through the city and contemplating its compulsion to forge self-belief via self-mythologising.
Sorry, Learned Pig.
You can read the whole thing here.