Let's move to a city the residents are unreasonably proud of despite everything! This week: Manchester

What’s it about? 

The north of England’s biggest city is extremely up itself these days. Having left its industrial past far behind it and put up a single tall building – the top-heavy Hilton hotel – it’s acting like it was always smart bars and never rough as fuck.

Groaning with students, awash with well-paid twentysomethings in non-jobs living in converted cotton mills, ready to be mentioned in the same hipster breath as Berlin, Reykjavik and Edinburgh, it’s not likely to happen because it’s still rough as fuck.

You can’t be one of the world’s coolest cities with as few nice bits and as many shit bits as Manchester. And it’s embarrassing to be so proud of your musical heritage when the last big band you produced was 28 years ago and it was Oasis.

Any good points? 

There’s a lot here. From Rusholme’s curries to miles of shops to the open spaces of Albert Square, you can spend a day wandering round and get soaked but not bored. Affleck’s Palace, where everyone got their Joe Bloggs jeans in the Madchester era, is a vertical Camden Market.

The museum’s good, the art gallery’s small and run by twats who hate the art, the Royal Exchange theatre is an incredible building for underwhelming plays, and you can get run down by a tram any time you like.

And, if you consider it a good point, the place is overflowing with Mancunian pride. It blankets the city like the constant rain. Be careful not to slag off the place, the wrong football club, or any of the bands they canonise. Blunt humour or blunt trauma are never far away.

Also, the bees that are everywhere? The symbol of the city, hastily adopted when the city needed a symbol after the 2017 bombing. Previously to that they were only on bins and the Buzz Club.

Wonderful landscape? 

All the great cities contain great green lungs: London’s Hyde Park, Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens, Cardiff’s Bute Park. Manchester’s got piss all. Heaton Park’s way out of the city, Piccadilly Gardens is just something you walk across to the tram stop and every other green space got built on.

There are impressive buildings, like Central Library, but they’re cheek-by-jowl with massive concrete ones and the Arndale Centre, squatted across the centre tiled like a municipal toilet but on the outside.

Hang out at… 

You’re not short of places to drink. Whether the self-consciously alternative Northern Quarter, Deansgate where the footballers go with a fucking enormous Wetherspoons they avoid, or the quaint olde worlde and surprisingly violent Shambles Square, getting pissed is easy.

There’s also a plethora of gig venues from the tiny Pink Room to the cavernous AO Arena, but it’s not great for clubs and, despite the legend of the Hacienda passed down from rave dad to rave son, never has been. Once again there’s too many rough bastards.

Where to buy? 

There are precious few nice bits in Manchester and they’re priced accordingly. Chorlton, West Didsbury but not East Didsbury which is a fucking dump, and that’s about it. Sale, Longsight, Crumpsall: all unpleasant and adjacent to places that are worse.

Hence the huge number of apartments in the city centre: reversing established tradition, Manchester’s a place where people flee from the suburbs. When you have kids you bugger off to Lancashire or Cheshire.

From the streets: 

Jamie Bates, aged 29: “It’s a real achievement to have not one but two football clubs who absolutely dominate the country while each in their own way being utterly loathsome. But that’s Manchester.”

Tom Booker, aged 52: “Manchester’s the best city in the world! But in other cities it doesn’t piss it down 24-7, so I’m moving to Nottingham.”

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How to not-quite-share your sexual fantasies

OPENING up about your sexual fantasies to your lover is the key to great sex, in theory, but nobody’s ever done it because what if your lover freaks the fuck out? 

Yes, they’re the one person who could bring your deepest, most wayward desires to life. But also the stuff you get off to is pretty depraved. Here’s how to nearly-but-not-really let them in:

Overthink it

Ideally you’d be in Morocco, smoking hash in a hotel overlooking the rolling desert, where any confession would be untroubling. Not fucking likely though, is it? So should mention you’d like to get spunked on while unpacking the dishwasher? Fill the bedroom with candles and recline naked on a bed of rose petals before announcing you want to be anally stimulated? Pop it all down formally in a midday email? You’re paralysed into inaction before you’ve said a word.

Hate yourself for your deviancy

A healthy, British level of self-loathing is an asset for veering off subject. Try to blurt out ‘I want to be spanked!’ and subconsciously correct it to ‘Thanked! For recording Grand Designs!’ Fantasies are a normal and healthy part of being a sexually-realised adult, except yours. Yours are fucked up. Admit them and your wife will never shag you missionary with the lights out ever again.

Fear their reaction

You make yourself vulnerable by confessing your fantasies. Your husband pulls that face he does when he hears your mother’s up for five days this Christmas. That’s expected, but have you considered you might trigger an equally unwelcome bout of reciprocal honesty? Like nuclear warfare, it escalates quickly: he dresses up as a fireman for you and suddenly all his kinks are fair game, no matter how hard to clean up after.

Believe you’re unique

Surely you’re the only woman in the world to have fantasies that are boringly close to Fifty Shades of Grey, which is why you slam your laptop shut when your boyfriend arrives in the middle of an agonisingly tame bondage video. Keep reminding yourself these fantasies are yours and yours alone, despite there being ten million hours on Pornhub alone dedicated to it. Never tell a soul, least of all the person you love.

Don’t admit them even to yourself

It’s best not to share your true desires even with yourself. Close your own mind, lie that sex on a chair satisfies your wild side and keep your filthy thoughts to yourself and your internet service provider. You can die curious, disappointed and humiliation-free. What more could any sexually-stifled human being wish for? When it comes to confessing your sexual peccadillos, denial is the answer.