- Format: Paperback
- ISBN: 978-1-5261-7406-2
- Pages: 384
- Price: £12.99
- Published Date: November 2023
At the end of the 1970s, Manchester seemed to be sliding into the dustbin of history. Today the city is an international destination for culture and sport, and one of the fastest-growing urban regions in Europe. This book offers a first-hand account of what happened in between.
Arriving in Manchester as a wide-eyed student in 1979, Andy Spinoza went on to establish the arts magazine City Life before working for the Manchester Evening News and creating his own PR firm. In a forty-year career he has encountered a who's who of Manchester personalities, from cultural icons such as Tony Wilson to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and influential council leaders Sir Richard Leese and Sir Howard Bernstein.
His remarkable account traces Manchester's gradual emergence from its post-industrial malaise, centring on the legendary nightclub the Haçienda and the cultural renaissance it inspired.
'Every great city needs a great chronicler. We are lucky to have Andy. Read on.'
'This is a fabulous, compelling book with a cast of larger-than-life characters. First as observer, then as participant, Andy has enjoyed a ring-side seat in the renaissance and development of Britain's most exciting city.'
'Andy Spinoza knows the real story.'
'The strength of the book is its immediacy. I think he also considers it a book not just about Mancunians but for them too. It is a love letter to his adopted city.'
Jon Talbot, Literary Review
'The author draws the "key players" in the rebirth of modern Manchester with a vividness that might have eluded a conventional historian.'
Jonathan Derbyshire, Financial Times
'A flamboyant hybrid, conveying the nitty-gritty of municipal politics and private-public property deals with the zest and wit of the best journalism. [...] it is likely to become a touchstone for all chroniclers of modern Manchester.'
Andrew Martin, Times Literary Supplement
'Elegantly interweaving his own biography with that of the city, Spinoza narrates with panache the story of how the place once known as Cottonopolis has reinvented itself.'
Julian Coman, The Observer
'A personal and sociological look at how its fortunes changed, featuring encounters with all the expected characters like Tony Wilson and even Alex Ferguson.'
Eoghan O'Sullivan, The Irish Examiner
One of their best music books of 2023
'Beautifully written - a great read that feels important. The musical thread through the different eras is persuasive without feeling forced. This is an inspiring personal story, in which the power of Manchester rises from the page.'
Paul Unger, Editor, Place North West
'A compelling retelling of the origin story of the original modern city.'
Thom Hetherington, Manchester Art Fair
'It's a fantastic book.'
Ian King, Sky News
'You've got to buy a copy of this book, it's a great read... It really embraces the Manchester we see out of our windows today. The stories in it are just fantastic.'
Phil Trow, BBC Radio Manchester
'Manchester unspun sorts the truth from the spin of the city's stories to reveal a remarkable journey, describing the hubris,scandal, money and politics which played out during its remarkable reinvention.'
John Robb, Louder than War
'As books about Manchester go, there are plenty to choose from, but there are few as well sourced, well written and expansive as this one.'
Michael Taylor, The Business Desk NW
'Andy Spinoza has had a front row seat to the transformation of this city, and it really comes across in his magnificent book.'
Dr Vikas Shah MBE, author of Thought Economics
'This is a fantastic book for anybody interested in Manchester's unprecedented modern renaissance.'
Thom Hetherington, founder of Landing Light
'What a great read! At last someone who was there and knows, telling a fascinating story of a city's rebirth. Wonderfully written too. I couldn't put it down once I'd started.'
Mike Pickering, musician and DJ
'Overall, Spinoza's memoir is very well written and he offers an antidote to the deficient journalism we have suffered over the popular music history of Manchester and its story as Britain's "second city".'
Richard Witts, Popular Music
Introduction: how a city got high on music page
Place names: a stranger's guide
1 The city calls
2 A meeting in Moon Grove
3 Dirty old town
4 All the news not fit to print
5 A fiend dropping in
6 Left turn, U-turn
7 Village people and rock-star developers
8 Haçienda hitman
9 Cash E-conomy
10 Simply regeneration
11 Planet Hulme, city conversations
12 Suited, booted and branded
13 Manc mafia on the Med
14 PR potholes on the road to hell
15 Football, fashion and food
16 University challenge
17 The Haçienda must be built
18 The merchandising of memory
19 Pop and politics, Wilson and Burnham
20 Devolution and dissent
21 Who wants to live in a city without culture?
22 'Intention: To restore a sense of place'
Andy Spinoza moved to Manchester from London at eighteen and never looked back. An early member of the Haçienda, he reported on the city's music scene for the NME and The Face. He founded alternative magazine City Life in 1983 and spent ten years as a gossip columnist for the Manchester Evening News. As boss of his own PR company, he promoted the dynamic post-industrial Manchester throughout the 2000s and 2010s. Married with three grown-up children, Andy lives in Stockport with his wife, Lynne.