'Post-Rave Urban Growth Coalition'
Very interesting comment on the Manchester post below from Justin O'Connor, which I'm posting up here so it doesn't disappear into the oblivion of comments on old blog posts (as the internet tends to be fickle). Also, due credit to Meades' doc on regeneration and how it pertains to Manchester, where some of the inspiration for that post came from;
I was on some sort of think tank with Tony Wilson in 2004. He had just found Richard Florida's book and thought it said all that needed to be said about cities and that Manchester should pay circa 20k to get him to speak. I'd had a few arguments with Tony where he told me, rightly, that I was showing my ignorance (I remember I was slagging off baseball) and I took it on the chin. I tried the same on Florida, saying what a complete charlatan he was and how a 'cutting edge' 'creative city' should not be 97th in line to invite some tosser from Philadelphia. He completely rejected this and never really spoke to me again. The last time I saw him was in Liverpool at a RIBA do. He was saying that Liverpool was 'fucked' unlike Manchester - and the reason was that Manchester (in the figure of the unelected Howard Bernstein) had an enlightened despot. Which more or less set a seal on the increasing moral and political bankrupcy of the post-rave urban growth coalition which had taken over Manchester post-1996. Simpson, Johnson, Bloxham - now all millionaires - all claimed to have the new political vision for the re-invented city. Despite the fact that Bloxham was given chair of the arts council and now VC of Manchester university - a man of little culture and education, thus confirming the toadying of arts and education to the 'creative entrepreneur'- it is Wilson who represents its saddest failures. He made little money from it all, and really believed in it. Now subject to a nauseating hagiography by the city council they kept him outside for years, until the last 4 or 5, bringing him in when his critical faculties had been worn down by years of punditry. He used to say, of the post-rave coalition, 'the lunatics have taken over the asylum'; pigs and farm were more apposite.