10 Things You'll Recognise When You're A Mancunian Person Living Abroad
From the accent to its proper Northern pubs
When asked where I was from (a frequent question in a city where 80% of the population is expatriate) my reply would be met without fail with “ah football.” One time I had an Egyptian taxi driver who used the football lead in to tell me that he loved Newcastle United and could do a pretty impressive Geordie accent. Which was interesting.
Earlier this year a poll concluded that more Mancunians are moving abroad, and up to 25% of those are over 45 and are considering buying property abroad. Well, be warned – there are certain things you spot when you live away that not only remind you of home, but alert you to a fellow Mancunian in your midst.
1. The accent
The foghorn bellows of a true Manchester voice can be heard for miles (and if you’re alone with southerners and Scots your heart will skip a beat). Not all foreigners know there are cities beyond London and many also don’t understand the accent, until you mention football. You can’t blame them – it’s an accent that works best when you’re asking who wants to go to the pub.
2. An understanding of the importance of ketchup
I was often laughed at for requiring lashings of ketchup for anything from pizza crusts to shish taouk, which made me feel less than at home. But nobody beyond the borders of the North quite understands the versatility and necessity of the red stuff. You know you have a good server when the ketchup is brought without asking – and it’s Heinz!
3. Not all tea is created equal
Some people like to put hot milk in tea. Some don’t serve it with any milk and some people serve it as a small cup of hot water, with an organic cotton wrapped tea bag on a saucer next to it, a slice of lemon, fresh mint, and sugar. If you’re in America you will receive it cold and without milk.
Don’t let these experiences upset you, and don’t be afraid to give directions for a proper brew. It isn’t bossy.
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5. Pubs don’t feel as welcoming
While the rest of the world is fixated on “bars” the good old northern pub doesn’t really see the light of day beyond the UK, unless recreated as some kind of novelty.
But the taste of a pint and a full English, or gin and a Cesar salad, can never be recreated beyond British shores. The food and drink doesn’t have the same depth of flavour, the seats are wrong, and it wouldn’t work even if they deconstruct Sinclairs and move it piece by piece.
6. The markets aren’t the same
Manchester does a great market. From the new Arndale Market to the Christmas Markets and Afflecks Palace. But unless you’re in Camden or Kathmandu, don’t expect to beat this level of market quality abroad. Embrace the shiny mall and make friends with online shopping.
7. Manchester is hard to beat for live music
While Brisbane and LA might both have great busking scenes, it’s Manchester’s rock n' roll heritage that puts live music at the city’s heart.
And plenty of Manchester bands are still radio favourites around the world, so there’s always a chance of a reminder of home. Not to mention all the people who will ask if you know the Gallaghers (although they’re usually referring to Shameless, not Oasis).
8. Match day will never feel the same
It doesn’t matter how big the screen is or how fancy the beer, if match day isn’t spent on the terraces or in the local it just doesn’t feel the same. Not only is the time difference annoying, but watching a match with a pub full of people who don’t care about either side is the most deflating feeling in the world.
9. The humour is one of a kind
I like to think of myself as having a good sense of humour, but living abroad – and indeed on occasion making friends with people from the south – taught me that Manchester has its own sense of humour.
We laugh in the face of miserable weather and eat scraps with our fish and chips. That's just the way it is.
Believe me; banter flows better with mancs anyhoo.
10. Mind your language
When you ask people if they want to “go out for beers” they think you’re literally asking them to drink beer with you, so always ensure that “beers” isn’t used as a general term for any alcohol.
When talking about the family, explain who “our kid” is, before the person you’re on a date with suspects a dodgy back story and also be sure to mention that you may call your mum “mam” and your parents “king and queen”, but your mum is not the actual Queen of England.
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