Happy Manchester Day!

There is to be a big parade through Manchester city centre to celebrate ‘Manchester Day’ on June 20. The super soaraway Manchester Evening News has the exclusive:

The event – which it is claimed will rival New York’s world-famous Thanksgiving Day parade – will be the centrepiece of an event council chiefs reckon will give residents the chance to celebrate life in Britain’s second city.

Manchester Day, on June 20, is expected to see thousands of people flood on to the streets with floats, inflatables and colourful costumes.

Communities will be invited to work with professional artists to design their own costumes and floats.

They will be encouraged to highlight what Manchester means to its residents and the theme of the parade will be ‘out of this world’.

Council bosses want the event to celebrate Manchester’s ‘cultural diversity, history and vision for the future’.

I think by ‘vision’ they meant ‘hallucination’. To save time, why not just put loads of public money in a big hole and set fire to it?

Still, it’s easy to knock these things so instead I shall use some of Manchester’s famous ‘can-do’ spirit to generate some ideas for the parade.

1) March of the Puritans

Leading the procession, this float would celebrate Manchester’s spearheading of the smoking ban and our leaders’ enthusiasm for exclusionary and prohibitionist policies. It consists of Pat Karney slapping himself repeatedly in the forehead with a stone tablet on which is carved the ubiquitous no-smoking sign, while the Latin chant from Monty Python and the Holy Grail plays over the speakers.

2) The Urban Splash Northern Clearance

Long-standing Manchester residents who have been forced out of their homes by compulsory purchase order will be chained and yoked at the neck and made to pull a gigantic golden throne on which property boss Tom Bloxham reclines on a huge pile of money that he has made from expensive yuppie new-builds.

3) Saturday Night: The Printworks Experience

This float would celebrate the vibrancy of Manchester’s nightlife. Middle-class thugs in Primark and Ben Sherman stand at the bar and drink real booze at a gerrybuilt mock-up of one of the city centre’s many Yates’s, All Bar Ones, Hogsheads and Wetherspoon’s. Fun for all the family as fights break out, people get kicked off the float by security and drinkers occasionally throw half-full plastic pint glasses into the crowd.

4) ‘You’re Twisting My Melon, Man – Again!’

This float would salute the entrepreneurial ability of ageing cultural figures to shake more money out of a nostalgia franchise that has been plugged relentlessly for the last twenty years. Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Mark E Smith and the guys behind Factory Records stand over a dead horse and beat it with whips as ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’ plays on a loop over the speakers. This float would follow a specially diverted route off the edge of Salford Quays.

5) The Hiya Dancers

No Manchester parade could possibly be complete without a celebration of the city’s ‘Shameless’ culture. Real-life social housing tenants, as a condition of their benefits, must dance for hours along the parade route. Ringmasters Paul Abbott, Jason Manford and Vernon Kay will be on hand with their cattle prods in case anyone starts to flag!

6) The XFM Stepping Stone

This float would take the form of a huge, stinking, carrion-infested landfill, made entirely of old records by indie bands like the Editors, Scouting for Girls, Bloc Party and other groups of pallid, V-necked arseholes who think the world owes them a fucking living. On top of the landfill there would be a big round piece of stone, on which XFM DJs could precariously balance, rehearsing their stand-up routines as a big neon arrow saying LONDON THIS WAY! flashes on and off in the background.

7) All Aboard: The Magic Bus Deregulation Waltz

Throughout the procession, the six or seven different bus companies that have bought up the profitable city centre routes could weave in and out of the parade, causing confusion and injury.

Unless otherwise specified all floats, bunting and ticker tape will be made from environmentally friendly papier-mache mulch made from unread copies of the Manchester Evening News and those glossy property supplements you find in Deansgate bars.

‘I’ll have my action plan on your desk first thing tomorrow!’

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