Here’s Andy Burnham’s genuine Manchester-themed playlist

Bez knows what's what. The Happy Mondays in 2006. Image: Stig Nygaard/Wikimedia Commons.

On 15 March, Labour's Andy Burnham launched his manifesto to be the first mayor of Greater Manchester. And in case we were in any doubt about which city he was campaigning to be mayor of, the event was very carefully stage-managed.

The food on offer included Manchester tarts and Eccles Cakes. The event began with a video highlighting Manchester's history of radical left-wing thought, all set to the tune of “This is the one” by the Mancunian band, the Stone Roses.

And the playlist running in the background while attendees first gathered was composed entirely of songs from or about Manchester. All Madchester, all the time.

One can mock all this. In fact, one did:

But to be fair to the campaign, Manchester has produced some genuinely fantastic music. What's more, the city's music scene was at its peak in the late 1980s, when Burnham himself (b.1970) would have been at a particularly formative age.

Now the campaign is over, Burnham has won handsomely, and I won't have to deal with any irritating criticisms that I'm showing unfair favour/taking the piss. So here, courtesy of his press team, is the Burnham campaign's complete Manchester mix-tape. There's a link to a Spotify playlist below.

  • One Day Like This – Elbow
  • Manchester – The Beautiful South
  • The Real Thing – Lisa Stansfield
  • This is How it Feels – Inspiral Carpets
  • Chocolate – The 1975
  • Half The World Away – Oasis
  • Sit Down – James
  • Love will tear us apart – Joy Division
  • This is the One – Stone Roses
  • Step on – Happy Mondays
  • Search for the Hero – M-People
  • Proud – Heather Small
  • Not Nineteen Forever – Courteeners
  • Charlemagne – Blossoms
  • Bitter Sweet Symphony – The Verve
  • Station Approach – Elbow
  • Regret – New Order
  • Ten Storey Love Song – Stone Roses

You can listen to the playlist here. As a wise man once said: “Mad for it.”

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and also has a Facebook page now for some reason. 

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Barnet council has decided a name for its new mainline station. Exciting!

Artist's impression of the new Brent Cross. Image: Hammerson.

I’ve ranted before about the horror of naming stations after the lines that they’re served by (screw you, City Thameslink). So, keeping things in perspective as ever, I’ve been quietly dreading the opening of the proposed new station in north London which has been going by the name of Brent Cross Thameslink.

I’ve been cheered, then, by the news that station wouldn’t be called that at all, but will instead go by the much better name Brent Cross West. It’s hardly the cancellation of Brexit, I’ll grant, but in 2017 I’ll take my relief wherever I can find it.

Some background on this. When the Brent Cross shopping centre opened besides the A406 North Circular Road in 1976, it was only the third large shopping mall to arrive in Britain, and the first in London. (The Elephant & Castle one was earlier, but smaller.) Four decades later, though, it’s decidedly titchy compared to newer, shinier malls such as those thrown up by Westfield – so for some years now, its owners, Hammerson, have wanted to extend the place.

That, through the vagaries of the planning process, got folded into a much bigger regeneration scheme, known as Brent Cross Cricklewood (because, basically, it extends that far). A new bigger shopping centre will be connected, via a green bridge over the A406, to another site to the south. There you’ll find a whole new town centre, 200 more shops, four parks, 4m square feet of offices space and 7,500 homes.

This is all obviously tremendously exciting, if you’re into shops and homes and offices and not into depressing, car-based industrial wastelands, which is what the area largely consists of at the moment.

The Brent Cross site. Image: Google.

One element of the new development is the new station, which’ll sit between Hendon and Cricklewood on the Thameslink route. New stations are almost as exciting as new shops/homes/offices, so on balance I'm pro.

What I’ve not been pro is the name. For a long time, the proposed station has been colloquially referred to as Brent Cross Thameslink, which annoys me for two reasons:

1) Route names make rubbish modifiers because what if the route name changes? And:

2) It’s confusing, because it’s nearly a mile from Brent Cross tube station. West Hampstead Thameslink (euch), by contrast, is right next to West Hampstead tube.

Various other names have been proposed for the station. In one newsletter, it was Brent Cross Parkway; on Wikipedia, it’s currently Brent Cross South, apparently through confusion about the name of the new town centre development.

This week, though, Barnet council quietly confirmed it’d be Brent Cross West:

Whilst the marketing and branding of BXS needs to be developed further, all parties agree that the station name should build upon the Brent Cross identity already established. Given the station is located to the west of Brent Cross, it is considered that the station should be named Brent Cross West. Network Rail have confirmed that this name is acceptable for operational purposes. Consequently, the Committee is asked to approve that the new station be named Brent Cross West.

Where the new station will appear on the map, marked by a silly red arrow. Image: TfL.

That will introduce another irritating anomaly to the map, giving the impression that the existing Brent Cross station is somehow more central than the new one, when in fact they’re either side of the development. And so:

Consideration has also been given as to whether to pursue a name change for the tube station from “Brent Cross” to “Brent Cross East”.

Which would sort of make sense, wouldn’t it? But alas:

However owing to the very high cost of changing maps and signage London-wide this is not currently being pursued.

This is probably for the best. Only a handful of tube stations have been renamed since 1950: the last was Shepherd’s Bush Market, which was until 2008 was simply Shepherd's Bush, despite being quite a long way from the Shepherd's Bush station on the Central line. That, to me, suggests that one of the two Bethnal Green stations might be a more plausible candidate for an early rename.


At any rate: it seems unlikely that TfL will be renaming its Brent Cross station to encourage more people to use the new national rail one any time soon. But at least it won’t be Brent Cross Thameslink.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and also has a Facebook page now for some reason. 

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