What is a city without its people?

At the end of last year, I had a job at the University of Law which, overlooks the wonderous (ahem) vista of Piccadilly Gardens and while eating my lunch in the staff room I had the chance to see and wonder at how each person follows their own individual path, seemingly unaware of one another yet, occupying the same space.

Looking down on the city you live in, gives a literal and spiritual sense of perspective. Valuable at any time but especially during lockdown where the most common sight is the four walls you live in and your own reflection!

Directions is largely about all the individual unheard stories that we’re surrounded by in a city and how easy it is to feel as though yours is the only story that matters.

The buildings of Manchester signify its gradual growth over the years, unlike the much, maligned tower blocks which seem to be built at speed, with the singular purpose of making money for a handful of people, and have little use for everyone else.

 I came across a quote by an American writer, Alessandro Busa in his book, The Creative Destruction of New York City which pretty much sums up my opinion at the rate Manchester is growing upwards, ‘The space created by capital is a very seductive space indeed- provided you have the money.’

But ultimately this isn’t an angry poem about the commodification of space but a poem about perspective which, we all need when life, in the city, starts to feel a little claustrophobic.

This video uses the timelapse images of different areas of Manchester taken by Tommy Fegrado which beautifully capture the constant movement of the city which, most of us are too involved with to notice. I’m so glad Tommy let me use his images because I think so much of poetry deserves to be brought to life and not just live on a page and thanks to Nick Marchant for the edit, Tommy Fegrado for the visuals and Jon Hopkins for the audio. Creativity can kill claustrophobia.

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