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Empty Backstreet Symphony

15th Apr 2020


With Manchester well and truely in lockdown, the eerie quiet beauty of its empty streets has been captured by many on Social Media.


To be honest, for those of us who had grown accustomed to falling out of Mojo at 05:00 in the morning (back in the good old days), these sights are not exactly anything new, but at least they can now be appreciated by a wider and (presumably) more sober audience.


By far and away, one of the best videos we have seen comes from Castlefield resident Paul Walsh (not the former footballer), who captured the deserted city centre over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.


A videographer who - in the days when Corona was just a beer - specialised in Manchester sport, Paul has taken his camera along with him on his daily exercise whilst taking advantage of the lack of traffic.



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Set to a Mancunian soundtrack of Badly Drawn Boy's "Promises", the video heads along Deansgate to a deserted Peter Street and taking in, amongst other areas, the Northern Quarter; with plenty of the city's favourite night time haunts shut down completely - many not expecting ever to reopen again.

With shots from all across the city, including Old Trafford, the Etihad Stadium, a shut Piccadilly Station and a closed Arndale Centre, some of the most tear jerking images are of a homeless man on Market Street and the boarded up Wolf at The Door; which had only just reopened barely a month before the lockdown. Their "No cash, booze, or bog roll" sign adds some humour to the emotional footage.


The video ends back where it started, on the Deansgate approach to the new 'Nightingale' Coronavirus field hospital, inside the GMex (or Manchester Central to the less nostalgic amongst you). A thank you message to the NHS is painted on the road, and a discarded newspaper headline reminds us all to stay in doors.


The whole thing is beautifully shot, edited and produced, and will no doubt remain as a vivid memory for us in years to come. Failing that, at the very least, it should encourage others to do that 05:00 walk home from Mojo when some normality finally returns.




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