A Manchester Spring

August 11, 2015

‘Every Community that is getting stronger has at its centre an effort to build up a wider circle of people who choose to take action for the common group’ – When People Care Enough to Act

As a 17-year-old I was a rebel. Joe Strummer and Johnny Rotten’s words crashed around my brain like a wakeup call, the Blitzkrieg Bop was the soundtrack to my mundane schoolboy routine and I seethed with youthful self-righteousness and angry, red, chin acne.

Or at least that’s what it seemed like in my head; fact was I went to a bit of a posh school and we lounged around the 6th Form Common Room most of the time being sarcastic and a bit fey.


But something about that period of time and the Punk Movement resonates again with me today. What was thrilling about it was the overwhelming sense of non-conformity, of not toeing the line, an expression of counter-cultural angst and getting off your backside and creating something with sheer energy and disruption. In musical terms it was challenging and then moving aside the pomp of technically gifted but soulless stadium rock and repelling the bourgeois status quo.

The wrath I felt towards Emerson Lake & Palmer and Genesis at the time, however, pales into insignificance today as the world makes less sense than ever. Kids institutionally abused or gunned down in schools, drones eliminate the bad guys in foreign lands along with innocent women and children, sociopathic financiers continue to collect millions in bonuses, governments lurch from one term of office to the next, dependent upon those who contributed the most to their never ending election campaigns.

And we sit back, consumers, formerly known as citizens…materialistic, egocentric, conformists, debt ridden, apathetic; spellbound by the media into not caring about future generations.

But listen up! There is one area that is relatively unaffected by the assault of consumerism and that is community groups and community life, where people are drawn together through a mutual love of something – irrespective of whether that thing is football, knitting, hill-walking or singing.

This fanzine is full of uplifting stories of people and business who do care and are doing extraordinary things together. Have a read. Have a think. Then act. Become part of the Forever Manchester family and let’s evoke that punk spirit and re-build our status as citizens.

Recommended reading: The Abundant Community by John McKnight & Peter Block

See you soon,

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