Having met the Ozzy Ryan whilst on a semester abroad in Zürich, and having learnt that he was quite the football fan, I concluded it would be criminal if I did not have him over to Manchester to see his team play.
Either way, I was intrigued to observe my friend and get his outsider’s view of Manchester. Firstly, he had not expected it to be such a student town. He didn’t like that and he didn’t know why, but he didn’t like it.
The Northern Quarter, or rather “the hipster part with all those shops we went to”, was his favourite part. As a man who wears Carhaart, is incredibly active on social media, and loves photographing the weird and wonderful, he fit in much better than I did, wearing my dad’s hand-me-down pink and black striped GANT long-sleeved top, as well as jeans with holes in them.
Anyway, perhaps the most surprising revelation was how he thought the Curry Mile to be “overhyped” — although the Ozzy was right in the sense that I had made it sound like a city centre of sorts. Living round the corner from the Curry Mile, I was relatively embarrassed to introduce my friend to the city by looking down it. “Where does that lead?”, he asked me. “Mordor — sorry — university”, I replied. He looked terrified. “Don’t worry, it’s safer down where we live”, I told him.
When we walked down Oxford Road the next day, it felt like I was on an open day. We got photos of the Ali G (“Who’s Ali G?” the Ozzy asked) as well as an obligatory selfie in front of Whitworth Hall. Later on, I found myself sneaking through the Town Hall, up and down staircases, searching for a good photo.
Could you compare Manchester to Sydney, his university city? Surprisingly enough, the comparison was entertained: “Sydney is completely different, as it’s not a student town like Manchester is.” The fact that he described Manchester as “a town” sums up his feelings, and the difference between the two cities.