The Real Corrie Cobbles? ... Moss Side, Victoria Park & Rusholme, Manchester!

Shunning the city centre for the day, I headed from Sackville Gardens in a southerly direction towards Moss Side. Canal Street could wait as I walked past Manchester's university, keeping the same energy I didn't need to look back with any anger. Wanting to go to a place where tourists don't think of going, I wanted to start a Coronation Street revolution! Corrie, it's never too late! 

Taking in my own flyover of the Manchester housing estate rows, I wanted to challenge everything I had been shown on ITV during Coronation Street. Moss Side fitted the bill, those back to back like red brick houses gave me a more authentic view. The gritty nature of those gritty Moss Side streets in the morning light gave me everything, I didn't need any camera filter to take away any illusions. Crondall & Alison Streets allowed me to immerse myself in my own Corrie dream, hang on it wasn't a dream because those real-life houses exuded more Corrie nature than those television sets have done, having watched the show since I was a child it was refreshing to be challenging this in Manchester. I was thankful that Miss COVID-19 had cancelled the Coronation St set tours over at Media City UK because Moss Side gave me the realest view for absolutely free! Moss Side was going to show me the real story beyond what we see over that Coronation Street 'wonder-wall'. There were no maybes, M-Side would be the one! 

Moss Side's character filled housing estate streets saved me, I didn't need to imagine what 'Jack & Vera's' house really looked like because in front of me stood a real life working class picture of real Coronation Street-esque houses. Hold on, Moss Side didn't have me scared because that morning time pursuit allowed me to shine on. I was being shown real culture, those acting stars faded away as I walked along that Moss Side housing street. I hope this truth doesn't leave Coronation Street crying their hearts out? These 'Oasis' references are giving me life! Taking what I needed from those Moss Side views, those authentic Manchester ginnels had me envisaging Corrie as if it was a real life set but the people weren't acting, it wasn't like Corrie at all because it was their real life situation. Forget the play centre they seem to be talking about on the Street because Moss Side served 'Little Hamza's Nursery', surely a representation of the real-life ethnic representation in that part of Manchester? Yes and that was lovely to see! Go on, M14!

Being the morning time I needed another caffeine fix because that McDonald's flat white hadn't quite given me the desired kick! Thinking about that Corrie connection, Claremont Road served more flavour than the whole of Weatherfield put together. The category was very much 'Somali Coffee House Realness!' Challenging the caucasian nature of 'Roy's Rolls', you already know 'Cafe Soomaal' had some delicious treats to be served up! I had already done my research before making tracks down to Moss Side, being familiar with such venues had me clued up. Ordering a coffee from the Somali style coffeehouse and eatery, on the off chance I saw some Somali biscuits on offer, also known as 'Buskut'. Being used to city coffee shop prices I have had to stay away from the likes of Costa and Starbucks unless its been a special day out, I can't afford those franchise hot drinks! Moss Side's 'Cafe Soomaal' was about to show me that premium coffee can be reasonably priced! Coronation Street ought to take some notes, they need some culture! Yes!

Costing less than a Starbucks venti brew and a microwaved pastry, my Somali coffee and packet of buskuts only set me back a fiver! The vibe within 'Cafe Soomaal' was strictly Somali but I loved my time listening to those East African conversations. I observed like nobody's business, I might've not understood what was being spoken about but it added to the vibrance of the place. Okay, let me get into how amazing the coffee tasted because I'm only getting started. The delicious coffee had a rich, sweet and smooth taste with everything tasting just right, Moss Side knew what places to show me! My coffee was a ten out of ten, for the cheap price I actually couldn't believe how expensive it tasted! Those Somali biscuits looked like Malted Milk fingers, they had a cinnamon after taste, of course I wasn't mad about that taste test! It was certainly different to me but to have an injection of culture felt great! If Manchester was really represented on such soaps like Coronation Street we would be able to see a bit of Cafe Soomaal. 

Crossing between Moss Side and Rusholme, I found myself passing through Manchester's famous Curry Mile. With time on my side I didn't have to worry about being late for my appointment at the Manchester Central Mosque. Keep an eye on this blog because much more about the mosque will be revealed within the next instalment of 'Like A Prayer'. Back to those cobbles, the Manchester based soap opera has stayed away from religion, if truth be told I have only seen Christianity referenced over the years on the show. Wanting to look closer at what a real Coronation Street religious vibe would be if Weatherfield actually represented the city's faith based truth. We do see 'token' based religious characters from other faiths, some have been featured in soaps like EastEnders but they're always to the extreme or haven't been researched well. My visit to the mosque gave me an insight about Islam and how that faith practices their truth within Manchester. Sure, I'm not a religious person but wouldn't rule out that there's fate.  

Absolutely, my visit to the Manchester Central Mosque allowed me to see a cross-section of the community practice their faith during the Zuhr prayer at 13:00 in the afternoon. If the bosses at Corrie ever decided to represent their city's soap with a slice of Islam, it would be interesting to see if a mosque could ever become a permanent fixture. Like Little Hamza's Nursery, it's about seeing a neighbourhood represented and a conversation taking place. Away from my crusade, I loved seeing another side of life in Manchester away from the city centre. Being in Victoria Park allowed me to see a protest of another kind, for many reasons it wouldn't be right for me to talk about that due to a few reasons. Aside from that we should challenge the things what we see, being a voice to those who co-exist with us in the community, imagining how it would feel to not be represented on the screen. Leaving those cobbles behind me for a quick second, I gained a real feeling in those neighbourhoods, they served a grit and a certain flare. Like a prayer, MCR! 

With my time up in Victoria Park, I retraced my steps down Denison Road back to Manchester's Curry Mile in Rusholme. I already knew what I wanted to eat, before that trip took place I had found my Afghan Cuisine Restaurant. Now, there might be a kebab shop along the cobbles in Weatherfield's Coronation Street but would they be anything like my Kobeda dish? Served on a freshly baked Naan bread, I enjoyed my Kobeda kebab with much gusto. I loved my rice dish, the sultanas and carrots reminded me of my favourite Xinjiang Pilaf. With no mint tea being served that day I politely settled for a can of Coke, I found a cup of mint tea down the road after my meal. I wonder if Dev's play on a kebab shop would ever serve a more authentic kebab? My judgements might seem hardline because I believe what I am expressing is valid. With no pubs in the area, how would anyone find a hotpot like Betty's? That was the question! With the vibe along Rusholme's Curry Mile, the 'Rovers' wouldn't be the one to 'Return!' C, can you kebab it? 

Content with my Moss Side, Victoria Park and Rusholme discoveries in Manchester that Saturday, it had given me life! In a basic sense, I saw elements of a real life Coronation Street in those three neighbourhoods each with a story to tell me. The soaps might present these areas on the television with a certain caucasian privilege, for that reason I tried my best to soak up an authentic Manchester vibe for myself. Those row houses with their own shared ginnels reminded me of the opening reel at the start of every episode of Corrie, the added down to earth vibe has made me view the show differently. Cafe Soomaal allowed me to see what the largely Somali corner of Moss Side enjoy on a Saturday mid-morning, seriously the best coffee! Faith came into my day, it was more like an education rather than an awakening but for sure it would be ace to see more than the chapel like we see on Emmerdale farm. Come on, ITV really should add some spice to their Corrie kekab shop like they do on Curry Mile! MCR, it's all from a place of love, M! 

Halalify Those Corrie Cobbles! 

Joseph Harrison

Comments

Popular Posts