12 Days of Manchester: 10 is the first address I had in Manchester
- The story of NQ editor, Matt Hartless
- Part of a series on Manchester's culture to keep you entertained over the break
Since I became editor of NQ, I’ve wanted to tell my story for a while.
My adult life began at the age of 18 when I moved to Greater Manchester, I lived in Salford for 4 years, including the first year when I was living in student halls at Salford University. My room was number 10, but as we each had our own mailbox, I was required to put room 10 as the first line of my address.
I studied Popular Music and Recording for my undergraduate degree over three years, which was great fun and encouraged me to hone my skills as a musician but it was moving to Manchester that was one of the best decisions of my life.
While the music course was pretty good and meant I could have more or less free reign over the studios and rehearsal rooms during my time there, it was being in close proximity to other musicians that was the biggest benefit to me.
I had lived in a small town before, where few people played instruments and fewer wanted to be in a band. In Manchester there are so many people to work with, bounce ideas off or to simply be inspired by.
Room 10 in my student halls was pretty awful and I had moved out before the year was up. In my second year in the rainy city, I lived in private student accomodation, which was slightly better, though not by much. During that year, I wrote and recorded my second studio album, Victory, but with the use of proper studios and instruments, it was more of a benchmark of an achievement.
The album was released the following year, in 2013 as I was in my final year of university and finally living in a house rather than student halls. That year was a pretty sobering affair. I got mugged for the first time at the year’s beginning and was on the dole at its end, having left uni and struggling to get a job. They sanctioned me at one point (I appealed and eventually won), so you could so I started and ended the year by getting mugged…
My fourth and final year in Salford saw me in probably the nicest house I’ve lived in since moving to the north west. It was a fairly simple two-bedroom house, but gave me and my housemate a decent amount of space. During that year I worked as a bartender and sound engineer for various bars and gigs, including many that I put on myself. The potential highlight of that year was actually my first live sound engineering gig, where I did the sound for Blossoms before they were famous, without realising who they were.
After that I moved to Withington. It was easier to get from there to my bar job in the city centre and also put me in closer proximity to the new group of friends I had made since leaving uni. During that year I went from being vegetarian to vegan, but languished in my own career ambitions, essentially living for my bar job.
I moved to Old Trafford, where a couple of weeks after moving in, I got mugged again, this time far more seriously – I was mugged by several people at knife-point who also set fire to my hair (I have dreadlocks). Joke’s on them, though – they are all in jail and I’m working as an editor.
During my time in Old Trafford, I worked more on sorting my career out – I applied and was successful getting onto a master’s course at MMU in Multimedia Journalism. I also went travelling in the summer of 2017, playing my guitar up and down Europe and then returned to England to reform my band and release my third studio album, the Whisper & the Hurricane before starting my master’s.
Through a series of unfortunate coincidences, I became homeless as I started the degree, but after a month of couch-surfing and some rough sleeping, moved into a house in Didsbury. The house was truly awful; black mould everywhere, poorly glazed windows falling to pieces without anybody touching them and nonsensical bills, but it mattered little as I spent as much time as I could outside the house, working on my master’s, strengthening my band and putting off having to settle on a career for another year!
Finally, this summer, my eighth year in Manchester began as I moved to Whalley Range, where I still live, my master’s completed, myself employed, my band full of people and acutally popular and certainly moulded and shaped by the rainy city now at the ripe age of 26.
Over the past eight years I have fallen in love with the city and cannot see myself leaving before I’m in my thirties, unless Brexit tanks the economy so much I have to leave the country… or immigration send me back to Ireland…
So Manchester, as always, I look forward to another year spent in your welcoming arms – bring on 2019!