It is rare that I get a laugh out of AJ these days, so I'm grateful for Austin Williams' dyspeptic piece on Manchester Transport Interchange (AJ 06.04.06), and doubly delighted to read your contorted editorial attempts to distance the magazine from it.
I am amused by Williams' take on Manchester. Clearly, the director of the Future Cities Project doesn't get out much.
Places outside Manchester also have unhelpful cabbies, breezy spring mornings, tattoo parlours and abandoned bookshops.
Mancunians treat them as brothers, and travel politely.
I myself have seen discarded kebabs on the streets of London and refuse to recognise them as anything but gold.
Might you reconsider your 'people's photography' policy?
It is one thing to attempt to correct the distortions of architectcommissioned people-less images, it is quite another to publish badly executed, wilfully prejudicial images of Northern townscapes.
You did it before, in an equally patronising study of the MBLCdesigned Lock apartments, also in Manchester (AJ 24.11.05).
Which M&S is not 'mundane'? 'Anodyne' though Selfridge's may be, Manchester does have two of them. The Arndale is 'dated'; now there's a surprise. Many would agree that Urbis is 'monstrous'. Many would also agree that it is striking, magni-cent and memorable. Williams is, of course, entitled to his opinion, as I am equally entitled never to trust the opinions of a man with facial hair.
I contest that the Manchester Transport Interchange, misplaced as it may be by the transport planners' view of things, is more striking and better achieved than we might have expected.
'We' being the people of Manchester, who take great pleasure in our city and in the progress it is making.
Phil Grif-n, Manchester