Sunday, February 04, 2024

Appearing on the We Built This City podcast with Lisa Morton

“I just love telling people’s stories”

I was invited on to Lisa Morton's excellent podcast, WE BUILT THIS CITY.

Her blurb for me was lovely: "When Michael Taylor left Lancaster for university studies in Manchester, he gained more than a sociology degree - he found a city to call home, a true adopted Manc.

"Experience 1980s Manchester through Michael's memories of the clubs, relationships and a cultural vibrancy he came to embrace and love.

"What did Michael learn from being at the heart of the city’s business world as the editor of Insider, and what are the valuable lessons that have informed change in Manchester over the past 20 years?

"Michael’s career has taken him down several different avenues into politics and academia, so what led him to recently return to his first love, journalism and become editor of online magazine The Business and what does he feel is still left to be written?

"The conversation demonstrates the power of place in shaping identity and the relationships and connections that help to build a career in Manchester."

I probably displayed more vulnerability than I usually would, and at times it felt like therapy, but that's LIsa's skill as an interviewer. 

We also recorded it before the conclusion to the rape trial of Lawrence Jones, a senior figure in the Manchester tech world, which I wrote about. Lisa also wanted to remind me of my own shortcomings during the laddish 2000s and the times when she suffered harassment. 

I've known Lisa since 2000 a few years after she started PR company Roland Dransfield in 1996, one month after the fateful IRA bomb that tore apart the city centre.  From that point, the business, and its team members, have been involved in helping to support the creation of Modern Manchester – across regeneration, business, charity, leisure and hospitality, sport and culture.

To celebrate the 26 years that Roland Dransfield has spent creating these bonds, Lisa is gathering together some of her Greater Mancunian ‘family’ and will be exploring how they have created their own purposeful relationships with the best place in the world.

How to Fail, a great read by a very successful writer

A New Year resolution was to read more. That's it. Nothing fancy, just read more.

I'll update on here with reviews, possibly clustering on a few authors that I've binged on.

I breezed through the very readable How to Fail by Elizabeth Day, whose novels Paradise City and Magpie I really enjoyed. I have listened to the podcast too, but not enough to recall it in great detail.

This is a memoir of sorts, but ever so slightly self-helpy too. It gave me flashes of Miranda Sawyer's Out of Time - Midlife If You Still Think You Are Young, and triggered similar bouts of personal self-reflection, which I won't rehash, but I splurged on that here.

By my own measures, Elizabeth Day hasn’t failed at all: I would have loved to have been a feature writer for a national newspaper like the Observer, but it's all relative. She also got to Cambridge, and is an acclaimed novelist and successful podcaster. On the surface, it's hard to see the failure, but I suppose that's the point.

But this a warm and deeply honest book that is hugely generous for the personal vulnerability she shares.