We’ll have to roll with it as Gallagher heads for Yorkshire with an acid wit
Noel Gallagher hails from the ‘ wrong’ side of the Pennines but can expect a right good Yorkshire welcome in September. The Mancunian who wrote the songs which turned rock group Oasis into one of the world’s biggest bands in the 90s will headline Bingley Music Live.
Gallagher is one of the most interesting musicians to emerge from the North in recent decades: a fantastic singer- songwriter, witty, outspoken and full of selfbelief and ambition. A proud Manc, he usually pokes fun at Yorkshire when on stage in God’s Own County. We can normally take the joke.
Bingley Music Live is now in its 12th year and just keeps getting better. From a modest affair to showcase local music talent, it has grown to become one of Yorkshire’s premier music festivals with backing by Bradford Council. Around 15,000 music- lovers are expected to attend on each of the three days, putting money in the pockets of local pubs, restaurants, shops and hotels. True to its roots, there’s plenty of local talent on show too. York’s Shed Seven are headliners. Leeds’s Pulled Apart by Horses; RedFaces from Sheffield; and Wakefield’s The Cribs are also on.
The South has always been a bit bland when it comes to music. There are exceptions –
The Rolling Stones and The Who spring to mind – but the North consistently produces more interesting artists.
From The Beatles to The
Smiths, via the Stone
Roses, Joy Division,
Pulp and the Arctic
Monkeys, there’s something in the air up here that drives creativity and imagination.
It’s a spirit which reflects where the North has come from and where it’s going.
I had to laugh last month when I read the latest theory about the North- South divide. An academic took what could be described as a ‘ creative’ approach and redrew traditional dividing lines according to where London’s sphere of influence extends to.
His theory was that towns and cities which were two hours or less commuting time from London are in the ‘ South’ and those that aren’t are the ‘ North’. In a flash, Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds moved to the ‘ South’ while Bradford, Huddersfield and Liverpool remained the ‘ North’. My view is simple: Leeds and Bradford are defined by themselves, not their proximity to London.
But it does raise questions about the power that the capital exerts. It should remind us – yet again – that the UK’s economy needs rebalancing. Investment remains focused on the South- East while the rest of the country gets crumbs from the table.
As chair of the Bradford Economic Partnership I know what’s in our power to change and what’s not. Bradford’s a great place for business but has suffered from decades of under- investment in our built environment and this is a brake on business.
We can only do so much: Government needs to put its hand in its pocket and invest in education, skills and training, infrastructure and public services. Funding for transport is critical. Eyebrows were raised in February when a House of Commons report found that public spending on transport was higher in parts of North than in the parts of the South- East. It showed that in 2015/ 16, transport spending per person was £ 401 in the
North- West, £ 380 in Yorkshire and the Humber and £ 365 in the South- East. So far so good.
But all was dwarfed by London, where spending per person was a staggering £ 973. It isn’t fair.
Things can change: Manchester had problems but now it’s booming. The skyline is populated by building site cranes as property investment pours in. Bradford is half the size, but we could learn a few things about ambition and self- belief over the Pennines.