Cottonopolis Hats at Oi Polloi

Imagine a future in a world not that far away (just down the road in fact) where Ian Hough’s brilliant but polemic Four Quadrants of Manchester¬†article is taken remotely seriously. Imagine it is taken so seriously that legions of Mostonians join up with their Montonian cousins and begin an attack on their South and East Mancunian rivals.

It’d be like Terminator 2 but in Berghauses. And it’d be fucking brilliant. Imagine it. A dust-up amongst the bright lights of the curry mile, with the locals buzzing off the extra trade but not so their windows going through when things turn nasty.

Picture the scene in Didsbury, where flowery dresses and Ken Barlow types dart about screaming “The Apocalypse is coming, save yourselves” before ditching their Starbucks and actually physically doing a shit in their pants.

On one side Christopher Eccleston is the charismatic Manc (Charismanc?) with a little tattoo of a bee above his left eye. His sidekick is played by Chris Coghill, resplendent in a pair of three stripes that nobody has ever seen before. On the other side, brow-beaten Coronation Street actor Bruce Jones dutifully leads his Tameside tearaways, with half man/half cat Ricky Hatton acting as guard dog and a reluctant mob of office types wearing their ties around their heads. “I know karate” one of them says, meekly. He doesn’t know karate.

It’d be like the Warriors but with cider. Oh and no leather waistcoats (apart from perhaps the toddlers of Wythenshawe, every single one of whom has been christened ‘Baby David’, it’s the law).

In Cottonpolis, the post-apocalyptic battle lines are drawn not just on geographical boundaries but on headwear. Quadrant 1 and 4 have claimed the cord, while the rag tag mob from 2 and 3 look uncharacteristically smart in what remains. If you need me to make you make a “Ricky has his Hatt-on” joke I will, but it’d probably be a bit obvious.

Famously, Corduroy fabric is known in some parts of the world as simply ‘Manchester’. In the sprawling post-industrial Cottonopolis, cord remained so durable it endured through the ages. And now, Eccleston and Battersby are facing off with their respective crews behind them about to have a right row. About what they’re not quite sure, but somewhere at the heart of the dispute is a disagreement about whose hats are the coolest.

You decide for yourself.

If you’re reading Spielberg, let’s talk.

If you want to stock up on props though, get over to Oi Polloi. They’ve got jumpers and scarves by Cottonopolis too, but we’ll save them for the sequel where the whole city has been flattened and everyone has to live on the freezing cold moors in army and navy bivouacs… Cottonopolis 2 – The Winter of Discount-Tents.


Mark Smith

I had pizza for tea.


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