Taking a bold stance against the British establishment, I’m spotlighting the resilient northern working-class individuals in the UK. In this narrative, Manchester’s vibrant music scene becomes a powerful metaphor for expressing a spirit of rebellion and a refusal to accept the status quo, reminiscent of historical moments of social change.
Drawing inspiration from iconic Manchester bands, we find a rallying cry for change. Through the lens of Rowetta, Shaun Ryder, Bez, and the electrifying energy of Happy Mondays, we channel a collective refusal to settle for what’s handed to us. The Stone Roses, with their timeless charisma, The Smiths, with their poignant lyricism and the innovative energy of New Order, unite in this anthem of resistance, echoing the spirit of Manchester’s working-class history.
Embodying the sentiment of renowned Manchester champion Anthony H Wilson, who famously declared, “This is Manchester. We do things differently here,” we embrace the essence of defiance, a thread woven through Manchester’s history of industry and innovation.
Manchester, a city with a rich history of rebellion:
Anti-Slavery Movement (late 18th century): Manchester played a significant role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, with campaigners like Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce gathering support in the city.
Women’s Suffrage (early 20th century): Manchester was a hub for the suffragette movement led by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters. The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) first meeting took place in Manchester in 1903, marking a pivotal moment in the struggle for women’s rights.
The Peterloo Massacre (1819): Manchester was the site of a significant event in British history known as the Peterloo Massacre. On August 16, 1819, a peaceful protest for parliamentary reform turned into a violent clash between the authorities and the working-class population, resulting in the deaths and injury of many protesters. This tragic event highlighted the demand for political reform and inspired further movements for democratic change.
Trade Union Movement (19th century): Manchester played a pivotal role in developing the trade union movement in the 19th century. Workers in the city organized to demand better working conditions and fair wages, leading to the establishment of trade unions and improving labour rights.
Our narrative resonates with the core belief that it’s our human right to demand respect for our working hours, fair wages, and a decent standard of living.
In the artwork, these portraits stand as symbols of the movement. Rowetta, Shaun Ryder, Bez, Happy Mondays, the Stone Roses, The Smiths, and New Order form a tapestry of defiance against the norm, much like historical movements that have shaped Manchester’s identity. This is more than just music; it’s a testament to the unwavering spirit of the working class, echoing their determination to reshape their reality throughout the pages of history.
In conclusion, this celebration of the rebel spirit that courses through Manchester’s veins is steeped in history. It’s a call to arms, a reminder that we have the power to challenge, question, and demand a world where respect, fair treatment, and a dignified life are the cornerstones.
We proudly say, “This is Manchester. We do things differently here.”
Books that may provide further historical context and inspiration for this narrative include:
“Manchester: A History” by Alan Kidd
“Shin-Dig at the Pig: The Working-Class History of Rock and Roll” by Mike Moskowitz
“Factory Records: The Complete Graphic Album” by Matthew Robertson
These books can offer additional insights into Manchester’s history and the influence of music on social change.
ALTERNATIVE, EDGY, ARTIST, ILLUSTRATOR & SHOP. WHO IS HELEN, AKA ELLUSE, THE ARTIST? 30 years of experience in Illustration and Fine Art. Open to collaboration, commissions and exhibitions. An artist that’s escaped the rat race and actively looking for opportunities in Fine Art & Illustration