Dan’s noted a tale of life with the hillbillies on the other side of Cheetham Hill Road. I say hillbillies advisedly. One of the things about a lot of Salford is the fact that you can sense immediately that you’re in it, another one being that you don’t want to be there. Nope, you don’t want to be in them thar hills, less’n you have business there and intend to get out of town before sundown.
The author says:
I had lived in Hulme and Moss Side for most of my adult life, and in rockier times had done two years in jail, so I didn't anticipate anything I couldn't handle.
Well, I lived in Hulme for ten years, and not as a student either. It’s a different atmosphere entirely. The area’s noted for its gunplay and serious crime generally. But the counterpoint to that is that nearly all crime there is serious. There was a lot less of the low level burglary/assault/street hassle generally held to characterize lawless areas. On the other hand, any young person’s introduction to crime wouldn’t be through burglary, street hassle, or aimless hooliganism: more likely it would be through being threatened or cajoled into minding a gun for somebody. There was less chance of actually being involved in crime, but equally there was no apprenticeship period: one false move and you’re in a world of trouble. And Salford? Nothing but false moves, which is what gives the area such a depressing feel:
The next day, we comply with the order. The house, I now realise, became a serious target only when my eastern European lodgers moved in. This can never be sorted out by diplomacy or drive-by policing. It is simple racist fury and it isn't going to stop. I go too, of course. We leave a sign in the window saying: "Polish people have moved out."
Well, you can argue the toss about whether it’s actually racism involved, the Poles being white and everything. But if you put a bunch of Poles into Salford, you confront a lot of total wasters with genuine, solid, self-respecting working class people and I guess that they just find it an unbearable insult.
There’s quite a lot of Poles on this side of Cheetham Hill Road. The local grocers sells tins of pickled pigs head along with Special Brew and other fine Danish products. That’s because it’s one of those Muslim no go areas the Bishop talks out of his arse about.