Although it didn't originate there, Manchester was transformed by Punk Rock in a more thorough and long-lasting way than anywhere else in the world. In 1976 it was a post-industrial city once renowned as a behemoth of international trade and a centre for world class arts and entertainment that was struggling to find a new role for itself. Yet events in that year would help lay the groundwork for the city's renaissance.
Here Gareth Ashton concentrates on the 18 months or so that the Punk boom lasted, tracing its roots among teenagers in the David Bowie and Roxy Music fan clubs of a few years earlier before examining the arrival of the Sex Pistols in the city to play a series of incendiary gigs during 1976 and the subsequent shock-waves that opened up fresh possibilities for a new generation.
The Do It Yourself ethos was perhaps the Punk movement's most valuable gift to a city shorn of self-confidence. Over the next few years Punks would design their own clothes, record, publish and distribute their own music and start writing and photography careers in a series of fanzines launched in the movement's wake. Early adopters would go on to fame and fortune but perhaps most importantly a substantial majority would not just depart for the capital as previous generations had done, they would do creative things in their own city under their own rules giving Manchester a head start on the rest of the country by at least a decade prior to the Acid House boom.'Manchester: It Never Rains' is a the definitive account of how the city started the journey from provincial after-thought to cultural capital.