In his memoir Jolly Lad, Quietus co-honcho John ‘Babadook’ Doran muses on the differences between Liverpool and Manchester - cities which are just 35 miles apart but have noticeably different cultural vibes. Doran (who is from Rainhill, near St Helens) posits that Liverpool is more insular and conceived by its residents as an almost abstract notion; Liverpool, he says, is essentially the community that lives there. Mancunians, on the other hand, are attached to the place itself: the buildings, their bricks, the architecture and the industry of their city. Both places have hosted significant numbers of Irish immigrants but the Celtic character has had greater impact on the Scouse personality. Manchester remains relatively Protestant in nature.
As such, Liverpool's musical contributions have been more “warm-hearted, psychedelic, and romantic” (see The Beatles, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Mighty Wah! and The Zutons), whereas Manchester's sound tends to be “urgent, intellectual and dark-hearted” like The Smiths, Joy Division and Simply Red. All this intersects with each city's respective drug culture: Merseyside being principally an LSD and marijuana kind of a place; Manchester more inclined to ecstasy and speed...