It would seem Manchester (according to Journalist Jonathan Brown,) is the most linguistically diverse in Western Europe.  His article in The Independent Newspaper also describes Manchester as the “former industrial heartland”.  I cannot verify Mr. Brown’s facts behind his article and I for one would not argue that Manchester is now more linguistically and racially diverse than it ever was.  But I think those who run and govern Liverpool, Birmingham and London would have something to say about Mr. Brown’s Article.  He describes Manchester as a “former industrial heartland”.  There is no doubt the City had an industrial base but the Midlands has always been known as the Industrial Heartland of the Nation.  After all, the Industrial Revolution began in Ironbridge in the County of Shropshire in 1801.  So his description of Manchester as the “former industrial heartland” is so way off base.

He then goes on to talk about “Manchester’s Curry Mile” where one can get a decent Indian.  While I would not dispute this, it has long been known (even to overseas visitors,) that Birmingham’s Stratford Road, probably has more Indian ‘Balti Houses’ than anywhere else in the Country.

But the main point he makes is this.  Manchester has 200 hundred languages spoken at any one time.  This makes the City the most linguistic and racially diverse not just in the UK but in Western Europe.  Now I don’t have figures for the other major cities of Western Europe but what I do know and have known for years, is Manchester doesn’t hold the record as Mr. Brown thinks.  In 2007 London’s Greater London Assembly (GLA,) produced a report about GLA Economics entitled: “Working Paper London’s Creative Sector:  2007 Update” (http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/economic_unit/docs/wp_22_creative.pdf) which disputes this. The Report’s Author Alan Freeman (not the late DJ,) states there are 300 languages spoken in London alone.  This makes sense given the much higher profile London has over Manchester as an International City and an epicentre of Business, Fashion and Entertainment.  Manchester isn’t without clout in these areas but Jonathan Brown’s article while informative, is very much a Mancunian love-in and ignores many of the facts about other cities, especially those like London and Manchester that had great shipping ports.  Cities such as Liverpool and Bristol, Cardiff have also been and are racially diverse.  So while the article is informative about how far Manchester has come in terms of cultural and linguistic diversity, I very much doubt (in fact I know,)it  is not the most diverse City in the United Kingdom, let alone Western Europe.

Facebook can lead to unhappiness according to a new study.  The study carried out by researchers at the University of Michigan found a correlation between use of the Social Network and user-wellbeing.  This is a double-edged sword.   There is no doubt that face-to-face contact with people is the best medicine and loneliness, isolation bad medicine but speaking from a personal perspective, Facebook has been that “Someone [who] Saved My Life Tonight” if one remember the lyrics from the Elton John Song of the same name.  My 50th Birthday was spent in complete isolation with only Facebook for company.  I received more well wishes and happy birthday greetings than at any point in the previous 49 years.  There is also the fact that Facebook has kept me in touch with many fellow professionals, ‘friends’ from different walks of life and the various professional forums including the British Actor’s Network set up by that excellent actor ForbesKB.  I have found this Forum invaluable in terms of getting advice and support from fellow thespians.  Social Media including Facebook may not be the healthiest of pursuits but they are now a fact of life and it all comes down to how much time one spends there and how well (or not,) one uses it.

No one is truly honest with themselves 24/7 and one does not have to look too far to see why.  I have found job interviews to be one area where I virtually find it impossible to be myself and the reason why is the whole set up is artificial to begin with.  As someone who is as fluid as water, I find it difficult to pigeon hole myself as I am just too varied, too creative and have done too much to be put in such a limited situation as a question and answer session.  I live in the ‘here and now’ so an interview question  such as: “Where do I see myself in two years time” is virtually impossible to answer (for me,) when one finds themselves  working in a ‘Zero Hour’ culture where there is no contract of employment, no regular income, no stability.  When one has no idea what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, it is very difficult to say where one will be in two years time.

On another note why is it on dating websites so many nice people have failed to find love?  Why do humorous people laugh alone?  If everybody actually told the truth about themselves (and some do,) no one would respond to such an ad where someone describes themselves as selfish, overbearing, with no sense of humour whatsoever.  Similarly if one were to say ‘I don’t do fun’ they would be destined to a lonely fun-free existence.  We all have failings but as sales and advertising people know all too well, you have to make the bad look good by dressing it up and making it appealing.  And that is what many people do or attempt to do.  Similarly people who are successful know when to be sweet as honey and when to be as belligerent as…Well Lord Alan Sugar.  But even he (at one point,) had to go out and sell to people and be as sweet as honey.  It comes in swings and roundabouts.  There is a time and place and with each situation one finds themselves in, requires a sales job to fit the situation.  Be this a job interview or an ad on a dating website.  It beggars the question, what is truth and honesty?  Depends on the situation and where one finds themselves at the time.

On a lighter note, the American’s have that great saying:  “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  So the rumour on the Hollywood grapevine is Legendary Pictures want Christian Bale to reprise his take on the ‘Dark Knight’ and team up with Henry Cavill’s Superman in the a movie deal that will net him a cool $50 Million (£32 Million,) payday.  The deal aside, it makes perfect sense.  For one, it avoids the need to reboot the Batman movie franchise.  It could be argued the events of Dark Knight Rises (and the whole Movie Trilogy,) happened prior to the events of the ‘Man of Steel’ movie.  This would make the likelihood of such movie with both heroes far more probable as it would bring the two universes of Nolan’s Batman Trilogy and Man of Steel together forming the foundation of DC Movie Universe.  Something the fans of both movie franchises would welcome with open arms.  Bring it on I say.


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