My work with the BBC last week took me to Salford, not a million miles from my home town, Halifax.
Media City, home to the BBC, ITV and others involved in the media production industry, has risen from the decayed remains of the old docks.
There’s something of the Nairobi Jockey Club about Media City.
The jockey club is a little bit of colonial white turf, with its white picket fence, beyond which is black Kenya. The picket fence – captured by Magnum photographer Stuart Franklin – is more than a barrier between inside and out, its a barrier between two separate worlds, two different times.
Broadway is Salford’s white picket fence, dividing the granite, glass and concrete of media land and the red-brick realism of earthy old Salford.
I thought the old folk of Salford would hold Media City in disdain. But at least one – a guy called Derek who likes rugby league – says that’s not quite the case.
Salford didn’t like the snootiness some in the BBC showed at the move up north. But it does seem that for a good number of people, Media City – and the hotel industry that has sprung up around it – has brought decent wages and job opportunities which, in turn, has led to an increase in home ownership and a sense of security and stature to old Salford.
“Do you and your mates drink at Media City then?” I asked Derek.
He smiles. “F**k no, lad.”
Some way to go then, until Salford loses its white picket fence.
Here’s my take on Media City: