Save Afflecks Palace
About 6 months ago Designer Magazine's London correspondent Will Slater wrote an article on the reported closure of Camden Market in which he gave a stern warning to our Manchester readers that if we don't stand up together, places like Afflecks Palace will be facing similar closure.
It turns out that that prophecy is looking ever more likely with rumours circulating of un-renewed leases from owners Bruntwood or the fact that if the lease is renewed many traders will be forced out of business by rent increases which could be more than double their current rates. Afflecks Palace has been operating for 25 years and currently 100 traders operate in the Manchester institution, which is currently facing an uncertain future or a doomsday future come June 14th. If the lease is not renewed could see the building turned into yet more expensive city centre flats or office space.
Although it's not the place it once was, a place where Designer Magazine's editor used to buy Levellers and Chumbawamba T-shirts at cheaper prices than most bootleg t-shirts are now, it's still the one stop for rock kids or retro indie boys who trying to be Ricky from the Kaiser Chiefs. For each generation it's been the outlet of choice for those who want something different from the Top Shop high street stores.
If Afflecks turns into flats it will have an effect which sends shudders through Manchester bigger than the IRA Bomb a number of years back. Councillors will start whispering the words "urban regeneration" in council meetings about the Northern Quarter, McDonalds and Starbucks will take the place of much loved cafe's such as Cafe Pop and the Koffee Pot and record shops are likely to be placed by a Tesco's Local. Sooner or later it will turn into a yuppies paradise mirroring Castlefield where the money talks and the bullsh*t walks.
And how long before these new residents collectively group together and complain that venues such as Night & Day or Dry Bar are too loud?
Bands have met and formed at Afflecks, it's the starting point for each generation realizing there's more out there than chainstores, but more importantly is we don't save Afflecks we could lose the Northern Quarter as we know it.
Words: Alex McCann
Photos: Aidan O'Rourke - www.aidan.co.uk
Click here to leave your comments on the Message Board
(NB: The message board opens in a new window so please disable your pop-up blocker to view)
THOUGHTS ON THE CLOSURE OF AFFLECKS PALACE
(This section will be updated as and when we get them)
"Afflecks closing. It will be very sad if Afflecks Palace closes, its probably inevitable though as Manchester becomes more uniform and corporate every hour. Most shops, pubs and places which are remotely individual are bought up closed down and replaced by yet another Starbucks, or block of flats inhabited by young professionals who object to surrounding bars and businesses. Afflecks employs over fifty people and their families, it has helped start up businesses as diverse as Identity, Hayley Cato, No Angel, Baylis and Knight and countless others but it will close to make way for more corporate nonsense. There's nothing we can do about it because the council want super casinos, not skate boarding. The council wants dutiful council and business tax payers who will pay out and pay up on time. Council business is all about money, not diversity of retail experience or culture. What will be next the Ritz?, maybe the Roadhouse, its really important that there's no where for young people to go then we can demonise them, if they don't fit in to the modern labour identity card way. How about a casino in the town hall, oh they've already got one and the councillors win it everyday as they dish out tenders and business deals to their mates" Tom Hingley - Inspiral Carpets / The Lovers frontman and former retailer in Afflecks
"You'd be hard pressed to find a place so ramshackle and interesting in NYC. And a condom shop? Come on, what are they playing at? Manchester is the indie city, and Afflecks is where the "indies" get there gear." Rupert Hill - Singer songwriter better known as Jamie Baldwin in Corrie
"Affleck's palace has long been a place that outsiders can go and be themselves. It's the place where many bands have been formed (and also buy some wicked duds). It's been a massive part of manchesters rich musical history and I should be very sad to see it go" Beard - Ryna guitarist and former Marion member
"There are so many flats in Manchester - it's gutting to hear yet another valuable and rare small business space is now at threat to these developers.
Afflecks Palace reflects Manchester, it's fashion and musical heritage. it's a haven for small creative and very important business's. When I do shoots for bands I always send them to Afflecks for outfits. It's part of 'our' northern quarter. We need it, We should fight to keep it." Karen McBride - photographer
FIRST IT WAS CAMDEN - NOW AFFLECKS
Read our article here about Camden Markets potential closure as well