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El Pais Profile of Mark Simpson

Last month, a profile of yours truly was published in the Spanish national El Pais, (words: Rafa de Miguel; photos: Manuel Vazquez). You can see my full ‘spread’ here. I think they’ve been very kind to an ageing Metrodaddy.

I was asked to suggest a suitable location in Manchester. I nominated Salford Quays, the shiny, lah-dee-dah, media-rich development on what used to be Manchester’s bustling docks – back when Manchester was a mighty industrial powerhouse and laboratory for capitalism, rather than city of signs, sounds, and Sambuca shots.

I thought it would be a suitable backdrop to talking about how metrosexuality and then spornosexuality turned the male body from something instrumental and (re)productive into something pleasurable and consumable. If you were lucky. 

There’s a gym, of course (Virgin Active), that overlooks the former docks where men laboured with rather than on their bodies. (The photo at top however was snapped as I loitered on a side street near Piccadilly Station.)

At one point, Rafa, Manuel and I were in a cocktail bar overlooking the Manchester Ship Canal and Media City. I was blathering on about the role of footballer David Beckham in normalising metrosexuality in the early Noughties, while being snapped and recorded, when one of a couple of thirtyish local lads sat at a table next to us (at noon, on a weekday, in an otherwise empty bar) piped up:

“‘Scuse me mate, what team did you use to play for?”

It was nice to be mistaken for someone with millions. And glamour, however faded. When informed I was just a writer, they looked understandably disappointed.

A bit later, the same guy piped up again, asking – probably because of my strange way of talking, and the equally strange words I was using -“Which country are you from, mate?”

“Yorkshire,” I replied.

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