The ultimate Manchester playlist: Thirty One.

Creative Tourist

An album featuring some of Manchester’s best music is little short of a love song to the lost and lonely

If you live in Manchester for any length of time, you come to realise it comes with baggage. Musical baggage. A sonic legacy that can at times feel a little repetitive. So news of a new Manchester album, called Thirty One and akin to a compilation of the city’s greatest hits, didn’t at first fill us with particular glee.

That was until Dave Haslam, DJ, writer and raconteur, put us straight. “I came up with a wish list for a Manchester album based not just on the music that I liked but the stuff that crosses generations and genres. The Manchester music scene is often stereotyped but Thirty One is designed to capture the variety of what is actually happening here.” The featured artists are indeed varied, with the track listing including everyone from Elbow to Airship, Noel Gallagher to I Am Kloot, and The Whip to Durutti Column.

The crucial thing about Thirty One is, however, nothing to do with its playlist. It has been created to raise funds for CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably. “Suicide is the biggest killer of young men under the age of 35 in this country,” says Haslam, “and this album is designed partly to raise money for CALM but also to raise awareness of mental health issues. We want to get the message across that CALM is there and that it’s important to make contact and to talk to someone about how you feel.”

So Thirty One is much more than Manchester’s attempt at a greatest hits album. In fact, featuring art direction from Peter Saville, design by the city’s own LOVE creative agency and photography from local snapper Thomas Cockram, the album is nothing short of a love song from the city to the lost and lonely – and who hasn’t, at one point or another, felt that way?

Thirty One is on sale now, and can be purchased in digital or physical formats. Images: Tom Cockram (photography); LOVE (cover artwork).

Pillock at Contact
Spotlight on

Fringe Theatre in Manchester and the North

Check out our top picks of shows previewing in the North West before heading to Edinburgh Fringe Festival later in the summer.

Take me there

Culture Guides

Rebecca Watson author photo
Literature Events in Manchester and the North

In between working out, then working through, your holiday reading pile this summer, find inspiration for your next bookish acquisitions from our selection of live events and exhibitions.