Everyone in Manchester has an Afflecks story.
And as the iconic independent shopping arcade prepares to mark its 40th anniversary, it’s hoping to find some of the best ones in the city for a celebratory new project.
It has commissioned photographer Paul Wolfgang Webster, who has worked in the National Portrait Gallery, to take 40 pictures of 40 people who have special untold stories about the place.
READMORE: How Afflecks became home to the last cassette tape shop in Britain – and the center of a national revival
Those with the best stories will then be chosen for the portraits, which will then be unveiled in an exhibition in the summer, before being immortalized in a book.
Anyone who has a special story that they’d like to share can submit it to this email address: [email protected]
Andrea George, Director for Town Center and Consumer Brands at Afflecks, said: “We want to celebrate 40 years of people, projects, ideas and enterprise.
“Afflecks has always been about his people, and that’s why the Afflecks community is at the heart of this project.
“It means so much to so many – it’s a safe place, a creative hub, a symbol of independent enterprise and it’s been at the center of an entire pop culture movement.
“We want to capture the ultimate ‘Afflecks Family Album’; the people from that incredible journey, from fans who have been shopping there since the 80s, to those who have run businesses, and anyone who has a special connection or story to share.
“I personally have such special memories of being immersed in Afflecks when I was a teenager, buying my first pair of Red or Dead shoes!”
Afflecks opened its doors in 1982, in the nascent years of what would become known as the Northern Quarter, and becoming a magnet for alternative culture in the city.
With its vintage stalls, selling everything from t-shirts and posters to Star Wars figures, it was even once graced by the presence of Lady Gaga.
The star was playing in Manchester on her 2014 European tour and – somehow – managed to spend £8,000 on a shopping spree.
Afflecks’ then manager Tony Martin said at the time: “She just turned up here, it’s quite bizarre but we’re delighted
“She was wearing a full length gold dress, carrying her little dog and with a seven foot minder.
“A few of her dancers came in here last time she was in Manchester and bought posters for her dressing room, so maybe that’s how it’s got back to her about Afflecks.
“We get quite a few celebrities in here but I think Lady Gaga is the biggest.”
On the more lo-fi end of things, it’s also home to the very last cassette tape shop in Britain, Mars Tapes, which friends Alex Tadros, Giorgio Carbone, and Borja Reguira opened in 2019.
And then November last year, one of its shop owners, jewelry outlet Sour Cherry, posted what appeared to be paranormal activity afoot.
After briefly now being threatened with closure in 2010, the arcade is owned and operated by Bruntwood Works.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.