The Northern Line? What’s all that about?

Is there really an invisible Socio-economic line dividing this mongrel nation from Hull to Bristol, above which lurks a frightening land of flat caps, skinny dogs, curious meat products, reduced life expectancy, real ales and smoking factory chimneys?

It’s a strange concept really. In 2007 some guys at Sheffield Uni actually drew a line that divided the country East to West. It wasn’t a straight line either, oh no! It wiggled about following roads and flitting between fields and houses. It’s interesting stuff… they drew this line based on various bits of collected data about British life; access to university education, mortality rates, unemployment levels, house prices, that sort of thing.

Like I said, all interesting stuff. However, it definitely helped reinforce the old adage of it being “Grim up North.”

Then again, the North isn’t all lakes and hills and national parks, either – there are still some bloody grim bits. But y’know, there are grim bits in the South, too. Jeezus, Donal MacIntyre got mugged in Brixton and he had bleedin’ security and a television crew with him. And just look at all those happy, smiling faces in Eastenders. You know what I mean!?

In reality, the North is no longer the stereotypical white working class environment the media has long had us believe. It’s vibrant, spirited, funny, beautiful, full of energy and full of great people. And because of that, it’s now much more about identity than geographical location alone. You could emigrate to the South Pole and still see yourself as a Northerner. It’s that state of mind that says, “Yep that’s what I’m about. The North is where my roots are and actually I’m bloody proud of it.”

Which brings me nicely back to my point: what’s the Northern Line all about? It’s not a serious critique on life in the North, rather something that encourages, celebrates and engages with the very best the top half of the country can offer – the cracking cities, beaches, exhibitions, music, and more.

The site has been developing in it’s own unique and organic way, we are seeing contributions from the biggest cities to the smallest villages and we are quite frankly loving and actively encouraging it… so Sheffield to Shetland, Blackpool to Berwick… if you’ve got something worth shouting about, we’d love you to be involved! How? by reading (and contributing to) our blogs, by subscribing to our mailing list, by following us on Twitter and Facebook, and by wearing the Northern Line label with pride wherever you are in the world. Ok, that last one isn’t compulsory, but we do give 5% of everything we make to Shelter so it’ll rest heavy on your conscience if you don’t. ;o)

And if there’s anything else you think would help us keep the North firmly on the map, just let us know.

In the words of Mark E Smith…“The North will rise again!”