'I’ve lived in sunny Salford – handy for weed – and Didsbury Village –handy for cheese, but I’m happy right here for the time being, waking up of a morning and blowing the froth off my latte as I stare out over Stretford Arndale...'
What’s your name?
Anthony Scott Crank. People ask if my surname is a stage name, but come on, would anyone with any clout choose ‘Crank’? During my wilderness years on TV I often hoped my moniker would become something like Cockney rhyming slang, as in ‘I’m going for an Anthony Crank...’ Alas, it wasn’t to be…
What do you do?
I’m an Acting Coach at The Manchester School Of Acting. It’s a brilliant school that’s spawned the majority of the famous and uber-talented Northern faces that you see in film, TV and stage, all under the mentorship of the demi-god that is Mark Hudson. I spend the majority of my week grimacing and yelling out David Mamet quotes such as ‘Invent Nothing, Deny Nothing, Accept Everything!’ and ‘If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t fucking exist!’ at four hundred hungry students. It really is the best job in the world. I’m also just about to finish my first TV script ‘BEEF’. It’s a six part, very dark comedy drama about the lives of a group forty-something, sweaty hairy blokes living in London. It’s about masculinity, testosterone, friendship, priorities, depression, sex, drugs, and growing old disgracefully. I’m pretty damn chuffed with it so far.
Prior to this I have enjoyed – and endured – a myriad of unusual career choices. As an actor I’ve shown my waxed arse on Shameless a good few times, grappled Beverley Callard to the floor outside Bolton Town Hall on Corrie, and treaded many a Mancunian board in plays such as ‘The Rainbow Connection’, ‘Fetish Knights’ and ‘The Newspaper Boy’. I’ve written for an abundance of publications, mainly the lovely Attitude magazine, plus I DJ at all manner of shindigs, including the ubiquitous and always brilliant ‘Off TheHook’.
I spent 11 years in that London spouting crap on a regular basis as a TV presenter, most infamously for T4, MTV, and BBC Holiday, where I experienced everything from having my arse cheeks read by plastic-faced Celebrity Rumpologist Jackie Stallone, went on a week-long cycling holiday with Angela Rippon, and was made to sing the original ‘Pink Panther’ theme tune to a befuddled Beyoncé Knowles. And I got paid for it. And I got to share a dressing room with Steve Jones.
Where do you live?
Old Trafford, slap bang between MUFC and the cricket ground. I’ve been back in Manchesterford four years now. I’ve lived in sunny Salford – handy for weed – and Didsbury Village –handy for cheese, but I’m happy right here for the time being, waking up of a morning and blowing the froth off my latte as I stare out over Stretford Arndale. I aspire to be a resident on Beech Road in the next couple of years though …
Tell us the story of how you ended up in Manchester.
I was born Scott Greenwood in Ashton-under-Lyne, but adopted out to Mr and Mrs Cranky within days of showing my face. I ended up in the arse-end of Warrington for my formative years. By the time I was sixteen the ‘Madchester’ scene had kicked off and I was determined to throw myself head-first into it, and I did. I remember stumbling across Afflecks back when it was the place to hang-out and getting a massive stiffy over 24” bell-flared loon pants from Go Vicinity, just like Tom from Inspiral Carpets used to wear. The first ever club I went to was the mighty Hacienda, on a Thursday night in 1991 – ‘Beautiful 2000’ – where I spent the majority of the evening open-gobbed at all the weird and wonderful people. I wore cream hemp dungarees and a ‘Candy Flip’ hair-do while my mate Alison got off with the singer from ‘World Of Twist’.
I was instantly hooked. I spent every weekend getting the train up to Manc. I threw myself into the club scene with gusto, and I was lucky enough to experience some of the ground-breaking nights and clubs that put Manchester on the global scene. Most Excellent, Flesh, Space Funk and Manumission at bloody AXM bar were rocking the city, and before long I earned my pink stripes and stumbled across Manto Bar and Paradise Factory, came out the closet kicking and screaming, caused a lot of trouble, and moved to the beautiful city on a permanent basis. I stayed until 1997, then upped sticks to find fame and fortune in London for ten years. It was there, after a lot of ill-placed ventures, pissing money up the wall, and generally dribbling into the lap of June Sarpong every weekend on T4, that the shit hit the fan and I ended up going bankrupt for nearly 200k (before it was the done thing, thank you!). In 2008 I packed up my old kit bag and decided to move back to Manchester for good. I’ve never felt richer, more content and more proud to be from – and back in – Manchester ever since.
What’s great about this city?
It’s tough as old boots, and I like that a lot. It’s unpolished, inconsistent, messy and a hell of a lot of trouble. I truly believe that in the UK, Mancs as a whole are superior beings, hands down, no messing about. The creativity that oozes out of Manchester, especially from the arts/queer/music/media scenes, is original, and we stand head and shoulders above other UK cities. I love being in the company of other Mancunians, I feel like we’ve got that ‘thing’ that ‘The Sopranos’ have. Cheap rents on fancy flats is nice too, as are the free buses that run around the city.
What’s not so great?
Canal Street. I’m not one for banging on about ‘the good old days’ but it seems eternally stuck in 2001, which is so sad as it was once a pioneer in Manchester culture. It’s dated, dangerous (and not in a good way) and refuses to move forward in its ideology. Thank fuck for the Northern Quarter. Piccadilly Gardens is basically hangin’… And the constant rain. It makes me want to KILL.
Do you have a favourite Manchester building?
Granada TV. The old signage and that late 50’s style of architecture have always given me a fluttery tummy, it reminds me of being at school and hitting the city as a teenager for the first time. You can imagine the likes of Pat Phoenix swanning around the corridors with a Rothman in one hand, head to toe in mink, cursing like a navvy at anyone who got in her way. It’s such a shame that it will be pulled down in the next few years to make way for another fucking hotel…
Do you have a favourite Mancunian?
Caroline Aherne. I pine for the day she returns back to our screens. As a writer, creator, performer, comedienne, she’s given us so much. I’d go to shit if I met her, I really would.
What’s your favourite pub/bar/club/restaurant/park/venue?
On the rare occasions the sun show its face, I like to while away the hours in Castlefield Arena. Tib Street and Oldham Street – barring the pissheads outside Sachas Hotel – are frequent haunts for drinks, shopping and hanging out. If I’m feeling all la-di-da, and if I can get a table, Aumbry Restaurant in Prestwich is without a doubt the best place to eat in the city. I also love Earth Café, The Ox and Noble, Kraak, Didsbury Park, Bannatynes on Quay Street, Hula Bar and Tribeca.
What do you think is missing from Manchester?
Apart from decent agents for my acting students, I’d quite like a large park or green space of sorts somewhere in the city centre. Maybe they could bulldoze Canal Street to make way for it…?
If I was Mayor for a day I would …
Make Rowetta the Lady Mayoress.
Who else would you like to nominate to answer this questionnaire?
Anthony teaches at the Manchester School Of Acting.