As the sky turns from viscous black to vivid pink, the sun slowly dissolves the thick fog floating on the frosty grass of the Ashton Court Estate.
With my shoes soaking up the damp morning dew, I wander around the park looking for the exact meeting point, stumbling upon deer and early morning runners.
The declamatory voice of the announcer clanks out of the speakers, spreading across the 850 acres of the Ashton Court Estate. Children and adults, couples and families, youngsters and elders, tourists and locals, everybody is holding their breath as the countdown blows in the wind. The air is packed with excitement: we are all waiting for the magic that is about to happen.
Or, better, I should say as seen on the streets of the Northern Quarter, as almost all murals can be spotted in this neighbourhood. Once the centre of the cotton industry, nowadays Manchester’s Northern Quarter is the hipster heaven of the city, and the best place to find some great street art. The most spectacular large-scale murals in the area were painted during Cities of Hope, a street art festival highlighting social injustices while raising money for Manchester charities.