Between a third and half of Tiger was written in a cafe in Manchester’s Northern Quarter called Oklahoma. Every so often I’ll be unfaithful and go looking for another place to drink coffee and Earl Grey (or the lightly spiced hot apple I just tried), whilst writing and occasionally checking the internet. As yet, none of them has been as good.
I Starbuck’d out in 2001 and vowed to thenceforth give them as little money as possible. I’ll only go into one if someone else drags me or if the charity I’m collecting for gives me a free drinks voucher. Nero’s is okay, but they rarely have free power sockets for the laptop and you have to pay for WiFi. Costa likewise. (Costa used to give extra shots of espresso free, at least in 2001, so I’d always have one in my latte. I like to think I’m the reason they stopped doing that. [I drank a lot of coffee in 2001, my stomach lining is still recovering.]) The cafe in the International Anthony Burgess Foundation has the power sockets and the free WiFi, but just doesn’t feel as friendly.
So I keep coming back to Oklahoma. Half of it is a wonderful shop full of kitsch goodies where I have bought a few presents over the years. It’s where I meet up with my sister when she’s in town. It’s lovely and not too far from anything. I don’t yet visit often enough to be recognised as a regular, but I’m working on that.
When Irwin is sat in a cafe in the Northern Quarter, I like to think it’s Oklahoma. I don’t know where else he’d get the internet access to check his stocks.