Sunday, 7 February 2016

Weekend Reflections. Dunham dawn

One of the lakes in the middle of Dunham Massey's grounds, quiet and atmospheric early in the morning. My contribution to the latest Weekend Reflections posts.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Chinese New Year - Year of the Monkey #CityDailyPhoto @CNY_MCR


There'll be dragons, street food, street art and more as the year of the monkey dawns in Manchester. Markets in St Ann's Square since midweek, Chinatown is buzzing as usual and there's the dragon parade on Sunday.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Heads up for Friday at @M3inds

These amazing heads were in storage at the Artwork Atelier (workshop, studio space) on Queens Road, Greengate, M3. They are laser-cut from cardboard and were made by artist Jai Redman and M3 Industries Art.

I was there for a public consultation yesterday displaying the plans (below) for a proposed 44 storey apartment block on Greengate, by Trinity Way. I think the man-in-a-suit showing me the plans was taken aback at my vocal opposition, some of which were NIMBYish views but many were not. I object because it’s too tall, would block light form other buildings and has no designated retail spaces underneath it - which I thought Salford Council had earlier said was compulsory in all new builds in the vicinity.

I also opined that it was a completely uninspiring tower block- no interesting features, innovative geometric shapes or design to it. He disagreed with me of course and doubtless it will all get built anyway. I may be lucky and still have a slight river view when it’s finished, we shall see (or not see, as the case may be). Its completion date is 2018. At least they are building a nice public walkway through to the river which will be an improvement on the current unloved underpass.

Sadly, in time, the atelier space will be demolished- probably for a 12 storey (maximum) building. Evidently it is safe "in the short term" the suit I spoke with yesterday said. I replied that hopefully there will be artists' space created within in any replacement build - or is that too much to ask?...

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Bright but grey on a grade "A" grey day

A splash on colour on the Salford left bank of the River Irwell on an otherwise steel grey day...

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

ABC Wednesday: "D" is for #DavidBowie #CityDailyPhoto

Manchester's Factory Club FAC 251 with a lad quite sane and hero to many.

ABC Wednesday where D is for David Bowie whose death is probably the biggest in the western world of pop/rock/indie music since Zappa in 1994 or John Lennon’s in 1980? Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse died too young to have enough of a back catalogue and personally I thought little of Michael Jackson's music, nor Freddie Mercury's Queen post-1975. Richard Wright’s death was huge for me but as he was in a group rather than being known as a solo artist somehow it seemed to be slightly diluted in its wider impact? Contentious?

When all those musicians/artists/artistes/people in general say that they were influenced by Bowie, (generations have been saying this since about 1970 and still do) they’re referring of course to the multi-faceted, multi-persona 1970s’ works. From Space Oddity and the man who sold the world through Ziggy and the Thin White Duke to the Berlin era via Aladdin Sane and Diamond Dogs. They’re the influential ones- little in the decades after Heroes could match what came before- but that nine or ten year spell produced an astounding array of atmospheres and ground-breaking music matched by very few others.

For me, Heroes and Low are the best works of art that Bowie made - the Eno (and Fripp) collaborations created new sounds (and visions) and both albums are going with me along with 98 others when I depart this planet with my top 100 albums.

But two earlier tracks, Life on Mars and Space Oddity sum up that alienation, and alien nation, perfectly for me. We felt it then, we feel it now. “Oh man look at those cavemen go… Is there life on Mars?”  = cos there sure as hell ain’t life of any quality on earth when you look around at the police and state brutality and submissive public acceptance of mundane living. And that was following on from cutting yourself free to float off into space rather than return to the drudgery of earth, in Space Oddity.

Ziggy played guitar - and the world was a better place for it. 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Ann's Chinese New Year threatened by Henry's bluster

St Ann’s Square’s trees bear unusual winter fruit

In recent years Chinese New Year has moved well beyond Chinatown- the dragon parade on Sunday always loops out of Chinatown and onto Albert Square but the past five years that I’ve been writing this blog have seen red lanterns brighten up the city centre from mid-January onwards. I am all in favour. Surprisingly they have survived the battering that the various named storms have brought. It seemed especially bad overnight here in the city centre with Storm Henry.

Monday, 1 February 2016

City Daily Photo Theme Day: Scene From a Coffee House

This month’s City Daily Photo theme is an easy one for all to complete- Scene From a Coffee House.

I went for this café scene as much for the drink I consumed as the café itself (see below). It was at the Spoon Inn café in Chorlton (coffee, bar, tea house) last week when I caught up with a friend on a day off. It’s also hosts music and art as well as being a hot spot for working and a place to consume news, social media and good coffee.

Although I haven’t managed it yet this year, I do hope to work more from cafes and less from my desk or office, especially with my freelance writing work. Maybe I can achieve that better in February… My blog posts will doubtless tell how successful or otherwise I will be.

I'm a Vietnam coffee virgin no more- I tried one of these little beauties:

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Salford Art Gallery and museum- something for everyone #citydailyphoto #SalfordArtGallery

The revamped Salford Art gallery and Museum is amazing- a spacious cafe area with great views of some stunning architecture and Peel Park. the wonderful 19th Century street recreated from vintage Salford that you can wander about, local 19th Century paintings and other treasures plus 20C pottery and rolling exhhibits and craftwork for sale from local talent.

Yesterday I went to a sketching class run by former Art Gallery Director John Sculley, who currently has an exhibition of his own work there which I recommend. From the miners' strike to Everton football club, 1980-90s' political badges from the UK and eastern Europe and some fine pieces illustrating his love of dance, above, plus some surrealism on anti-Bliar/ Iraq/ Weapons of Mass Destruction. It is on until mid February - I urge you to visit.

It was a pleasure to be able to talk to John about his work, and fun to be sketching with 20 others around the gallery. I wasn't feeling inspired sadly and am very rusty with my art "skills"- I must work on that in 2016!

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Friday, 29 January 2016

#Oromo protest #citydailyphoto

A protest by the Manchester Ethiopian community against the financing by the UK regime of the Ethiopian regime's persecution of the Oromo population. This took place in Manchester on Tuesday lunchtime. I happened to be passing.

The Oromo are descendants of the Eastern-Kushitie group of people indigenous to the Horn of Africa, with a population of over 40 million, which makes them one of the largest indigenous peoples of East Africa. Read more.