Friday, 31 May 2013

Skywatch: piercing the clouds

Seemingly standing taller than it really is, this 1990's creation is only an office block, viewed from the depths of the canal towpath in the city centre. It always reminds me of a monster of some kind, with iron-grilled mask. What can you see in it? More Skywatch Friday posts.

My latest Smitten by Britain guest post is all about London's St. Pancras station. (or St. Pancreas as a friend seriously- and mistakenly- calls it!).

Thursday, 30 May 2013

A study in alfresco revision

Studying in the sunshine, dwarfed by the Vimto statue, its giant grapes and the intricate architecture of the main UMIST building.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

"T" is for tall tower tales from the Sixties

Linking with the other "T"s at ABC Wednesday.  Since I took this photo last spring the Portland Tower (left) has been renamed as Manchester One. Originally it was called St. Andrew's when built in the 1960s.  Neighbouring City Tower (formerly known as the Sunley Building) is a 30 storey block from the same era and is tall by Manchester's low standards. 

Many new skyscrapers were given planning permission but stalled years ago when the recession kicked in. Will they ever rise?

The trees are in Sackville Park where a daytime music festival takes place today from 10.00-2.00. It launches The Manchester College's new music industry courses and features performances by Tim Burgess of The Charlatans, MC by Terry Christian, PA by Craig Charles (Red Dwarf, BBC Funk & Soul Show) plus local bands.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Finest canalside living at Furness Vale

A lovely walk last weekend from Marple in Cheshire to Bugsworth Basin across the border into Derbyshire. All along the Peak Forest Canal, passing through the odd town, including these houses with steep gardens near Furness Vale. Canalside living at its most creative.

Taking part in the Our World Tuesday meme.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Monday Murals: Manchester Day Parade, 6 days to go #mcrday

The annual Manchester Day Parade takes place next Sunday, 2 June. 

This year it is being advertised on banners around the city centre and billboards such as this, in the style of Donald McGill. McGill and others were cartoonists famous for seaside postcards from the 1920s (you even find some on sale today) which were considered risqué at the time, full of double entendres. 

As a child I thought they were just old fashioned comics and as an adult I've found them unfunny (at best...). But I somehow like the self-parody going on here- the kind of "Ay oop, we're northerners stuck in the past,  hankies on head and bursting out of our swimming costumes. All aboard the charabanc in Obese City and off to t'seaside, our kid..."

Taking part in Monday Murals.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Whitsun weekend on the Weaver

A walk along the banks of the River Weaver usually results in a wide array of boats to look at. I was taken aback by the oversized union and St. George flags though. 

Were I a boating person I'd be flying a multicoloured flag of all nations...   

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Great City Games today... @ManCityCouncil

The Fifth Great City Games take place today. There's always a frisson of excitement that starts  a couple of days beforehand when Deansgate is closed off to turn the road  into an athletics track, slightly raised on a stage. Albert Square is also hosting part of the games. Urban street games with top athletes have a buzz that you simply can't capture in a stadium.

Below is the building and laying of the track - a major operation, I long for a Deansgate that is traffic-free all the time. It would make a lovely long space for people to play boules, drink coffee and socialise in general. If Manchester's aspirations to become a European city were real, then a few tree-lined attractive boulevards populated by people and birds, greenery and camaraderie are required...

Friday, 24 May 2013

Skywatch Friday: Midland Hotel

The 1905 Midland Hotel looks isolated, imposing and grand in the evening sunshine. Mancunians will realise that the photo was taken from inside the Bridgewater Hall, which is equally imposing but built about 90 years later. 

What else is on offer from bloggers this Skywatch Friday?

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Ben and Jerry's pop up @Spinningfields @benandjerrysUK

Yesterday produced a warm and sunny evening for Ben & Jerry's visit to Spinningfields- I did well to resist- I wish they did a vegan version of their ice cream. Are you listening Ben, Jerry? 

Pop-up shops are all very well but their scoop shops are sadly lacking in Manchester. I don't know why- I can only think of one...

Anyway, it brought back happy memories of my visiting their Vermont factory in the 1990s and of being in one of their scoop shops in San Francisco last month on Haight-Ashbury (where the 1967 summer of love started of course)...

I'm not sure that Spinningfields could ever be in that league of interest or of history happening- the Northern Quarter or Castlefields could perhaps give a Mancunian take on the summer of love- Chorlton cum Hardy certainly did when I lived there in the glorious  summer of 1990...

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

ABC Wednesday: "S" is for a slice of spring

"S" is for a slice of nature's varied and rich colours, layered on a mid-spring morning. A sky of grey, blue and white, a field of rape seed and the Trent and Mersey Canal near Preston Brook. Linked to ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Ruby Tuesday: No.15 red double decker

Next stop, All Saints' Park, last Friday. It's a shame but modern buses don't have that same appeal and attraction as the old ones. I am sure if one of the many Manchester bus companies invested in a fleet of retro style buses like this then they'd be popular. 

I am straying into dangerous territory as I know there are a lot of bus aficionados out there with plenty to say on the subject. This video on Manchester buses from the 1960s to 1981 is enough for me, lovely old footage though.

A post for Ruby Tuesday.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Monday Mural: National Vegetarian Week 20-27 May

The shutters of Unicorn Cooperative Grocery in Chorlton cum Hardy provides my entry to this week's Monday Mural. Helping make healthy and local food work in Manchester.

Hooray! National Vegetarian Week starts today and it's always so easy to go veggie. As well as events nationally t
here are also two competitions during National Vegetarian Week 2013. The Vegetarian Society Cordon Vert cookery school (based in Altrincham) is looking for budding amateur, or professional, chefs to enter the Chef of the Future contest and for parents and kids there's the Young Veggie recipe competition

The Manchester Vegetarian and Vegan Group (also on Facebook as Manchester Vegetarian and Vegan Groupare an informal, friendly social group with meetings on the first Saturday of a month at the Eighth Day Cafe, from 1pm till 4pm. Other events include potluck suppers/parties, meals out and walks.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Sunday Bridges: Bridge over the River Weaver

Bridge over the River Weaver near Northwich in Cheshire.
Linking to Sunday Bridges.

It's a good day to be outside. You can read about my walks at Llangollen to the wonderful Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, (over the border just an hour's drive from Manchester) at the 4 Manchester Women blog.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Weekend Reflections: Great Northern Square

The All Star Lanes Bowling Alley in the Great Northern Warehouse inadvertently provides a nice canvas for a stolen glimpse into the grandeur of other buildings across the square.

There have been changes aplenty here in recent times with the Scandinavian cider pop-up bar arriving, and before that Cuban bar across the way. Though Purity Bar didn't last long so I wonder what will come next there?

Taking part in Weekend Reflections.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Norwegian Constitution Day

City Daily Photo celebrates Norway's Constitution Day today, 17th May. This photo of the RNCM (Royal Northern College of Music) always makes me think of the low slung, slick and modernistic Scandinavian School of architecture. The photo is also doubling up for Skywatch Friday.

I think of music when I  think of Norway- some of my favourite bands hail from that country, modern electronica and dream-pop via jazz.  

The country also has the classical music of Edvard Grieg. See here for a 2006 concert at the RNCM of Peer Gynt. Grieg visited Manchester in November 1897, read more at the RNCM Archives blog.

Röyksopp and Flunk are more modern Norwegian bands that I am a big fan of. The former have played Manchester regularly but I am still waiting to see Flunk tour here. Veteran jazz saxophonist Jan Garbarek is another Norwegian I hold in high regard-he played in Manchester at the RNCM in 2004. 

A question for our Norwegian bloggers: What's new musically in Norway that I would like?

I also have happy memories of visits to Norway- this photo was from the first time I went, exploring the fjords of Flåm.


Thursday, 16 May 2013

Protest Music Festival, this Saturday

The People’s History Museum is holding an evening programme of contemporary protest music to celebrate Museums at Night on Saturday 18 May . The museum’s story charts the history of protest in Britain over the past two centuries, from the Peterloo Massacre and the suffragettes to more recent strikes and demonstrations. 

During this late night opening visitors will have the opportunity to explore the museum outside of regular opening times to find out more about the history of protest, including the protest music section in Main Gallery Two.

Following the success of his critically acclaimed 2012 protest album Greedy Magicians, described by Billy Bragg as ‘a powerful rallying call’, local singer-songwriter Quiet Loner is a partnering at the event. With ‘the making of a protest album (in five easy steps)’, Quiet Loner will play songs from the album produced by Little Red Rabbit Records. 

Hear the story of how it was made, from its recording over a single evening in a Salford church, to the creation of the artwork on the album sleeve. Quiet Loner will be joined by special guest and acclaimed performance poet Longfella, aka Tony Walsh, who took to the church pulpit during the album recording to deliver a powerful poem about cuts to public services.

Find out more about the Protest Music Festival and follow on Twitter @PHMMcr #ProtestFest for the latest updates.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

ABC Wednesday: "R" is for Rhododendrons at Hare Hill

A visit to Hare Hill to see their 70 varieties of rhododendrons is an almost compulsory activity at this time of the year, although they may be blooming later than usual due to the long winter... ABC Wednesday reaches the letter "R".  

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Keep the red flag flying here...

It hardly seems a year ago that I was out with 100,000 sky blue fans watching Manchester City parading the Premier League trophy. Yet here we are a year on and the football champions of England are still Mancunian but this time from the red corner of Manchester United. A different 100,000 crowd lined the streets.

As a West Ham United fan I am a neutral when it come to Man City-Man Utd rivalry- taking part in Ruby Tuesday.

I couldn't resist a couple of BBC live screen grabs too: 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Monday Mural: Up against the wall... @print_and_paste

The current mural up at Print and Paste is titled Self Portrait 1 and is by Jon Bland. I like the way it mirrors passers by, probably without their being aware, on a higher and more spiritual level- floating above the street life of Chester Street and seemingly able to pass through 19th century brick walls like a ghost of workers past.

Have a look at this week's other offerings to the Monday Mural meme.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Working Class Movement Library film festival week 14-17 May

The Working Class Movement Library is running its first film festival starting on Tuesday. In keeping with the Library's eclectic collections there are a range of screenings with a radical history flavour and some interesting tie-ins to Salford and Manchester. All the screenings are free

Tuesday 14 May 2 pm - Australian union films. The Waterside Workers’ Federation was the only union in the world to fund a film unit. It tackled subjects that commercial filmmakers would not.

Wednesday 15 May 2 pm - The Condition of the Working Class, a new documentary followed by a Q&A session with directors Michael Wayne and Deirdre O'Neill.

Thursday 16 May 7 pmThe White Bus. A prelude to director Lindsay Anderson's acclaimed If, this little-seen 1967 film has a screenplay by Shelagh Delaney. And Salford's streets and people play an important, if surreal, role.

Friday 17 May 7 pm - Museums at Night event. The Poor Stockinger, the Luddite Cropper and the Deluded Followers of Joanna Southcott.  
An invitation to celebrate the start of Museums at Night weekend with late opening at the Library. From 7 pm browse the exhibition about critic, historian and activist E.P. Thompson`s classic text The Making of the English Working Class on its 50th anniversary. At 7.30 a showing of Luke Fowler's new film, which reflects on Thompson's life and times. Glasgow artist Fowler was shortlisted for the Turner Prize last year for his work exploring the boundaries of documentary film-making.

See you at WCML, 51 The Crescent, Salford, M5 4WX.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Weekend Reflections: LED and brick at Baa Bar

I took today's photo simply because I liked the colours of the LED lighting at Baa Bar on Deansgate Locks and the contrasting reflections of brick and window. Taking part in Weekend Reflections. Baa Bar is a successful company with three other bars in Liverpool, Leeds and Nottingham. 

Friday, 10 May 2013

Skywatch Friday. More blooming blossom

I make no apologies for showing this year's better late than never blossom for two Skywatch Fridays in succession.  This photo was in the grounds of the Manchester Business School on Tuesday. Taking part in the Skywatch Friday posts.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Rurality blog hop Thursday: A narrow boat tale of two counties

Pootling along the Shropshire Canal on a Spring day, heading eastwards further into Cheshire. Life is good... 

Taking part in Rurality Blog Hop #13.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

"Q" is for quirky quintet to solid sextet: The Enid @therealenid

Jason Ducker, guitarist with The Enid, on stage at the Ruby Lounge in Manchester on 25 April.

ABC Wednesday comes around to the letter "Q".

My camera isn't good at concert photography so I will leave that to the professionals like my friend Shaun Geraghty, and I will settle for trying to create an ambiance rather than a crystal clear shot.

The Enid underwent a renaissance about 4 or 5 years ago, and with two of their founder members and three new ones, toured and recording with increasing regularity. From 2011 vocalist Joe Payne joined them to make the-not-as-Famous-as-they-ought-to-be Five become six.  They have been described as a cross between Pink Floyd and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra - certainly they're quirky and quite something.

After the Manchester gig on the Thursday they had to quickly drive to Portugal for a festival on the Saturday - quite a journey and possibly quasi-intolerable but they are used to it...They have written pieces for all moods and all seasons, so try a taste of Spring.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Hometown heroes James return to Manchester Arena

We welcome a guest blogger to Mancunian Wave today. Joanne Reader is a freelance writer who loves talking about music, concerts and new bands on the scene.

Legendary Manchester band James made a triumphant homecoming when they played at the Manchester Arena (MEN) on April 26th - their first appearance at the venue since 2010. Equally legendary Liverpool band Echo & the Bunnymen appeared alongside them. 

James, who are best-known for their anthemic 1991 hit, 'Sit Down', have come a long way from being so hard-up that they were reduced to earning money by volunteering for medical experiments.

Even the first release of 'Sit Down' flopped in 1989, before reaching number two in the British charts two years later after Manchester clubbers latched onto its appeal, and actually sitting down when the song was played.Later hits followed for the band, including 'Sound' and 'She's a Star', which both reached number 9 in the British singles chart in 1991 and 1997 respectively. James were to have much more consistent success with their albums, and they reached number two with 'Gold Mother (1990)', 'Seven (1992)', and 'Millionaires (1999)'. 'The Best Of' album topped the British album charts in 1998. 

When charismatic frontman Tim Booth quit James in 2001 to focus on a solo career, the band remained dormant until reforming in 2007. An international tour followed, while the band's popularity around the world is underlined by album sales surpassing 25 million.

One of Manchester's many popular music acts 
Manchester has always been a strong musical city, producing such diverse talents as The Hollies, Herman's Hermits, 10cc, Joy Division, New Order and The Smiths. Beginning in the late 1980s, Manchester really took off as Britain's main music city, and the name Madchester was coined to cover some alternative rock and indie bands that were coming out of the city at the time, including The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, and, subsequently, James. The likes of Oasis were to owe a debt of gratitude to their musical predecessors when they became Britain's most popular rock band in the mid-1990s.

It's really as an outstanding live act that James have gained much of their reputation. Formed in the early 1980s, James became one of the best loved British indie bands of the 1990s and their appearances at some of the world's most famous international music festivals is proof of the band's enduring appeal.

Manchester remains a great city for music fans 
The city of Manchester remains one of the best cities in the UK for music fans to visit, and it has had a strong reputation as a clubbing city ever since the days of the Hacienda in the early 1980s. To really experience the vibrant music scene fully, I would recommend booking a whole weekend with friends in Manchester - as one night won't be long enough! When the girls and I were last there, there was just so much to experience that we ended up staying for two nights!

For accommodation, it's easy to find a hotel near the MEN Arena, as so many of them are within a mile of the venue. Best of all, several of them offer special discounts and prices when you book in advanced. Go on… you deserve a treat!

What are your memories of James or do you have another favourite Mancunian band?

Monday, 6 May 2013

Monday Mural: Mayday men of steam and steel

The world's first passenger railway line ran from Manchester 30 miles or so west to Liverpool. It is commemorated by this mural at Manchester's Liverpool Road station by the MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry).

It seems appropriate to post this giant representation of workforce of steam and steel on the May Day Public Holiday. С ПЕРВЫМ МАЯ and solidarity to sisters and brothers around the world ;-)

More Monday MuralsMy Worker of the World post from 1 May 2011 could also be relevant for today's national holiday celebrations.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Close to the Edge...Street party from midday...

Join the partying today in the heart of the Northern Quarter- just head for the pink Post Office on Thomas Street and go one block north. Edge Street is hosting 9 hours of live bands and DJs, village fete stalls, quizzes, food and drink and even sunshine is forecast- what a sunny few days we have been enjoying in the north-west.

The Edge Street party is part of the Northern Quarter Takeover in association with charities We Love Manchester and Mind and Water Aid.

Taking part in Weekly Top Shot #81.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Take a dip into the Victoria Baths Fanzine fair...

I do love a public holiday weekend- there so much that I want to go to but never enough time to be in two places at once. 

Today's photo is of the Victoria Baths' where a Fanzine Fair takes place tomorrow, Sunday 5 May, from 12.00-4.00 pm. Fanzine creators such as the wonderful Shrieking Violet will be in attendance. There are also art workshops, a concert in the pool and a tour of the undercroft of the pools and spaces used in TV series (e.g. BBC's Life on Mars and ITV's Mrs Biggs). The one-page pdf programme is here.

The Victoria Baths ("Manchester's Water Palace") in Chorlton-on-Medlock has long been a Manchester Edwardian treasure and came to national prominence when it was granted restoration funding thanks to the 2003 BBC tv series Restoration.

One day it will re-open to the public as a swimming pool in addition to its current role as well a great venue for all kinds of events and a living museum too.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Skywatch Friday: Blossoming in Faraday's footfall

My contribution for Skywatch Friday features blossom which is blooming later than ever this year, in the grounds of UMIST's now disused Faraday Building. The chemistry department thrived here until it moved in 2007. I understand this will be turned into student accommodation, eventually...  

The Faraday Building's architect was Harry Fairhurst, of the long-established Manchester firm of H.S. Fairhurst & Son. It was constructed in 1967. Appropriately, given its chemistry roots, the building houses a mural called The Alchemist's Elements, by Hans Tisdall which I will show you one Monday...

I'm no scientist so refer you to other links for information on Michael Faraday, (22 September 1791 – 25 August 1867) an English scientist who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. His main discoveries include those of electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Shropshire Canal views

View of a meandering river looking down from the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire. It seemed almost glass-like from above. At first I thought it was the River Wheelock but it is in fact the River Weaver.

No Rurality blog hop this week due to illness- get well soon Madge Caudle Bloom ;-)

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Creative Artisan & "P" is for paper trees

Here we have a paper forest and a distressed motor bike in the First Cut exhibition at Manchester City Art Gallery earlier in the year. The motor bike was titled “Upon The End Of Your Ferel Days” by Chris Jones and the paper tree forest, also crafted in an artisan fashion, was by Manabu Hangai.

Today's photo plays a dual function, as both a "P" for ABC Wednesday and as City Daily Photo's May theme day of the creative artisan

My Worker of the World post from 1 May 2011 is also in the creative artisan category.

Does blogging count as being a creative artisan I wonder? Anyway, be you an artisan or not, have a Happy May Day!

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