Monday, 31 March 2014

Monday Murals: #NQ Trash of the Titans

A Northern Quarter mural from a couple of years back which I never got around to posting. For another Monday I'll pop back and show you the Titans' replacement artwork. Taking part in Monday Murals.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

St. John's Church, Waterloo Road, Cheetham Hill

I was filming some youngsters in the week performing a great song that they had put together thanks to Musicians without Borders. En route, when I stepped off the bus I saw this lovely spring scene of St. John the Evangelist Church and a tree in blossom. The grade II listed church was built in 1871 and renovated 11 years ago. Taking part in Inspired Sundays.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Weekend Reflection on Dickenson Street

A 1960s (or maybe even '70s or '80s) office block reflects and bends its grander 19th century neighbour, it too a workplace of its day. Weekend Reflections.

Meanwhile 10 minutes away on Albert Square from 7 to 9 pm tonight as Emerald e-magazine reports, the Big Digital Project finale will illuminate the Town Hall and giant projections as part of Manchester Histories Festival and Future Everything Festival. Live music too and all free of charge. Say goodbye to GMT and hello to BST as the clocks change overnight.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Skywatch Friday drivetime

Heading northwards out of the city along Trinity Way. May the sun be with you... More Skywatch Friday posts.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Portland Street on a phone

I snapped this one lunchtime the other week on my phone- Portland Street looked lovely and somehow wider and more expansive than it usually appears to me. Maybe the lines of perspective and the empty foreground create an illusion?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

ABC Wednesday: "K" is for Kardomah coffee & cafés

Mancunian Wave is taking part in ABC WednesdayThe Kardomah cafés were a chain in England and Wales. The Kardomah coffee brand stretches way back in time to Liverpool in 1844. The cafés came later and first of three Manchester Kardomah cafés opened in 1929. All that remains sadly now of this Manchester café round the side of Albert Square are two identical faded signs, one on each aside of the elegant doorway.

Read more at and

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Every tree has its moment of glory

Spring blossom and this tree wouldn't look out of place in a Japanese garden. It seems equally at home in a Trafford suburb... Taking part in Our World Tuesday.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Monday Mural: security in the underpass...

This creative piece of non-commissioned street art is pasted onto the concrete wall in Piccadilly tram station underpass. I was careful as I walked across the tram track to capture it on my phone.  Handpainted on A4 sheets of scrap paper-  a wonderful reuse of resources which add to the piece I think. I'm unsure as to who the artist is.

The slightly oversized hat remind me of a dictator or general from China, Britain, or North Korea as much as a security guard. Some might say that some security guards are a little too dictatorial at times, but I couldn't possibly comment.

Taking part in the Monday Mural.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Today: 6 Manchester hidden gems open free for Manchester Histories Festival

Stained glass at Victoria Baths

Manchester Histories Festival presents: Creative Threads Sunday 23 March from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.

Especially for Manchester Histories Festival six of Manchester’s truly special hidden gems are throwing their doors open to the public for a day of exhibitions, music, and theatre.

Bigger than ever before Manchester Histories Festival returns from the 21- 30th March 2014. Offering music, film, debate, talks by renowned historians, performance, walking tours and exhibitions, MHF aims to both celebrate the familiar and reveal the new and hidden histories from across Greater Manchester. Whether people would describe themselves as history fans or not, MHF has something for everyone.

On Sunday 23 March Chetham's Library, Manchester Jewish Museum, Museum of Transport Greater Manchester, the Pankhurst Centre, Victoria Baths and the Working Class Movement Library (WCML) are all opening up to the public for free. Plus visitors can also hop aboard a free heritage bus to easily travel between venues.

Highlights of the day will include:

Broadside/Folk musician Jennifer Reid will be talking about and performing songs from the Manchester ballads archives at Chetham's Library. Reid appeared in Jeremy Deller'sfilm to accompany his recent exhibition All That Is Solid Melts Into Air at Manchester Art Gallery. Some of the ballads have not been performed in public for over 300 hundred years, and visitors will even be able to take home their own printed copy of a ballad score. Open 10am - 4pm. Performance times: 11.15am, 1.00pm & 2.45pm (performances last ~30mins)

- Witness an imaginary meeting between near neighbours Elizabeth Gaskell and Emmeline Pankhurst at the Pankhurst Centre. Award-winning theatre companyLipService will perform, Mrs Gaskell Meets Mrs Pankhurst, a humorous and imaginary meeting between two of Manchester's most iconic women. This is a brand new performance commissioned for the Manchester Histories Festival. Open 10am - 4pm. Performance Times: 11.00am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm (performances last ~40mins)

- Street performers The Traffic Wardens, the adorable Hodman Dodmanott and Sally Forth, and The Lost Luggage Porters will be entertaining visitors to the Museum of Transport Greater Manchester. Open 10am - 4pm. Performance times: Regular performances throughout the day.

- Visitors to the stunning Grade II* Manchester Jewish Museum on Cheetham Hill Road will be able to experience traditional Klezmer music and take part in a family friendly Klezmer workshop. Often performed weddings and celebrations, little is known about the history of the instrumental music, but the genre evolved considerably as Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, arrived in the US between 1880 and 1924, met and assimilated American jazz. Open 10am - 4pm. Performance Times: 11.00am, 12.00pm & 3.00pm (performances last ~30mins). Family Workshop 1.00pm – 3.00pm

- Discover the colourful history of Victoria Baths with an entertaining musical tour, written and performed by singer songwriter Black Jack Barnet. Visitors will also be delighted with tales of swimming in recycled water in the Females pool, budding romance in the Baths and the achievements of our Channel swimming heroine Sunny Lowry. Open 12pm - 4pm.Performance Times: 12.40pm, 1.40pm and 2.40pm (performances last 30 - 40mins)

- Hear musical tales from the Working Class Movement Library’s archive as the Bailey Sisters turn histories of working people into song. The Bailey Sisters are a trio who perform early and traditional music. Though known for their fine acapella performances, they also accompany their singing with fiddle, guitar and percussion. Visitors will also be able to unravel the history of Manchester's industrial 'Cottonopolis' through material of the time. From song books to factory injury books to raw cotton samples, there will be a variety of objects on display to see and talk about. Open 11am - 5pm) Performance times tbc.
Free bus 

Route One covers the following venues and runs from 10.30 until 4.30pm:
Greater Manchester Transport Museum every half past the hour (last bus leaving at 3.30pm);
Manchester Jewish Museum every quarter to the hour;
Chetham's Library on the hour;
WCML every ten past the hour.

Route Two covers the following venues and runs from 12.00pm until 4.00pm:
Chetham's Library on the hour (last bus leaving at 3.00pm);
Pankhurst Centre twenty past the hour;
Victoria Baths twenty five to the hour.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

A piece of cake...

Fab Patisserie in Altrincham had this cake in their window recently. It reminded me both of a woodland scene and the ambient electric pop European musical duo The Green Children. I'm posting it today to wish a Happy 18th Birthday to Holly :-)

Friday, 21 March 2014

Skywatch Friday: Going green and on your bike...

Going green in more than one sense, and looking up as the first day of Spring is upon us...

The skies have been true blue much of this week and this green bike was begging to have its photo taken as I walked beneath it down at Castlefield. More Skywatch Friday posts.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Life in the slow lane aboard Hirondelle

Hirondelle is the name of this narrowboat about to cast off on the Macclesfield Canal. The word is the French for "swallow". Owners Denise and Keith Wright and their watery home were featured in a fabulous article a few years ago in a 2010 edition of Cheshire Life magazineThere is a more luxurious version of a "barge" with the same name for hire in France.

Taking part in Rurality Blog Hop.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

ABC Wednesday: "J" is for Jack the Collie, just like Bowie

Jack the Collie enjoys walking his owner all over South Lancashire. He has seemingly boundless energy and playfulness, be it with a stick or a chewed up plastic bottle. 

Like a handful of other collies I have seen, Jack's eyes are different colours- one brown, one blue. "Just like David Bowie" his owner says, before reassuring us that he doesn't sing like Ziggy Stardust (a.k.a Davy Jones, whose mismatched eyes came about as a teenager after a jealous guy threw a punch at him). 

"Jean Genie", "Jump, they say" or "John, I'm only dancing" might be Mr Bowie's musical contributions to ABC Wednesday's "J" category...

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Granby's Guinness grumbles...

It makes me wonder how the windows on this Edwardian block (Granby House) used to get cleaned when it was built back around 1905? It was one of several buildings in the locale constructed as a packing warehouse back in Manchester's industrial heyday.

In the 1980s it was one of the first city centre blocks to be converted into apartments. Although the apartments are privately owned they come under the leasehold of Guinness Northern Counties, who are tomorrow (19 March) being taken to tribunal by residents of Granby House and other city centre blocks Lancaster House and 15 Piccadilly, for charging high fees and offering substandard services in return. 

Respected Manchester Evening News and Manchester Confidential property journalist Jill Burdett explains why it came to this. 

Monday, 17 March 2014

Monday Mural: Bibliophiles' delight - Central Reference reopening

The wonderful 1930's Manchester Central Reference Library closed for a major refurbishment back in 2011, planning to reopen in 2013. Then the 2013 date was replaced on promotional literature with 2014. This coming Saturday 22 March is when it finally does re-open. 

There have been some nice murals on the boards all around the site these past three and a bit years, citing the history of the library and Town Hall extension. 

If you are from out of town and do not know the lovely building, please see a previous post of mine about it.

Taking part in this week's Monday Mural.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Strangeways here we come...

Friday gave us a misty morning on the Salford-Manchester border with Strangeways Prison's tower, which resembles a mosque's minaret, rising above it all...

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Weekend Reflections: Midland grid land...

Manchester's magnificent Midland Hotel is reflected here in an office building 80 years its junior. Taken on one of the many sunny days this week- it's been wonderful to wander around in the lunch break in weather like this.

Taking part in Weekend Reflections.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Skywatch Friday: Sedgely Park skyline

I was in the suburb of Sedgely Park earlier in the week with time to kill while I waited for an estate agent and two solicitors to hand over keys to my new apartment (that's a long story for another time, but with a happy enough ending). 

I snapped this back street suburban shot with my phone camera, which gives it a slightly impressionist feel, I think? The church is St. Paul's in Kersal. 

To get you in a mellow mood for the weekend why not click around the world viewing some of today's other Skywatch Friday posts.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Vintage Home Fair mode

Showcasing some wonderful 1970s fabrics which were on sale at the Manchester Vintage Home Fair when I went last autumn. Some of these have been reworked to make modern light shades, others you can buy by the metre to be creative with at home. 

There will be plenty more of this kind of thing on Sunday 16 March at Victoria Baths on Hathersage Rd when the Manchester Vintage Home Fair returns: Mid 20th Century crockery, paintings, clothes, kitchenware, radios, tables, furniture etc. 

Once you have seen it all on Sunday you could always dash over to Altrincham Market for their monthly vintage fair- a shame that they clash!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

ABC Wednesday: "I" is for immense ice cream cone...

Mancunian Wave is taking part in ABC Wednesday where this week we reach the letter "I". I am unsure whether this current exhibit at The City Art Gallery is part of the exhibition Sculptural Forms: A Century of Experiment or Portuguese contemporary artist Joana Vasconcelos’ Time Machine. It fits with both and, as both exhibitions are impressively imaginative, everyone should be happy. 

It's glorious sunshine at present in Manchester and the north-west which started at the weekend -it's crisp but in the sunshine warm enough to partake in the first ice creams of 2014!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Anarchy at Oldham Coliseum with Dario Fo

Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo is being performed at the Oldham Coliseum theatre from Friday 7 to Saturday 22 March. The theatre is over 125 years old, the play less so. 

I thought I remembered seeing the play advertised growing up in London in the 1970s. I was fascinated by both the title and the playwright's short surname. It turns out the play's London West End run was actually in 1980 and 1981;  adverts for it seemed to be plastered over every red double-decker bus, and I am sure it was widely advertised on Capital Radio too?

I was too young and /or broke to independently go to the theatre back then. Many decades later, here is my chance to see the play. 
Accidental Death of an Anarchist has been seen by 40 million people globally.

Wikipedia tells me that the play is a farce based on the real-life events surrounding Italian railroad worker and anarchist Giuseppe Pinelli, who fell - or was thrown - to his death from the fourth floor window of a Milan police station in 1969. He was accused of bombing a bank (the Piazza Fontana bombing) but was cleared.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Monday Mural: propaganda and casualties of World War I at Dunham...

Dunham Massey House was turned into Stamford Military Hospital in World War I. 
Taking part in Monday Mural.

Astonishingly in 1914 house co-owner Lady Stamford only wanted the hospital to be used for wounded officers, rather than the common “Tommy”. The reality of war casualties meant that she didn’t have her snobbish wish granted. 

So it came to pass that hundreds of soldiers from the back streets of industrial cities like Glasgow, Birmingham and nearby Salford (a few miles away as the crow flies but a world apart when it came to income, living conditions and housing stock) were treated here. 

As well using the medical wards, the men who survived had access to the huge estate; the Great Hall was turned into a recreation room with gramophone player, piano, books to read and space to write letters. Or to just sit and contemplate the madness that World War I had brought about.

The patients played chess in the drawing room, croquet on the lawn and punted on the boating lake. It was a long way from the horrors of war and the inequalities and squalor of many of their pre-war lives.

Below are three of the World War I propaganda posters that cost many a man his life... 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The corridors of the friary

Gorton Monastery is a 19th century gem, saved from demolition and restored a few years ago. Restoration work continues but the corridors are resplendent, with their ancient arches and modern lighting. I'll post more photos from my visit to this amazing building another time. Taking part in Inspired Sundays.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Weekend Reflections: Canal in the peaks / Happy #IWD Women as peacemakers

 The wonder and wilderness of life by the Peak Forest canal. Taken last week and 
taking part in this week's Weekend Reflections.

Happy International Women's Day! There are plenty of events to celebrate, all month in Manchester

Friday, 7 March 2014

Skywatch Friday: Manchester lilac blues

A mostly 1960s' architectural scene lay beneath a wintry lilac-blue late afternoon sky as we look north to Manchester city centre from the top floor of Crawford House. Click to see today's other Skywatch Friday posts. 

One big event in town this weekend is Sunday's anti-fracking demonstration:

CITY CENTRE MARCH & RALLY called by Frack-Free Greater Manchester. Gather Piccadilly Gardens 12 noon for a march to Cathedral Gardens for a rally at around 2 pm. 

Details of entertainment and speakers to be announced. Please bring family, friends, workmates with you. Also banners or homemade placards if you can. Show local activists and the magnificent Barton Moss campers that they have widespread support in Greater Manchester and beyond!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Frankenstein: filming a monster in Manchester...

A Hollywood film of Frankenstein is currently being made in Manchester- they were filming at Manchester Town Hall yesterday and today and are in the Northern Quarter next week. Horses are stabled in Albert Square and when they are not eating hay and doing what horses do, they pull these 19th century carriages around. A nice yellow crested one and a hearse carriage marked up in the company name of Hare.

James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe star in the film I hear, although having never seen the latter act I have no strong feelings on that- I imagine it must be difficult to throw off the Harry Potter label and avoid being typecast, but he seems to have successfully done so and is set for a long theatrical and film career.

Manchester Town Hall is often used as a location for films. I remember another 21st century "movie" of a 19th century fictional character that was filmed here: The first Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes film. I vividly recall the use of Manchester Town Hall's Gothic interiors and a never to be forgotten scene where Sherlock takes a giant leap out of a Manchester Town Hall window....only to land seconds later some 200 miles away, in the River Thames...

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

"H" is for hidden hot drinks and art in the heart of Alty at Local Creation

Mancunian Wave is taking part in ABC Wednesday where "H" is for happiness -when I can browse art and see local community studio artists over a cup of something hot at Liv's cafe. 

We return to the Local Creation cafe and gallery. On Monday I showed you the murals outside, today we enter...for great food and coffee, funky surroundings and original local art for sale. 

It's open from Mondays to Saturday 10.00- 5.00. Hidden away slightly at Altrincham's 1 Central Way - there's also pedestrian access down the alleyway between Holland and Barratt and the Bricklayer's Arms pub. Wonderful. Do visit if you can- just hop on a tram to Altrincham.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

No smoke without fire... #SalfordFire #poison

Fire broke out at a recycling plant in Ordsall, Salford at 2330 on Sunday night. I took this photo going past at about 1730 on Monday. Smoke is still billowing out today and roads in the vicinity are closed. It's almost 36 hours since it started. Thankfully no immediate injuries were reported although I fear what poisonous fumes we are all going to be breathing in as a result over the coming days.

Local social media has also been ablaze with photos and updates covering the event. Mancunian Wave is playing its part by spreading the fire to Our World Tuesday.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Monday Mural: Local Creation cafe and gallery, a must-stop place @LivatLC

On Saturday I stumbled across a place in Altrincham that was new to me- though it opened in 2011. It's both a lovely cafe (Liv at Local Creation) plus an art gallery and studio space (called Local Creationon 1 Central Way, WA14 1SB. 

Its large forecourt has at least three murals- I am posting a couple here now- a third one I need to catch in better light before I publish it- it was half in sunshine and half in shade when I was there. 

Local Creation encourages local artists and community spirit with low cost studios to rent. they are so right with their belief that  "artists and creatives of all disciplines are key to the future of the High Street and that cultural activities are the building blocks for the building of a community - they are the activities that bring us together."

The area sang out as my kind of place outside and inside, and with an ethical cafe too- I was in heaven! Come back on Wednesday for a look inside- or visit the cafe's Facebook pageTaking part in the Monday Mural.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Weekend Reflections: Spring is just across the road...

There have been signs of spring all this week, with crisp but sunny days and flowers emerging above ground, in the countryside and, as here, in the Manchester Corridor. Daffodils out in time for St. David's day yesterday across the border in Wales. It's been raining this morning though ;-( 

The slightly disorientating effect in the photo is the result of me pointing the camera into some office windows. A more settling, if rather dull, photo of how it really looked, is below. Taking part in this week's Weekend Reflections.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

City Daily Photo Theme Day: People on the street

March's City Daily Photo Theme Day is People on the streetI snapped a photo looking down from the first floor of a building through a window that was slightly casting reflections- my resulting photo certainly didn't look the best.

I thought I would try adding what I call a "water colour" effect, as I have enjoyed seeing a lot of those in artwork lately, both some Mancunian examples (such as Bill Usher) and here. Plus further afield, such as at Artfinder and the likes of Darren Thomson

When I cropped out the red traffic light (which was too distracting) the purples and pinks balanced the shot and it all seemed to work a little better.

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