Saturday, 28 February 2015

Friday, 27 February 2015

Bert's green bikes?

I walked past these bicycles in Albert Square yesterday morning and assumed they were new- this morning they had all gone but the bike racks remained. I was in too much of a rush and couldn't read the company's name. It would  be good if they were to supplement the bike rentals at Piccadilly Station and were being rolled out across the city.  Better still would be a safer city centre that banned cars- I voted for the congestion charge a few years back but was overruled by the majority. I really do feel that the city centre should be pedestriansed more and there should be a bus, taxi, electric cars and delivery-vehicle only policy implemented. A few car parks dotted around the outskirts for commuters and then a free shuttle bus or free tram to bring the workforce into the city each day- that would be my personal choice of a policy. 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

#FutureEverything Festival music and film @FuturEverything

The 20th Future Everything Festival launched last night at the RNCM, where all the music and film events take place. There are several other festival hubs around the city too. 

The festival (running from 25th to 28th February) is "an award-winning innovation lab for digital culture...exploring the meeting point of technology, society and culture which lies at the heart of the digital debate. Through a community network and regular events it makes connections between thinkers, developers, coders, artists, designers, urbanists and policy makers – inspiring them to experiment and to collaborate in new ways.
The Future Everything festival brings people together to discover, share and experience new ideas for the future. Pioneering the practice of city-wide ‘festival as laboratory’ it combines a large scale cultural event – encompassing art, music and discussion – with new technology, novel research methods and playful social experiments. It has been named by The Guardian as one of the top ten ideas festivals in the world."

Tonight I am unsure as to watch electro ambient Icelandic composer and performer Ólafur Arnalds or go to a separate, non-festival,  gig-Malean band Trio da Kali. I also plan to see two late films at the festival this evening - Delia Derbyshire's The Delian Mode followed by the late showing of Soviet film Elektro Moskva. It might be a tight squeeze getting everything in... but that feeling of cultural overload is part of the joy of festivals.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

"G" is for Gorilla Filmmaking Productions' great win @BFI #FutureFilmFest

ABC Wednesday gets to “G” and it gives me great pleasure to write a post about Gorilla Filmmaking Productions. This group of Manchester teenagers have been writing, shooting and creating innovative short films and adverts since an early age.  At the weekend they were worthy winners of the BFI (British Film Institute) 2015 Short Film award in the 15-18 age range.

It was part of the three day Future Film Festival at the BFI on London’s South Bank in London. Their dystopian short film O2 was shot last September out on the atmospheric moors east of Manchester. You can watch it here.

Along with a cheque, trophy and huge kudos, this will surely encourage the Gorilla Filmmaking Team to ever more creativity in the future. Keep an eye and an ear on these stars of the future, at their website and Facebook page. Congratulations to Sam, Alfie, Henry, Tim and the others who give up a lot of spare time and energy to produce high quality works of cinematic art.

Alfie, Sam and Tim of Gorilla Filmmaking Productions.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Tunnel vision at Salford Central

It's amazing that there can sometimes be quiet and solitude in a busy transport hub such as Salford Central Station. It opened an astonishingly long time ago (177 years ago in 1838) and underwent two name changes before the current moniker was coined in 1988. Previously it was Salford Railway Station and then Salford New Bailey Street. Around a third of a million passengers use it per year. Taking part in Our World Tuesday.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Monday Mural: Sleep on the Eighth Day @EighthDayVeg

This window of The Eighth Day is always innovatively creative and stops me in its tracks. 

Behind the glass in this section of the vegetarian healthfood shop and cafe is where vitamin and health expert Ursula can be found, surrounded by nutritional supplements and cruelty-free cosmetics. I  popped in the other week to have a chat with lovely Ursula, who advised me well (Biotin to help hair growth, since you ask!)...

I liked the way the reflections of the park's trees opposite blend into the photo and the owl could almost be living out there in All Saints Park. Sadly so could the sleeper- there are about a dozen homeless sleepers to be found in sleeping bags each morning along a short stretch of Oxford Road. Conservative/Lib-Dem Britain has clearly failed in so many appalling ways (unless you are the uber wealthy and greedy) and there needs to be major change locally, nationally and internationally -  now and at the May elections. That's why I am campaigning for the common good with the Green Party - the only real constructive alternative option in my view-  and standing as a Green Councillor in Salford.

My contribution to this week's Monday Mural.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

#Whitworth weekend 2: #CorneliaParker

Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View

So much to see and take in at the Whitworth Gallery. 18,000 people visited last weekend when it reopened. In the week it was busy but manageable and I was blown away by the Cornelia Parker exhibition. The war room draped in paper poppy offcuts was symbolic and moving. The blown up shed (Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View) caught in mid motion was artistically brilliant. To catch , freeze and display a moment in time of such movement is genius and ingenious. The hovering crushed cutlery and musical instruments (below) also made you think and captured the imagination.

2015 is going to be another great cultural year in Manchester.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Whitworth weekend 1

There were huge lunchtime queues midweek at the reopened Whitworth Gallery - this was to have lunch in the new terrace cafe overlooking the park. I shall pop back to try the food when it is less busy. 

It was, however, a good opportunity to have a quick browse around the lovely refurbished galleries though- the landscaping does add a feeling to air and openness and at one with he trees outside, which is all well and good for an inner city gallery. Art here tomorrow!

Friday, 20 February 2015

Skywatch Friday at Cross Street junction

On Cross Street the sodium light and the menacing sky can create a dystopian view to my eyes. 19th Century elegance vies with late 20th Century glass and sloped roofed while below in the streets the masses march past, numbed, to the tune of destructive consumerism. The same tune is played, from Manchester to Montreal, Malmo to Mumbai.

A contribution to Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Chinatown's terracotta army...

A mini army of Terracotta warriors, or maybe they are a row of resting waiters since it's inside a Chinatown restaurant... Welcome to the year of the goat.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

ABC Wednesday:"F" is for 55...

"F" is for number Fifty Five Whitworth Street, where the building's numerical signage reminds me of a pair of dancing snakes. Or maybe the winter sun has gone to my head ...

Taking part in the fabulous ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Tuesday afternoon...tea at the Beech Road Café

Last Tuesday after work I met with a friend at the Beech Road Café in Chorlton. It’s an area of independent shops and eatery heaven, second in Manchester only to the Northern Quarter. Wherever possible I avoid chains and multinational, often tax-avoiding, cafés, bars and restaurants. 

I imagine there are pockets of independent, artistic craft shops and cafés elsewhere in the Greater Manchester region - maybe Prestwich, the Heatons and Didsbury or further afield in Bury and Marple, but I don’t know for sure.

To bloggers, vloggers and readers in Greater Manchester, where else should I head to? What other areas are good for independent and quirky bars, cafes and shops?

I’d like to ask my fellow City Daily Photo bloggers and readers of Our World Tuesday what areas of their towns are good to head for to get a decent cup of coffee or tea and a cake in a place not dominated by the ubiquitous Starbucks and the like?

Monday, 16 February 2015

Monday Mural: Kwok Man Cantonese restaurant

As Chinatowns all over the world gear themselves up for new year celebrations on Thursday and into next weekend, this week's Monday Mural entry is the entrance to the Kwok Man restaurant in the heart of Manchester's Chinatown. Walk downstairs under the mural for a banquet- sadly I am usually disappointed with veggie options in Chinese restaurants and rarely frequent them ...

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Weekend in Black & White: @RCNQ, hair today...

Taking part in the Weekend in Black and White I give you RCNQ, Robert Czlapa Northern Quarter on Hilton Street. I love the decoupaged piano in the window. Based "in Manchester’s hip, bohemian Northern Quarter district, our salon brings a new dimension to the experience of hairdressing."

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Weekend Reflections: Istanbul hearts Altrincham

The Istanbul Grill on Altrincham's Ashley Road reflects, and sends a heart or two, to the nice old terraced buildings of Alty's Oxford Rd. Taking part in Weekend Reflections.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Skywatch Friday: Sunrise over the saltworks

Sunrise over the salt-works at Barnton in Cheshire. Life is good but, thank goodness, it is Friday again, and 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, 12 February 2015

One week left till the year of the goat...

Brightening up the grey winter in the city centre, from Chinatown to St Anne's Square and beyond, a new set of thousands of large Chinese paper lanterns.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

"E" is for education, elections and an Eccles bank window

Mancunian Wave is taking part, as ever, in ABC Wednesday  and for "e" here is a fine old bank building in Eccles. 

Eccles is a suburb I’ll be spending quite a bit of time in during the next few months as it’s where Salford Green Party holds many of its business meetings. I have been a member and supporter of The Green Party for decades, since way back when it was called the Ecology Party. Their policies are all encompassing, for education see this interview in yesterday’s Guardian. 

And, when it comes to the banks, we in the Green Party will actually do something about the corrupted practices and scandal of bankers’ bonuses etc. These ungainfully-made profits and tax avoidance schemes that have bankrupted Britain would be collected and put for the common good, in education, health and a living wage etc. 

A fair, healthy society is possible with the Greens. I'm standing as councillor in the local elections in the Pendlebury Ward of Salford and am honoured to do so.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Green and red Town Hall

Some pictures don't need many words really- suffice to say that Manchester Town Hall takes on a new Gothic splendour when it is lit up in varying colours. Taking part in the Ruby Tuesday Too meme.

Monday, 9 February 2015

West Gorton Youth Centre mural

An interesting mural or two at West Gorton Youth Centre. Young parents (aged up to 19) meet here on Tuesdays,  with free lunch, a creche and baby massage. There are many community groups based here, and footballer Fabrice Muamba has also been involved with the youth groups. He was the Bolton Wanderers footballer brought back to life after collapsing on the pitch in an FA Cup match in 2012.

The West Gorton Doorstep Sport Club was set up by a community partnership between a housing provider and the over 50’s Tenants and Residents Association to promote community engagement and help tackle antisocial behaviour in the area. With funding from national charity StreetGames the club was launched in August 2013 and now offers ‘doorstep’ sports activities to young people aged between 11 and 16 every Friday afternoon.

Taking part in Monday Murals.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Weekend in Black and white: Weaver bridges

I had a fabulous walk on Friday along the River Weaver near Dutton in Cheshire. It was sunny and frosty and everything looked picturesque. Including the 1830's Dutton Viaduct and the frosty-topped pedestrian bridge over the river in this photo.  Taking part in the Weekend in Black and White.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Weekend Reflections: mechanics of lifting

An ancient piece of machinery on the Bridgewater Canal near Daresbury, presumably for loading and unloading freight to and from barges (narrowboats).

Friday, 6 February 2015

Skywatch Friday: A walk at Longdendale

Photos taken by Susie on a walk with Altrincham and District Rambling Club last week.

This was on a ten mile walk which passed Valehouse Farm, Bottoms Reservoir and Tintwistle. Crossing the A628 the route then continued along Arnfield Lane before turning into open country to climb steadily to Lad's Leap at 1,547 feet. 

Contouring above Highstone Rocks the walk eventually descended steeply to Crowden and the circuit was completed via the Longdendale Trail. One long, steady climb, one short steep descent.

Taking part in Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Peggy's Delights on Granby Row

I stumbled upon some tv filming outside my old apartment block on Granby Row at dusk on Tuesday for a new drama. The silver vehicle was marked up as "Peggy's Delights"- a cupcake business by the sound of it. The track to the right is for the cameras and out of sight was a smart little red car that I guess was going to be used too. Dozens of people standing around as is the way of these things- and I mean the crew not the public. I was told it is for a new drama that will air on BBC 1.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

ABC Wednesday: "D" is for donkey diversion

A friendly donkey with the sweetest fringe imaginable shares a field with two Shetland ponies at Hyde Bank Farm. I am not the only one who has gone down the donkey route this ABC Wednesday. It's obviously time to donate to your local Donkey Sanctuary- here's the Facebook page for the Manchester one.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Lit up at The Liqour Store @LiquorStoreMCR

The cocktail menu is in the shape of vinyl at The Liquor Store, which a bar hidden below street level on The Parsonage. Its music selection is stuck in the 1980s whenever I have been there. That's ok for a short burst of nostalgia and The Smiths et al concert posters add to the time warp feel, with a local Mancunian flavour. 

But otherwise it is very 21st Century in many positive ways, the chilled ambience, the mock Bansksy, wittily titled "Mancsy" and the opening  hours. I have yet to check the food menu, will one day, maybe lunch...

Monday, 2 February 2015

Monday Mural: noodles and elephants @NudleUK

Chapel Street in Salford has been getting livelier week by week for a long time now. An Italian coffee house is opening soon while almost next door at number 144 is the successful Nudle Bar. I love their external mural and the buildings within it are an accurate representation of the view from there (minus the elephants...). There's another inside (mural, not elephant...) Taking part in Monday Mural.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

City Daily Photo Theme Day: What Would You Miss?

What Would You Miss? is this month's City Daily Photo theme and what a thought-provoking topic that is. Chosen by Pat in Serbia, she writes the Yankee in Belgrade blog.

If I left Manchester after having spent half my life here, I'd miss so much: family, friends, culture, countryside, the support of minorities and diversity in the city all spring to mind. 

Possibly (friends and family aside of course!) I'd miss of all the Northern Quarter's quirky, small, independent bars, cafes and shops the most. There's a sense of belonging in many of them, of being part of a creative, appreciative, peaceful mindset, a long way from the ugly corporate mainstream. I'd miss places and the vibes they generate such as Wood on Tib Street, featured here.

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