I was in Didsbury Village on Monday evening-it's always a nice place to visit and there's a good range of places to eat and drink. I met a friend in Expo Lounge which is nicely furnished with old salvage items such as former factory lights, plus refurbished stylish wooden tables and comfy sofas. Plus a bizarre range of mismatched chintzy prints and photos- but it all kind of works and is a cavernous yet cosy space.
ABC Wednesday and here in Dunham Town the cottage forms a backdrop to a garden version of an Ashes Test cricket match (the Third Test starts today). The imagination of children... which is still with me...
Jetting off to somewhere sunny, on a day when it is perfect down on the ground in the north west anyway. But do you know about some conspiracy theorists view of these chemtrails? Have a look at other Skywatch Friday posts around the world.
"Runnin' down the avenue, See how the sun shines brightly. In the city on the streets where once was pity, Mr Blue Sky is living here today ..."
Picnicking in Piccadilly Gardens under the gaze of Queen Victoria's statue. For the record, as much of historic Manchester in this blog is from the 19th century, Queen Victoria's reign lasted from 20th June 1837 until her death on 22nd January 1901.
Manchester City Council is trying to ban the Manchester Homeless Rights of Justice Camp from Manchester City Centre! The Camp is now facing one of its biggest challenges - the protesters could be banned from the city centre.
Solicitor Ben Taylor, who represents the homeless campaigners, has said that breaking the ban could lead to “being committed to serve a two-year prison sentence for doing nothing more than not having a home in which to sleep”. If the ban is allowed in Manchester, other councils could also follow suit, using the ruling as a precedent.
This morning, Tuesday 21 July, a judge will decide whether this ban goes forward.
We will set up outside of Manchester County Court (by the People’s History Museum) with sleeping bags, hot drinks, pillows and placards, and show a peaceful physical presence to mirror the efforts made by the Homeless Camp protesters. The ruling it set to take place between 10am - 1pm, so the sleepover will start at 9.15 am until a result is announced.
Even if you can’t come for the whole thing, please come for as long as you can. Please bring a sleeping bag to bring the point home about sleep rough, and bring as much biscuits and tea and musical instruments you need to stay comfortable!
It’s a small effort to make in order to show crucial support at a key moment in this city’s democratic history. Will Manchester pursue the protesters with draconian, punitive legal measures? Or will this be a turning point for how this city deals with homelessness?
I went to my first art class for decades on Thursday. It’s more of a social thing with likeminded artists of varying skills from brilliant down to my level and a wide range of ages spanning 50 years I should think. All courtesy of Madlab in the Northern Quarter in a cool little loft space. A couple of dozen people, a model and a series of short and longer poses, interspersed by wine and nibbles. I have hit on something great here, as well as fun and therapeutic, and I will return to one of the weekly classes soon. Above are a few of my 10 minutes efforts…
I hadn't been to Common on Northern Quarter's Edge Street since its refurb earlier this year. After 10 years of serving coffee, cakes, chat and wi-fi to a discerning NQ crowd, I guess it wanted to remind all the newcomers on the block that it was still one of the hipster region's founding fathers. The sunlight and open frontage made for some entrancing light effects when I was there this week with my friedn Miriam, seen here getting the drinks in in an angelic burst of sunlight. Taking part in The Weekend in Black and White.
ABC Wednesday starts again and here is the lovely 1950s building with the Artzu gallery in, a year ago. Now demolished, and the grass long gone, for more corporate glass and steel at Spinningfields. When will they ever learn?
Noel Gallagher's (Oasis) High Flying Birds played to a capcity crowd of 8,000 at Castlefield Bowl last night, supported by legendary ex-The Smith's guitarist Johnny Marr. It doesn't get much more Mancunian than this! Photo above by Holly Sutton-Brand. There have been several gigs at Castlefield Bowl in the past 10 days. If I don't have a ticket then I know a terraced bar where I can take up a comfortable position. Although you can't see the front of the stage, you can certainly hear, and by following people in the crowd who posting live to Instagram you can get the odd photographic glimpse too. Below is a shot from the always-surreal Bjork concert I attended last Sunday evening. Thank you Manchester.
View at dusk last nighfrom the new bridge connecting Deansgate train station with Deansgate Castlefield metro stop. The bars in the arhces were about to throb for a steamy summer night but I was heading home. I'd been to an inner sense meditation class talk on self-acceaptance. Over 200 diverse people were there but I found it to an hour long talk of the speaker stating the obvious, and although the 10 min meditation after was pleasant enough, I left the meeting feeling disappointed and far more wound up then when I'd arrived.
It was a sunny and hot meander up the hill to Pots and Pans over Saddleworth last Sunday with some fabulous views to Manchester's centre. But the storm that raged through the south and midlands of England had hit Cheshire by then and was on its way to meet us to the north east of Manchester . Luckily we escaped it and were all safely back in the pub below by the time its outermost edges came by. Skywatch Friday.
Manchester Civil Justice Centre, completed in 2007, is a lovely building, nicknamed "the filing cabinet" for obvious reasons. The filing cabinet end looked fabulous in Sunday night's sunset, but on Monday the harrowing business of bringing criminality to light was in full flow; the police were being brought to justice for the 2013 tasering of Jordon Begley who was shot with a 50,000 volt stun gun by police officers and later died.
ABC Wednesday reaches its zenith and my "Z" is for the Zenith Building - one of many non-descript, cleaned up office blocks in the city centre. You'd not look twice at it really, nor many of the businesses it contains. but it does house a rarity in Manchester city centre, a Post Office. There are only a handful in the whole city centre- no wonder they all have queues most of the time (though a friend has discovered a quiet one in MMU just off of All Saints Park, but don't tell anyone). The only saving grace to this one are the monolithic stone murals that were done presumably in the 1960s...
I love Festival Square in the sunshine. With the Manchester International Festival and the Jazz Festival following on after it, a spot on that upper deck in the distance, with a glass of white wine, is one of my favourite Manchester twilight places.
Through an office block's reception in the city centre I spied this intriguing mural- the right hand side of it seems to depict the glass frontage of the Bridgewater Hall, replete with anticipatory audience; other Manchester landmarks are represented here too. More Monday murals here.
It's been a busy Sunday so far- nice walk around Dunham this morning, a walk this afternoon (above) up towards Greenfield War Memorial (1000 ft) and the Pots and Pans stone landmarks up above Oldham. This view was taken half way up. Just back to grab a a bite to eat (I didn't have any lunch!) before going to see Bjork in the open air at at Castlefield Bowl this evening.
I always see Skywatch Friday as a chance to look not just skywards, but upwards to building tops too. And here on the ornate building that houses the Albert Square Chop House pub is a cartoon fringe, marking the start of the Manchester Fringe Festival (1-31 July), an alternative adjunct to the larger Manchester International Festival (MIF) which kicks off this week. This is the Fringe's fourth year and is timed to coincide with the MIF and ~ like all Fringe Festivals around the world ~ from humble beginnings, it's developing each year. The Fringe has big ambitions to become one of the world’s largest arts festivals where it can show off and celebrate Manchester's creativity, encouraging new and established performers to try out new work and take risks.
The Fringe currently has 31 venues throughout Greater Manchester, putting on 100 performances and events. One of the highlights will be 'music festival favourite', Tim Peaks Diner, which will be taking residence upstairs at The Albert Square Chop House for the weekend of 11 and 12 July.
Tim Peaks Diner will host cartoonist Tony Husband's workshop and various bands and DJs. The 'giant fringe hairpiece idea' was inspired by a conversation between Tony Husband and The Albert Square Chophouse owner, Roger Ward ~ they thought it would be fun to mark Fringe Festival venues with a fringe. So to get things going, it seemed fitting to recreate Tim Burgess' distinctive hairstyle as a flagship for Tim Peaks Diner. Tony subsequently adapted Pete Fowler's cartoon drawing of Tim and then a giant fabric fringe was created!
As Roger says: "Manchester is arguably the capital city of music for the world! It's famous for its bands, theatres, television and creativity… as well as for football. It is also well-known for its maverick, independent spirit. Whilst becoming increasingly well-known internationally for MIF with its original work, if we want to turn it into a really huge tourist attraction and engage with the people of the city, we need to add the benefits that only a fringe festival can bring ~ affordable, accessible fun!”
Tony adds: “The fringe hairpiece idea is a light-hearted way of bringing attention to the festival and to help people find the venues, which may not usually be associated with the arts. We'd love this to become an enduring theme for the Fringe, because we can have a lot of fun with the idea over time and encourage other venues to wear our 'wigs'”.
Yesterday was the hottest July day for a decade and it was
the one day that I put aside each week to do my freelance writing. But it would
have been foolish not to get out to the countryside.
On the way to the station I bumped into a friend with something
similar in mind, he and his other half were about to drive off in their camper van to walk
Hadrian’s Wall. And another friend was off to walk with her walks group on Congleton
Edge. It seemed that everyone was downing tools and not working. Lovely for
those of us able to but tough for those left in the office.
I headed off on the slow train through the Peak District
from Manchester to Hathersage in Derbyshire passing some stunning scenery.
It was a hot day to be walking anywhere as I wandered through Hathersage - a lovely town, complete with a 1936 open air heated
swimming pool, cafe, bandstand and bowling green (see my Instagram
for 2 July).
A while later I was up on Stanage Edge, I had hardly seen
anyone on the way up from the town and was enjoying the solitude. There were
some walkers and climbers about and plenty of sheep but I felt satisfied and
pleased to have come somewhere new for me.
It was in the 30°Cs/ high 80°F and I a saw walker faint as I waited for
the homeward train. Back at Manchester Piccadilly hoards of heated
commuters were massively delayed by network infrastructure failings, it was a
good day to not be working…
I was walking in the countryside talking about how
challenging this month’s City Daily Photo Theme Day of Upside Down was, when we
wandered into Dunham Town, where in several gardens were a selection of scarecrows,
as part of their Open Gardens weekend. Box ticked.
Then at the weekend in Altrincham's Vintage Market I turned round from a crockery and jewellery stall and nearly fell over this fellow: