Friday, 31 July 2015

Skywatch Friday, suburban sunset

Another suburban sunset, taken as I sat in a deckchair, with a phone in one hand, a book in another and a glass of wine in a third ... hang on a minute... 

More Skywatch Friday posts.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Didsbury tomato juice @Expo_Lounge #CityDailyPhoto

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.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

ABC Wednesday: "C" is for Cottage cricket...

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...

Tuesday, 28 July 2015


A grey summer's day but I really enjoyed this cup of black coffee, in upcycled style at Grindsmith on Deansgate.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Monday Mural: Summer past

Four horsemen of the apocalypse riding by on Stevenson Square on a wet day in the summer of 2013.

Taking part in Monday Murals.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Typographical Society of Manchester

Looking up at a section of Caxton Hall, which was built in 1904 on Chapel Street for the Typographical Society of Manchester.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

The temple in Heaton Park, high spot of Manchester!

Evidently the highest point in the city of Manchester (so not very high in this flat city) it was designed by James Wyatt in 1800. Paper cranes decorate the inside at present.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Skywatch Friday: Mr Blue Sky and his chemtrails

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 chemtrailsHave 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 ..."

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Lunch with Victoria, a Piccadilly picnic

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.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

ABC Wednesday: "B" for blood on their hands #ManchesterCityCouncil

ABC Wednesday and a big "B" for blood on their hands. Manchester City Council's social cleansing policy towards the homeless has led to 8 homeless people dying as a result so far in 2015.

I was at the court case yesterday- see yesterday's blogpost for details.

There was an excellent symbolic protest at the weekend at the Manchester International Festival highlighting some truths about alleged corruption and genocide by Manchester City Council and the connections with the festival.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Manchester Homeless Camp - Solidarity sit-in today

They just want somewhere to live!

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.

There is an action planned to demonstrate to the judge and those involved that there is widespread support for the Homeless Rights of Justice Camp, and to highlight the ludicrousness of banning protesters and criminalising a messy social issue.

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?

Monday, 20 July 2015

Monday Mural: Artist at work @stina_jones

The summer round of the Outhouse Project Street art was completed in Stevenson Square last week. Here we see Stina Jones creating a world of blue and white. More Monday murals here.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Art therapy at Madlab

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…

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Weekend in black and white: Common

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.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Skywatch Friday: Unicorn co-op

Even on a grey day the skies are always blue over the wonderful Unicorn Coop Wholefood Store in Chorlton cum Hardy. If only more shops had the ethics and humanity of Unicorn. Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

ABC Wednesday: A is for #ArtzuGallery at Spinningfields#

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?

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Heaton Park tramway

A tram has run around Heaton Park since 1903. Originally part of the first Manchester trams network, it now runs along a 1 km track during these summer months. More on the Heaton Park tramway.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Monday Mural: parasol parody

Down on Cambridge Street this interpretation of the Manchester weather is a self-parody, as proven by the blue sky behind it. Have a look at some other Monday Murals.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Live at Castlefield Bowl #NoelGallagher #Bjork #JohnnyMarr

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.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Dusk at Deansgate Lock & inner sense meditation

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.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Skywatch from Saddleworth

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.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Police brutality helped kill factory worker

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.

There is too much unwarranted police brutality. I have witnessed it on many otherwise peaceful actions and demonstrations in the past 30 years all over the UK, from anti-nuclear protests to fracking sit-ins. It's a global phenomenon which goes unchecked. In the past year I've seen and read how it's occurred, from Spain where police got heavy handed with anti austerity demonstrators, to Hong Kong against pro-democracy supporters,in Australia with this violent attack against a model and in Italy during the G8 protests. There are, sadly, hundreds more cases, many of which don't make the global news like these did.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

ABC Wednesday "Z" is for Zenith building

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...

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Festival Square #MIF

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.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Monday Mural: office block's cityscape

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.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Sunday: City and country

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.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Weekend Reflection: A touch of Venice...

Down at Castlefield on Monday night- too warm an evenng to stay indoors. The Venetian style church provides my entry to Weekend Reflections. 

Friday, 3 July 2015

Skywatch Friday: the fringe

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'”.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

On Stanage Edge

On Stanage Edge

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…

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

City Daily Photo Theme Day: Upside Down

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:


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