Wednesday, 30 September 2015

ABC Wednesday :"L" is for Lenin Square ( #StPetersburg ) & lady of fabric ( #Manchester )

ABC Wednesday lurches to letter "L" this week. Continuing my (somewhat unfair) comparisons between the twin cities of St Petersburg and Manchester in September, we have Lenin Square, a mighty plaza commemorating the Finland Railway station where Lenin arrived to lead the 1917 revolution, and back in Manchester outside Alberton House (built 1973) on St Mary Parsonage, the futuristic Fabric of Manchester statue by Clare Biggar. 

An IRA bomb exploded here in 1992 (no not the more famous 1996 one). It's built on site of the first Municipal Gas Works - the first location in the world to sell gas to the public. 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

A stroll in the park in #StPetersburg & #Manchester #citydailyphoto

Continuing my comparisons between the twin cities of St Petersburg and Manchester in September, we have a sunny lunchtime yesterday in All Saints Park below and a mild afternoon last week in the park near St Petersburg's Admiralty Building, above. Our World Tuesday.

Monday, 28 September 2015

#MondayMural: # StPetersburg v #Manchester #CityDailyPhoto

Six glorious nights last week in St Petersburg, one of Manchester's twin cities, has led me to decide to post photos from both cities for a week or two.

We start the Monday Mural with a fine example of Soviet harvest gathering in this 1955 tiled mural at Vladimirskaya metro station. Meanwhile in Manchester this power station in the Northern Quarter recently looked like this but has since been updated.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

25 years of Dimitri's @DimitrisTapas & a St Petersburg gem @CafeUkrop

25 years ago today Dimitri's opened on Deansgate. I have been going there on and off for many of those years. I've supped many a late night glass of wine at the bar, and a couple of times this past summer have enjoyed their wonderful veggie tapas sitting here in the covered arcade.

I got back from six days in St Petersburg last week. It is twinned with Manchester and so for the next few posts I will share a similar post from both cities. Below is the wonderful veggie/vegan Cafe Ukrop, with a bowl of delicious buckwheat noodles, an amazing beetroot juice and a plate of its pumpkin desert.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Wolf Alice at Albert Hall

As much as I love Manchester, it's been hard these past few days adjusting after a magnificent 6 days in St Petersburg (more of that on the blog from tomorrow) So a last minute ticket for WolfAlcoe at the Albert Hal last night was just the thing to blow away the post-Petersburg blues and to get back into Manchester's music scene again.

Wolf Alice were fantastic, moody laid back jangly vibes plus angst and melodic anger. Upside-down crowd surfers and a pogoing crowd added to the great atmosphere. You're a germ...

Friday, 25 September 2015

Skywatch: dark clouds over the round building

This round university building was built a few years ago, replacing the iconic Maths tower.

A lovely blog post from 2011 by a mature student coming to study in Manchester.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Taking Stock...

Inside what was once Stock restaurant- a rather grand place- which is currently being refurbished. In fact a couple of famous overpaid ex-footballers  are turning it into a boutique hotel - what a shame...

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

ABC Wednesday: "K" is for looking up on King Street

ABC Wednesday and a touch of the Hapsburg Empire's ornate style often swims over me when I look at some of the King Street buildings. Boring High Street names and expensive shops below, but beauty above...

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Vivaldi's Manchester sonatas for violin and continuo

The post below first appeared a while back on the Smitten by Britain blog (which has come to its natural end). It was the first guest post I did for them and featured Manchester so am popping it here today.

Welcome to Barbirolli Square in central Manchester. These offices and the square itself, complete with Mancunian palm trees, are named after John Barbirolli (1899-1970). He was an English conductor and cellist best remembered for being the conductor of Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra from 1943 to 1970.

When Manchester and music are mentioned most people immediately jump on the bandwagon of the pop, rock and indie scenes. I Am Kloot, Doves, The 1975 and the Courteeners are current famous bands with roots in the original industrial city, but Manchester has been world-renowned for its classical music since the 19th century.

The Hallé Orchestra originated in 1857 thanks to German Karl Halle. Halle anglicised his name to Charles Hallé and the UK’s oldest symphony orchestra (the fourth oldest in the world) was born. Its home was the Free Trade Hall for many years then in the 1990s it moved to the purpose-built Bridgewater Hall, just across from Barbirolli Square. The Hallé vie with the Manchester Camerata and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra across the water at Media City for the title of the city’s leading orchestra. The Bridgewater Hall is an international concert venue which hosts over 250 classical, pop, jazz and world music concerts each year.

Lesser known in the classical world perhaps are Vivaldi’s Manchester Sonatas. These are a set of twelve violin sonatas so named because they were rediscovered in Manchester’s Central Reference Library in 1973 by Michael Talbot.

The priceless 300 year-old volume has either Vivaldi or his father’s own corrections betwixt its gilt-edged, leather bound pages. The Manchester sonatas for violin and continuo performed by Romanesca are available on CD

Monday, 21 September 2015

Monday Mural: Stevenson's Square express city scape

A mural photo I didn't get around to posting when it was painted in 2013 (late summer I think) - but the more I look at it now the more I love it. A friendly camouflaged face in the green hills above the city, the honey coloured stone buildings and a train on the viaduct. It could be a fantastical Manchester or even somewhere on the Mediterranean. Taking part in Monday Mural.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Round the back...and back in time

A layer of amalgamated Mancunian city centre buildings which are in severe need of some tender loving care. This is 2015. Imagine how grim they must have been when the city's industry was in full flow, with smoke and smog, a lack of daylight and atrocious working and living conditions.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Skywatch Friday: Coronation Street Mk iv

Behind those walls, in the ITV complex at Media City, is the latest set for long running soap opera Coronation Street, surely the third or fourth such set spanning its history of six decades? I am amazed anyone still watches after all these years but it still seems popular- it seems more like a parody of north-west cliches or a comedy when I occasionally catch 30 seconds of it in error. But can 9 million Brits be wrong? It did fall to its lowest ever ratings in December last year, of a mere 4.9 million viewers.

Taking part in Skywatch Friday

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Back to School BIMM Music School

Back to school, well music college at BIMM for the start of the third year of the organisation's Mancunian existence.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

ABC Wednesday: "J" is for Jail & Just another Strangeways riot?

ABC Wednesday comes around to "J" for Jail. This lone protestor has been on the roof at Strangeways prison since the weekend. I took these photos yesterday as he enjoyed some sunshine from his dangerous rooftop perch. He's inside for the murder of his uncle but there is an underlying problem in the prison. Poor conditions mean that tension is bubbling under and it can't be long before the riots of 1990 might be repeated...

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Manchester Food & Drink Festival - could do better? #MFDF15 @MFDF15

The 18th Manchester Food and Drink Festival is in full flow. Cookery demonstrations at the weekends are a big part of it as is a drinks tent and a pavilion. 

What Manchester needs desperately is a permanent street or space in the city centre where street food stalls can operate daily. I was in London last week and wandered through Exmouth Market, Borough Market and Leather Lane - those three all thrive daily with more atmosphere, tempting aromas, variety and quality of street food than much of the annual Manchester food festival. I hope something can be done on this front in the immediate future...

Monday, 14 September 2015

Monday Mural: Happy Jewish New Year - Rosh Hashana

I am not sure an electronic rolling billboard in Piccadilly Gardens really counts as a mural but as it's Rosh Hashana, I thought I would bend the rules! We are now entering the the Hebrew Year of 5775. Monday Mural.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Late summer in the suburbs

All is quiet on a summer's afternoon in the leafy suburbs. Who's for tea and cucumber sandwiches on the back lawn?  Only days of summer are left...

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Weekend Reflections: Graphically graphene

Two years ago I showed you the Graphene Institute being built. Here is the end result, and within, the world's thinnest material is set to revolutionise modern life, so I hear. That's something to reflect on this weekend at Weekend Reflections.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Skywatch Friday: Summer sky sunset

Some summer nights give a perfect end to near perfect days while others don't. But a balmy sunset from my balcony on a rare night at home after weeks of being away or socialising in town has a calming effect on me. Yes, it's another Skywatch Friday, folks. 

Thursday, 10 September 2015

A quickie at the Town Hall Tavern... #BadDates

I had my quickest ever date on record recently - it lasted barely 25 minutes. We met and had a drink here at the Town Hall Tavern. One of his opening lines was "What do you think if the immigration crisis?" I said it immigration is good thing and that we should welcome refugees. 

He then kept going on about how "they" should "defend themselves and not run away" and that "we" don't run away. He went on to talk about how "our boys defend the world" - I put him straight on that one too. 

But I was a bit scared and tried to find a neutral subject to get me through. Luckily it was a mutual feeling (that we had nowt in common - not being scared although he did seem a little nervous). He went to "see a mate about a job" before I needed to make my own excuses.

An hour later he texted me saying he was "feeling frisky" and would I have invited him back to mine?... I was rendered speechless for a change.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Wrung out, why you should hang onto your denim

11,000 litres of water to make a pair of jeans is scandalous- so it's good to see WWF and H&M raising awareness with this cool piece of art.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015


Havana it ain't but a blue sky and the handful of Cuban restaurants in town can transport you part of the way. Especially when reading a book such as Fidel and Che by Simon Reid-Henry, as I'm doing at present.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Monday Mural: I am MCR in Alty @LivCafe

In a week where everyone's attention has finally turned to people of other cultures, other languages and the need for all those in the slightly less oppressed parts of the world to take in refugees, this mural expresses a voice of hope and unity for all the people.

Taking part with other street artist admirers at the Monday Mural.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Inspired Sunday: St. Peter's Square (is he?) in Stockport

St Peter's Square is named after the church and it's a nice green space with statue and fountains, family-friendly, in Stockport. The church was built in 1768, a gallery was added in 1838 and an apse in 1888–89. The statue is of Free Trade pioneer Richard Cobden.

Taking part in Inspired Sundays.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Festejar - Manchester Spanish Festival

Today is the third and final day of the Spanish Festival in Albert Square. Instituto Cervantes were behind part of it including dance classes I think,. If only I had the nerve I would try and learn.

This was at lunchtime yesterday, bumusic, food, drink and dancing started in earnest from late afternoon and lasted late into the night.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Skywatch Friday: Southport Pier

Thanks to Tim Sutton-Brand for this photo of Southport Pier, where the sea is so far out that the pier never reaches it. I hope to get along myself sometime this summer on a short train ride from Manchester, but there's only a few weeks to go...

A nice blue coastal sky for this Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Blue door

56 Thomas Street, a fabulous entrance referencing some of the past 150 years.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

ABC Wednesday: "H" is for Hanging Ditch

ABC Wednesday this week finds me at a nice old building in the eerily named street called Hanging Ditch. There was also a Hanging Bridge which in the 14th century connected the Rivers Irk and Irwell here. 

Manchester UK gives two reasons for its name: "...because fullers hung their sheets over the ditch to drain and dry (the fulling-mill is known to have existed in 1282) - hence the long-standing pollution of the River Irk. (There is also a possibility that it was the site of an old gallows, and that felons were, in fact, hanged here)".

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

City Daily Photo Theme Day: Curiosity

September's theme day is Curiosity, a theme suggested by William of the Ottawa Daily Photo blog.

Here at Out There Events, on the ground floor of my apartment building, I peeked through an inside window to see two (well one and three quarters) giant Oscar statues gleaming in gold...

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