Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween faces - getting creative with a pumpkin

Doorstep creations around Manchester suburbs. I hope the pumpkin innards all get cooked into something as good and creative as the outers...

Friday, 30 October 2015

Autumn on campus

Sometimes I can but sigh with happiness at the simple beauty around us! Celebrate with Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Guess who's already coming to town? @MCRSanta

Seen this morning on Albert Square and looking like he's still recovering from a huge hangover, the man in red is making his way back to lead the lights switch on, on 7 November. 

This year he'll need to have plenty of food and beds for the ever increasing numbers of hungry and homeless in Greater Manchester (and the UK in general). Although as the sixth richest country on earth there is plenty to go round were it not for the fat cats stealing it and not paying their taxes of course.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

ABC Wednesday: "P" is for playground in the Park

Stamford Park, looking autumnal - my kids spent many a happy hour in this playground, in all seasons, many years ago!

ABC Wednesday passes onto "P" this pumpkin week.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Lavender Barn Tea Room - my cup of tea

I'd passed Lavender Barn on Dog Farm in Dunham on hundreds of occasions but was always too early for the shop and cafe to be open. Last Tuesday afternoon was wonderfully sunny and on a circular walk I did finally pop in. A funky cafe with lots of choice of cakes and stylishly decorated.  This was a pleasant surprise as I'd expected a more rural, basic farm shop. Another nice surprise was the array of sofas and armchairs in an open fronted barn where we sat and relaxed in late afternoon sunshine. I even indulged in a pot of their lavender tea, which was fabulous. I must visit again. Our World Tuesday.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Monday Murals: Spacehopping to Artzu

It was sad to see the 1950s/60s (?) modernist  office block which contained the Artzu Gallery demolished. It's now a pile of rubble in Spinningfields, not deemed modern or commercial enough to fit in with the soulless glass and corporate structures there. Artzu has moved into an old Granada building across the road.
Taking part in Monday Mural.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

#RefugeesWelcome Everyone's a star @StarInnSalford


Photos from last night's  fundraiser for Calais refugees at the lovely Star Inn in Salford.

Great entertainment with guitarists, poets, folk songs, Egyptian music and dancing. Plus a harrowing report from two brave women who go to Calais Jungle to help the refugees there, delivering them food, clothes and hope from the people of Salford and Manchester.

Despite the right wing racist western media, many of the population here see things for how they really are. The world is big enough and rich enough for us all to live safely and equally. The UK, as the world's sixth richest country must open the doors and do far more to support people in need.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Didn't u get the message last time Tories? #TakeBackMcr @PplsAssemblyMcr

Yesterday in nuclear-free Manchester the out of touch Osbourne and his gun-running pal Cuts Crazy Cameron took President Xi Jinping to a sumptuous luncheon in Manchester’s gorgeously Gothic Town Hall. While they enjoyed yet another lavish feast others in the UK went hungry. Nearly 1,100,000 people had to access foodbanks in 2014-15. It was 40,000 when the Tories were not in power in 2008-9, so you can see what Tory policy has done over the past few years. 

While some right-wing Chinese (see yesterday’s blog post) lined the streets and brought red flags and dragon heads, many of their compatriots back in China continue to suffer appalling human rights violations. Something that is not new to the UK Government either.

A persecuted Falun Gong group did manage to get their banner and protest in the heart of things but a Free Tibet group who tried to set up in Albert Square to show a different side to the stooges were pushed aside by the police. They joined us for a while (the People’s Assembly coalition) on the far side of Albert Square. A selection of photos from the lunchtime demo is shown above.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Year of the Pig? Demonstrate noon agst Cameron Osbourne & Xi Jinping

This is Manchester at 0840 and a couple of hundred Chinese students from the north west, with impressive banners I admit, line the street to see their president. These people are there to welcome him, but at noon we (The People's Assembly, DPAC, Green Party, Labour and anti-Tories of all forms) shall be protesting at China's appalling human rights record and the equally appalling human rights abuses of the Tory government, as Cameron and Osbourne try to schmooze Xi Jinping further in Manchester.

Demonstration at noon in Albert Square... hopefully these pro-China people will have left by then... See you there.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

#TakeBackMcr People's Assembly, noon Friday at Manchester Town Hall

Preparations in Manchester this morning for Friday's visit to Manchester by David Cameron and the Chinese head of state, for lunch at the Town Hall and I dread to think what else. I spoke to some of the guys setting up the barriers who inform me that us protesters will be pushed to one side as far out of sight as possible and that armed police will be on the streets again.

Manchester People's Assembly and other groups will be protesting against David Cameron's
return to Manchester and against the vicious cuts he is making to our public services.

Manchester People's Assembly event: "...This time he will be hosting a dinner with the Chinese president at Manchester Town Hall. Join us and other groups to voice concerns about the human rights abuses going unchallenged by David Cameron and the continuing attack on all sections of society. Junior doctors, unions, disabled people, the low and middle waged plus many others. #TakeBackMcr

Bring your lollipops, banners and whatever good chants you have. Meet us at lunch time in Albert Square."

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

"O" is for Oddfellows' Hall

Oddfellows Hall is my "O" for ABC Wednesday. The building once housed the Museum of Science and Industry but is now a university building. I assume it's named after the Oddfellows friendly societies which evolved from the medieval Trade Guilds,


Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Is the tide turning? #ManchesterAngels

After Gary Neville's kindhearted agreement to the homeless using his Stock Exchange building over the winter, reported on Sunday locally, nationally and globally, yesterday some MMU (Manchester Metropolitan University) students showed their support for the homeless too. They were preparing placards and banners at All Saints Park and shaming those executives  at MMU who decided to bully and try and evict the homeless at the Ark, on a wasteland under Mancunian Way by MMU.

These positive actions will make those at Manchester City Council,, GM Police, MMU etc. who make such poor choices re: the treatment of the homeless camps look at things in a new, enlightened light hopefully.

I had a run in with some MMU security staff last Friday morning. About 20 of them were erecting yet more steel fences around the pavement trying to exclude the homeless. I urged them to show some compassion and to see the bigger picture... Maybe they too will be thinking differently today...

Taking part in Our World Tuesday.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Monday Mural: Brazil #WeAreBrasil #CityDailyPhoto

They may claim to be Brasil but Rio de Janeiro it isn't. At the Corn Exchange in Manchester a wide range of restaurants have opened- I have yet to explore them but Indian Mowgli with its veggie and vegan fare sound the best by far. A shame they all seem to be chains which means I won't be visiting very often anyway- I prefer independents,

The Vietnamese Pho is not authentic according to friends of a friend from Vancouver who eat regularly in Canada's Vietnamese street food places.

I hope that this Brazilian place offers the food I remember from my travels in Brazil, along the rice and beans and healthy options line, rather then the bloody hunks of meat that the other three Brazilian restaurants I know of in Manchester seem to serve up...

Monday Mural.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

People's Assembly #TakeBackMcr ? We took back Manchester!

Photo by MrPearseyNick (Twitter @NickPearseActor)

Photo by Sup8rdan

These are simply two of the greatest Manchester photos I have ever seen. They were taken by two Instagram friends at the 100,000 strong anti-Tory, anti-austerity demo two Sundays ago. #TakeBackMcr was the hashtag for the week of events, gigs, rallies and demos and we did take the city back from the vicious vile and unwanted Tories.

 As Maxine Peake said about the Tories staging their annual conference here - 
How dare they come to our city, a city annihilated by their cuts?

Among the many wonderful and innovative students and demos, my fave was possibly the anti-third runway at Heathrow group who, in the middle of the night outside the Midland Hotel where the over privileged delegates were staying, played the sounds of planes taking off at them.

Organised by the wonderful People's Assembly (which I now attend - join us!), this umbrella organisation is an inspirational group of left leaning individual groups who are fighting back against the right wing extremism of the Tory government, their tax avoiding establishment pals and their right wing contacts in the media. We shall overcome and we shall overthrow this racist, out of touch government who damage the environment, inflict cuts on the most vulnerable, while giving yet more money to the already over wealthy.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Dutton Lock locks in for the long haul

Away from the mostly devoid of green and nature city out on the Cheshire Ring Canal network, the season moves on... Depressing.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Big Brother is watching you #1984 at the Palace

I really like the idea of Orwell's 1984 performed at a ballet. It's on at the Pal;ace Theatre (14-17 October) but it's hard to find the time. I was at the People's Assembly on Tuesday, had a great catch up with a friend at Common on Wednesday night (Sue, the Sign Siren - what a great title!), a veggie chilli with my son tonight and a raw vegan meeting after work tomorrow with a speaker from New York City. 

Saturday is the Northern Vegan Show then I'm seeing the James Taylor Quartet at Band On the Wall. I want to fit in some more events at the Manchester Literature Festival too. So I'm not sure how I can squeeze 1984 in- funny how it's just like how the real 1984 was for me as a youth in London- very busy socially, so no complaints. I will check the box office for any cheap tickets or returns on the Friday evening show as that's my best bet. If it's too expensive my dilemma is solved!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

ABC Wednesday: "N" is for Nuclear bunker... #Trabant

Now ABC Wednesday necessitates nothing less than an "N"A scary "N" for a nuclear bunker- Hack Green "secret" nuclear bunker in Cheshire. And here is the world's last military / police Trabant from the DDR (East Germany)- how time has changed since the cold war. It even has its own Instagram account (Militarstreife Trabant).

The bunker was a sinister secret once upon a time but is now open to the public. For more information you can read an article I wrote for Radio Active magazine back in 2003. I was there again for the first time since last Sunday to share a stand with a friend who was selling military surplus clothing and boots. I was selling some vintage radios and offshore magazines, badges etc. but, as I suspected, it was the wrong market for me. Still good fun though although very intimidating to see so many military people about actually selling rifles etc. The radio amateur people selling communications receivers and accessories were more reassuring though. 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Coop fire

A big fire at the Coop CWS building near Shudehill yesterday evening, The seven storey building is undergoing renovations and no-one was injured in the fire.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Monday Mural: The past of Manchester and St Petersburg

Monday Mural and in the summer I visited the Photographers' Gallery in London to see views of 1960s' Manchester. This was an exhibition of photos taken by Shirley Baker as many parts of the poorest areas of the city were demolished and regenerated. 

While in the twin city of St Petersburg this mural had been recreated to typify the Socialist Realism school, which commenced in the 1930s. Seen in Septmber at the State Museum of Russian Political History.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Weekend in Black and White: Sleeping on Deansgate

No, this isn't an umbrella seller but it's a way of keeping protected from the elements if you are homeless. Two people call this doorway home and are buried beneath blankets and bags in here. It's 2015 yet the right to basic amenities is something not to be taken for granted in this so called democracy. Trying to spread the word via the Weekend in Black and White.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Try again...

The Rugby Fanzone has been set up. I presumable for the rugby matches at Manchester's two football stadiums today: Wigan play Leeds in a league version of the game and in a pointless World Cup match Uruguay play England in union.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Palace Hotel or Winter Palace (hmm, now I'm being silly) #CityDailyPhoto #StPetersburg #Manchester

The Palace Hotel is a fine building and in scale with little old Manchester. But the Winter Palace in the twin city of St Petersburg, post the storming of it in 1917 eventually became the Hermitage and the world's largest art collection. I am not comparing the two, they each serve their own useful purposes, but I'd rather see the sights of St Petersburg as often as I see those of Manchester.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

ABC Wednesday: "M" is for a Manchester (police) state of Mind #TakeBackMCR

There were police snipers on the rooftops during a peaceful demo by 100,000 on Sunday. The non-stop smaller protests against the Tory Party Conference this week have seen an over policed and over protective ring of steel - it feels like Manchester has slipped nearer to a being a police state. 

Above we have a few photos near the conference entrance including a bunch of young Tories at Brew Dog and the police brutally manhandling an innocent protestor and falsely accusing him (I witnessed all of this) during the DPAC Protest (Disabled People Against the Cuts). 

Less harrowing scenes from bloggers around the world can be seen at ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

#TakeBackMCR @PSB_HQ

Monday was quite a day. On Sunday 100,000 of us marched and rallied against the undemocratically elected Tory government (votes from 24% of the electorate is not a mandate).

On Monday morning walking into work I witnessed several Tory delegates en route to their conference sneering and laughing at some homeless people trying to debate with them. I challenged them of course but they ignored me and hurried to their police escort past the ridiculous ring of steel that encloses Manchester Central at present

At lunchtime I popped back to support the DPAC, Disabled People Against cuts protest. Lively and noisy and I witnessed two police thugs hauling away a protester, falsely claiming he threw an egg and willing to use that as an excuse to throw him against the nearest wall. Had I and others (steward, photographer, members of public) not intervened they would have taken it further I am sure.

In the evening there were 8000 people inside and outside the Cathedral for The People’s Post Rally (take back the Royal Mail from the greedy and selfish Tories and shareholders who stole it from us and privatised it). Some inspiring speakers including Green and Labour Party leaders Natalie Bennett and Jeremy Corbyn.

Then hot footed it across town for the Beat Back Gig – Here are the wonderful Public Service Broadcasting playing their set, which was followed by Charlotte Church and the zany and captivating Super Furry Animals.

Hope is in the air as I post for Our World Tuesday.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Emerson overcoats of Stockport #CityDailyPhoto

Two Monday Murals for you this week. Above, seven miles out from Manchester and into Stockport, the old painted wall signage of Emerson remains although the tailor's shop is now a cafe. The sign was there in photos taken in 1905 so probably dates from the late 19th century.

While on this virtual stop of Stockport look up local bloggers Sue at the Sign Siren and Gerald at the Stockport Daily Photo. Apologies for stepping on their toes or rather, their territory, today.

Meanwhile in the twin city of St Petersburg the other week I took a photo of this (presumably) 1950s map at Finland station of the local network makes a fine mural.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Music and poets and anti-austerity #EndAusterityNow

Part of the people's anti-austerity actions was a 10 hour poetry and music concert at the People's History Museum yesterday, in the old pump house, culminating with a performance by Billy Bragg. This is Longy in action. The big demo at the Tory conference is today in Manchester with actions, benefits, comedy and drama until the unwanted Conservatives skulk back to their mansions in a few days' time.

Engels and Marx. who wrote their Communist Manifesto and other works just a half a mile of less from the Pump House would be proud, Here they are the other week in Manchester's twin city of St Petersburg.

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