Thursday, 28 April 2016

All to the Soup Kitchen for #BeatBack gig Manchester #PeoplesAssembly tonight

On Tuesday evening it was a quick dash from the office across town to Levenshulme where I was honoured to be interviewed by Caroline Boyd on ALL FM’s Drive Time show. The main reason I was there was to promote the Beat Back gig Manchester People’s Assembly Against Austerity are holding tonight, Thursday 28 April at the Soup Kitchen café and music venue on Spear St in the Northern Quarter. Four Manchester acts, three music, one poet. Tickets on door £7. The gig will take place at Soup Kitchen in Manchester, Thursday 28 April, 7pm – 10pm. Performing are The Tapestry, Novustory, Gareth Evans and Gerry Potter

We spoke a little about the People’s Assembly Against Austerity’s campaigning work and the active Manchester branch, who campaign tirelessly on many fronts and offer many solutions and alternatives to the austerity measures which benefit the millionaires and leave the rest of us to pay for it in all senses.

There is no need for ANY cuts to public spending; no need to decimate public services; no need for unemployment or pay and pension cuts; no need for Austerity and privatisation. There IS an alternative.

We need a government to reverse damaging austerity, and replace it with a new set of policies providing us with a fair, sustainable and secure future. We can no longer tolerate politicians looking out for themselves and for the rich and powerful. Our political representatives must start governing in the interests of the majority. For a full overview of the policies we support, download The People’s Manifesto and The People’s Charter.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Support #JuniorDoctorsStrike #SaveOurNHS #picketprofiteers #JuniorDoctors

A large turnout yesterday to support the 45,000 Junior Doctors on strike across the country (yesterday and today). This was at the MRI – I spent my lunchtime with them but then had to return to work so had to miss the march to Albert Square. The case is made well by 28-year-old Louise Congdon, a paediatric trainee at Bristol Children’s Hospital explaining why she had to go on strike, at 
The Pool.

There was also a great Picket the Profiteers action in Piccadilly in the morning (one of eleven actions nationally) , fighting against the privatisation of the NHS where the Tories have effectively handed fat contracts to their friends in dodgy organisations like Capita Serco, Virgin etc. I suffered at the hands of one of these such companies a few years ago when they took over a mostly lovely company I worked for (who were doing good public engagement work in the NHS and third sector) - and then made many of us redundant. It was their loss and my gain in the end, ironically.

The photo at Victoria's statue is from Plan C Manchester.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Beat Back Gig Thurs 28 Apr @SoupKitchen_Mcr with @TheTapestry_UK @Novustory @garethevansblog @gerrypotterpoet

Beat Back is an initiative of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, bringing artists together to oppose the cuts. The gig will take place at Soup Kitchen in Manchester, Thursday 28 April, 7pm – 10pm. Performing at the night will be The Tapestry, Novustory, Gareth Evans and Gerry Potter.

Politics can be a serious business…but who says you can’t have fun while resisting the cuts? Thursday 28 April marks the Manchester launch of Beat Back with a night of music and poetry at the Soup Kitchen in the Northern Quarter.  Beat Back is a national initiative of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, bringing together some of the many musicians and artists who condemn the government’s cuts, to host fun creative events in aid of the anti-austerity cause.

Local bands The Tapestry and Novustory, singer-songwriter Gareth Evans, and performance poet Gerry Potter join a strong tradition of famous musicians and artists who have spoken out against the government’s ideological austerity programme, such as the singer Charlotte Church, band Super Furry Animals and comedian Rufus Hound.

The night is compered by Manchester People's Assembly Against Austerity's very own punk poet and rabble rouser, Steph Pike.

Beat Back comes hot on the heels of the recent People’s Assembly Against Austerity demonstration in London on 16 April, when over 150,000 people came out to show their fury at the government pushing ahead with the cuts.  Events like this, of which there will be many more in the coming months, will keep the pressure on the Tories. 

Our aim is to continue to show the strength of public discontent against the cuts, by all of the means at our disposal, including music, performance and the spoken word.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Sunday, 24 April 2016

#Beachmaster at The Eagle

My local pub must possess one of the smallest music venues in the country. The space at The Eagle on Collier Street is a couple of small rooms knocked through with the ceiling partially removed. It makes for a great vibe - I like the rest of the pub too. and I popped in late doors on Thursday to catch the end of Beachmaster's set. Lively music and some great lead guitar work. A band to follow I think. 


Friday, 22 April 2016

Skywatch Friday: Shadows at The Landmark

Above both Tusk and Walrus is proof of some glorious sunny evenings this week (and days too but I'm stuck in an office too often to appreciate)...

Thursday, 21 April 2016

#RepublicNow Happy Birthday Mrs Windsor #StoptheReign @BBCNews

Campaign group Republic has criticised the BBC for its coverage of the Queen's birthday, saying it is out of touch with reality, public sentiment and their own obligations to impartiality.

Graham Smith, the campaign group's CEO, said today: "The Queen's birthday does not warrant this kind of coverage, it is inappropriate to celebrate a political figure like this and the public just aren't that excited about the royals."

"The BBC has a duty to report, not to celebrate the royals. That reporting must be fair, balanced and proportionate. So far this week the BBC has failed completely on those measures."

"When there are so many major events happening in the world, making the royal family the main headline story is unacceptable."

"There are serious questions to be asked about the corruption and abuse of position of the royal family. There are questions to be debated about the future of the monarchy. There are questions about the Queen's role in politics. These are issues that need to be addressed by our national broadcaster."

"The BBC has a long history of supporting the monarchy and marginalising other voices, whether those of republicans or those of the majority who don't share the enthusiasm of journalists."

"The vast majority of the public are simply getting on with their lives this week, yet the BBC is suggesting the country is celebrating the Queen's birthday. The failed Clean for a Queen campaign showed that's just not the case."

 See more

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Molotov cocktails at Madera @42Madera


I spent a fabulous Tuesday night with my good friend Sue the Sign Siren. It’s 30 years ago this month that we first met, on a Manchester demo from Oxford Road to protest about the west’s bombing of Libya in April 1986. All these decades later it was still a lot of political talk and mutual understanding on many matters, over cocktails at Madera on Tib Street.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

#MilesAhead at #HOME

What to do on a Monday night when you are still fresh from the fight, or rather the exhilaration, of being one of the many - the  150,000+ marchers on the People’s Assembly Against Austerity march and rally in London last Saturday. What a success it was with people from all walks of life expressing hundreds of grievances against this divided and shaken Tory regime. A massive Manchester turnout too with 5 trains and 5 coaches going down - We are rocking them!

So, after a busy day ion the office it was wonderful to be able take up the offer of preview seats for the new Miles Davies film, Miles Ahead at HOME (the Spanish and Latin American film festival also there continues to the weekend, hence the pinatas!)

Stylish, cool and beautifully seamlessly moving back and forth through key passages of his musical life, 100 minutes passed by oh so quickly. I highly recommend it- passion, guts, humour, sadness and all underpinned by those instinctive sounds that tap into and wash over your very soul.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Monday Mural: Starbucks- good or bad?

Taking part in Monday Mural

Starbucks is boycotted by many of us- their tax avoidance FAQ, Tax FAQ,  are at  It's a shame as I'm sure when they started in Seattle in the early 1970s they were a decent independent business.Eventually they did pay more corporation tax late last year in the UK (although questions are still raised,)but only after public pressure- another victory for the people!

Personally I suggest avoiding these overly-expensive coffee chains and supporting your local independent cafes instead.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Friday, 15 April 2016

For Mark...

Today's blog post is dedicated to my dear friend Mark Savage, whose life we will be celebrating this afternoon in his home county of Middlesex (a proud Middle Saxon, he). Mark was a fellow radio anorak, a blogger (Anyway and Radio Far-Far), historian and wordsmith, who appreciated urban and suburban nature (such as today's photo in All Saints Park), as well as a pint of real ale. RIP Mark.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Manchester: briques, rock-et-foot documentary #L'Equipe

I helped out French journalist Pierre-Etienne Minonzio of L'Equipe recently with a couple of tips regarding street art locations - he was making a documentary about Manchester’s music and football connections  (a slightly sore point though as a West Ham fan after last night's FA Cup loss to Man Utd...)

I'm pleased to get a mention in the credits. It’s 26 minutes long and bi-lingual and worth watching- Manchester: briques, rock-et-foot. 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

ABC Wednesday: “N” is for National demo on Saturday… ‪

Last night it was our very own version of Question Time at this month’s Manchester Peoples’ Assembly meeting. We took the opportunity beforehand to leaflet and give a final push for recruitment to the coaches and trains going from Manchester to London on Saturday for the National Demo. There will be tens of thousands, possibly 100,000 there from all over the UK for the End Austerity Now - Health, Homes, Jobs, Education march.

Last night’s panel had reps from the National Peoples’ Assembly, NUT, BMA and Momentum. Topics discussed included:

The impossible housing situation for young people. Solution = create more affordable housing, crack down on bad landlords, create real affordable housing not just more buy to lets for the wealthy. UCL’s rent strike has proven effective and we should support that and other similar

The upcoming junior doctors, bursary students and teachers’ strikes. Solution = solidarity and support from all as the public are onside with this- but be prepared to take the arguments to the streets as the press will be against us as usual.

The steel industry crisis.  Solution =- renationalise it- the banks were renationalised within days when they ran into crisis so the government can do this for steel.

The Panama papers. 
 Solution = shut down the tax havens and close the loopholes.

Other topics included the shameful actions of the government this week spending £9.3 million on leaflets to all UK households saying that the government thinks the UK should stay in the EU - a barefaced lie as well as a waste of money as the government is clearly split on this- See Boris Johnson v Dodgy Dave etc.

Supporting the UMC action to stop job losses - demo on Manchester Uni campus tomorrow lunchtime, Thurs 14 April, 12.30 at University Place.

All in all it was inspiring talk for a couple of hours, with around 75 people from many backgrounds and communities attending, which carried on in convivial rabble rousing mood in Gulliver’s on Oldham Street afterwards. We shall overcome!

My contribution to the global ABC Wednesday, now nudging "N".

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Altrincham to Old Trafford and the hills #ManUtd

Layers and textures from Alty to the hills above Bury, with Old Trafford football ground in the middle. One for Our World Tuesday.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Monday Mural: 5 Years #Bowie

A great mural of David Bowie by Akse in Stevenson Square, that I snapped today en route to the office. I’m trying to place which era of Bowie this is from- possibly the noughties?

“We’ve got five years” sang Ziggy Stardust, and now Mancunian Wave has five years too under its belt- I started blogging here in April 2011.

Ziggy had five years to save the earth and I’ve had five years to promote my adopted city of Manchester- an ongoing project. Have a good week everyone! Monday Mural.

Wikipedia: The song tells of an Earth doomed to destruction in five years and the aftermath of this knowledge. Bowie is rumoured to have chosen the length of time, five years, as a result of a dream in which his deceased father told him he must never fly again and would die in five years. Allmusic describe the track as "easily one of the greatest album-opening songs ever…”

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

People's Assembly- Question time 12 April, national demo Sat 16 April, gig 28 April

Come along to the national demo arranged by the People's Assembly Against Austerity in London on Saturday 16 April. Coaches run from Manchester- details at plus 

The photo shows how we were plotting the downfall of the government over last orders in my local, The Eagle, last week, complete with his and hers' micro brewery beers.

Whether you can come to the 16 April demo or not then do try and get along to these other two Manchester PA (
People's Assembly) events in April:

Tuesday 12 April, 7 pm Central Methodist Hall, Oldham St, M1. The People's Question Time. Message your questions on education, academies, teachers striking, NHS issues, junior doctors - we have a great panel.

Soup Kitchen on Thursday 28 April (7-10pm) for a fundraiser gig with Manchester poets and musicians Gerry Potter, Gareth Evans, Novustory and The Tapestry. Compered by people's poet Steph Pike. Tickets  Details here

I'll be at all three but before then I am off with work to Milan for the International Radio Festival- have never been to the city or the festival before and am looking forward to it. Blog posts here resume next Monday but you can follow me in Milan on Instagram ;-)

Monday, 4 April 2016

Monday Mural: Mooch bulldog at BOTW

A dog DJ, whatever next? An old mural from 2013 behind Band on The Wall. Mooch is by street artist Kelzo. Taking part in this week's Monday Mural.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Ciggy break at the Ape and Apple...

Early evening at the unlikely named pub on John Dalton Street. Evidently it is so olde world that it still has a payphone inside.


Saturday, 2 April 2016

Smoke and Mirrors at Home

I recommend you get to HOME tonight for the third and last night of Richochet's Smoke and Mirrors. Amazing acrobatics, dance, performance art on the floor and on the trapeze. All aimed at examining the flaws and desperation that capitalism forces upon us, and how it entangles and enslaves most of us, emotionally and intellectually. Tied up in knots- Words that came to me to descroibe it all included mesmerising, summers, pain, isolation, fleeting joy and love, urban grime- check them out online- a great American duo.

Friday, 1 April 2016

The beauty of simplicity: #CityDailyPhoto Theme Day

This descent of Snake Pass heading back towards Manchester is my contribution to April's theme day which is  The Beauty of Simplicity. I enjoy taking what I call "naturally layered" photos like this: a big grey late afternoon sky after a sunny day, winding roads with crash barriers and cascading hills.

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