Thursday, 30 June 2016

Graffiti or history? #SnakePass

Up above Snake Pass what was once graffiti has a historical resonance now. There are some engravings ranging from the 19th century to 1940 on this rock. Not sure I would want to leave my mark in this way though - I'll just be happy for "The rocks, in time, compress your blood to oil, your flesh to coal, enrich the soil, not everybody's goal.."

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Beat poets and music

I'm down south for a couple of days for work, hence the delay on the blog. Before I left I popped into the fascinating European Beat Studies Conference being held at the Wonder Inn. I particularly enjoyed Marion Jago's talk on the Canadian beat scene in the 1950s with its scattering of jazz clubs and beat poets around the country. There's time for you to catch the last day of the conference today, Wednesday.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Skywatch Friday: Sun sets on many things...end of an EUra

The summer sun sets over Salford, and after the EU referendum also on the UK's membership of the EU. It will also set on the UK itself, which is untenable now as Wales and England voted to leave, while Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain. It will surely lead to Scottish independence and Irish unification.

But leaving the EU does not mean leaving Europe or being anti-European. As an internationalist I am anti the neo-liberalism and big business bias of the EU, but happy to be part of an equal, wider Europe. Probably like many on the left who voted for an anti-racist #Lexit, which was ignored by the mainstream media but supported by millions of workers.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Friday, 17 June 2016

Skywatch Friday: Key parts of Salford Quays

This week's Skywatch Friday photo was taken by Tim Sutton-Brand at Salford Quays on a recent sunny evening.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

#AllForOne at the #StoneRoses ' homecoming #CityDailyPhoto

The Stone Roses came home to Manchester last night. Here are some photos capturing the energetic and loving vibe.  A review of sorts is below.

Blossoms from Stockport were a good support band- I saw them at Parklife at the weekend and they are always well received- their Hammond keyboard could be used more and louder though and some more guitar sections added to the repertoire top stop everything they do being a similar sounding four minute indie song. 

A Reggae band from Jamaica- Chronixx, were ok, but I did not get the final support act Public Enemy, not being a rap fan. If they are anti-establishment as I hope they are they show it in a strange consumerist, wealthy way. 

As to the Roses, well the lighting was lavish and impressive, the fans were lairy (I was hit four times by flying bottles containing vodka, beer and once a warm substance I and other around me didn’t wish to think about), the bass and drums were excellent. Less so the too often flat-vocals of Ian Brown who, like the rest of the band, are great in the studio but not so hot live. John Squire's guitar work was effective in the main but overall the sound could have been better mixed on some tracks I felt. They only played for 90 minutes and no encore, which was poor value for £60! Their best songs for me on the night though were the final two, of This is the One and Resurrection. 

Extortionate pricing at the stadium which doesn’t allow you to bring your own food and drink in - of £3 for a water or half of low quality lager (Fosters)- or £5 a bottle and no choice of brands. Only junk food and sugar available as food! I possibly wouldn’t bother going to see bands at the Manchester City stadium again (I refuse to refer to stadiums by their sponsors, so to me it's Eastlands, City or the Commonwealth Games stadium), 

Below are Stone Roses posters for their first new music in decades plus a poster which was on Nicholas Croft when these initial gigs were announced last year. The lemon logo, of course, is a reference they have used before and is associated with the 1968 Paris revolution as it was used to cope with the tear gas sprayed by the reactionary authorities.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Bohemian landscapes of Stockport...

There is a small but wonderful exhibition of psychedelic Bohemian landscapes at the Stockport War Memorial Gallery on Wellington Road, until 9 July. Stockport artist Matt Kvasnik
 now lives in Prague and takes the Czech landscapes as inspiration and I find them bewitching and dazzling. Postcard and prints are on sale. There are other interesting exhibitions in this fine old building too including Alias, inspired by the work of David Bowie.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

#Manchester stands with #Orlando #LBGTQI #‎Orlandoshootings Our World Tuesday

 The Alan Turing statue looks on

Manchester came together last night in Sackville Gardens to mourn the dead killed in a homophobic attack in Orlando, and to unite in love. There were moving speeches from the Mayor, Council, LGBT Foundation and others, a candlelit vigil and readings, poetry, plus songs from the Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus. 

Celebrating the diversity of Manchester, especially its LGBTQI communities and their friends and families, with a range of people of all ages, genders, backgrounds. races and religions and standing strong. It was a huge turnout and as was the case in many other places around the world last night, we all stood together.

Taking part in Our World Tuesday.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Monday Mural: Beached out

Cambridge Street last week before the Manchester (and UK wide)  monsoon season arrived. Time to head for the sun if you can... A Monday Mural contribution.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Music and mud at #Parklife2016

Wolf Alice, Fat White Family. Photos above by Nev Dunn

Back from a great weekend at Parklife in Heaton Park. The rain gods obliged us with showers and downpours, tuning the fields into churned mud in no time at all. People high on the music and interesting substances didn’t seem to mind too much. I got back home in time to see the final laser effects of the festival’s Saturday night from my balcony five miles away. You could hear the music too at times.

Most of the bands we wanted to see on Saturday played under cover in the Big Top, and there was a really good vibe of joy and friendliness in most quarters. Sunday I worked as a volunteer on wristband exchange- second Sunday running I was working- there’s a first (I coordinated a Manchester Histories Festival event last week on Music in Manchester during World War I). A great way to people watch and a nice bunch of fellow volunteers. I hope the park and the people recover from the final Sunday night deluge.

Some snaps of mine from the weekend:

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

To the source of the Bridgewater... #Worsley #CityDailyPhoto #Salford #Manchester

A scene that hasn't changed too much since the 1760s when the Bridgewater canal was built, emerging into daylight here at Worsley after 46 miles of tunnels into the coal mines of Lancashire. 

The amazing Packet House was built around 1760s but the black and white timber was added in the 1840s. It's an early Victorian  style which can still be seen today in parts of the north west, especially Nantwich and Northwich in Cheshire (that I know of, there are others).

It was looking so serene and idyllic when I took the photo, while showing a friend Worsley's industrial heritage and 21st century gentility the other week.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

At HOME with #KenLoach

It was a case of the deckchairs at HOME being in use from dawn to darkness yesterday. I had a brief but happy sojourn on these orange beauties (tangerine is this summer’s in colour so I hear), before we went to hear the inspirational Ken Loach in conversation and then a documentary on his career. It’s frightening how the right wing media have skated and banned him through the years for merely trying to make social dramas of real lives.

As a result he had a barren spell where he was, to his now admitted great shame, driven to make a living from directing adverts and ended up promoting dodgy products such as Nestle’s Caramac chocolate bars and the positively evil McDonalds. (Could you ever work for two more dreadful companies?- the “third world” baby powder milk scandal and the deforestation, obesity, poorly paid workers, animal abuse etc. of McDonald’s).

Anyway, that aside, Kes (A kestrel for a knave) by Barry Hines was the first film by him that I saw, as a youngster, and I will never forget it- the written off school kids whose potential didn’t fit into the rigid educational framework and a kestrel that could fly free was so powerful even to my naïve eyes and ears. The reciting of the shipping forecast when the register was read out was an early radio memory for me too.

The Angel’s Share, a 2012 film set around youth, redemption and Scottish whiskey, was witty and powerful too and Jimmy’s Hut was another of his tales of how the Irish were oppressed by the British. But I need to see more.

The Cannes award-winning film “I, Daniel Blake” is released in November- the Tories retaining power last year brought him out of retirement to make it. Last night the documentary Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach was a great overview and I recommend seeing it. I also want to research the mid 1960s Czech films that inspired Ken and were shown in the documentary- they looked visually exciting with intense close up camera angles on nature and people.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Monday Mural: tree of hope? #streetart #citiesofHope #Manchester

This week's Monday Mural contribution appeared during the Cities of Hope festival the other week. The artist was having a break and a group of people on a guided street art tour were admiring this. The ladder and paints on the street adds to the  painting's 3D effect.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Urban camping on the city's river banks

I'm all for grabbing every moment of late spring and summer sunshine and heading outdoors, so I can understand the campers here. Sadly many tent dwellers are also homeless. But not these on the banks of the Irwell this week.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Barton bridge bliss

It's been an age since I featured a canal shot on the blog, so here we go. One taken of the Barton swing aqueduct canal bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal and by the equally marvelously engineered Barton road swing bridge on the Bridgewater Canal last Monday.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Skywatch Friday: west and wistful

Some lovely sunsets this week as dry summer days and the skies have made me feel in holiday mood- the Balearic CDs I've been playing late at night add to the chilled out hot evenings' vibe. See more of nature's beauty around the world as captured by other global bloggers at Skywatch Friday.


Thursday, 2 June 2016

One L of a gig @LeraLynn

After a fascinating debate last night on whether the left should vote to remain or leave the EU (#Lexit), I wandered along to Band On The Wall. Lera Lynn and her band were playing their first Manchester gig.

I first heard Lera on Prairie Home Companion a couple of years back and immediately bought the first album. A second has just been released and tracks from both plus some great covers, e.g Ring of Fire, made up an engaging set. The band’s Nashville roots are recognisable but they veer off in a wonderful space rock textured guitars direction. Angst and wistful lyrics add to the vibe- 

Surf noir is how the band describe their sound, and Americana is another good label fr them.

I’ve seen about 40 bands so far this year and this was one of the best (Wolf Alice, The Tapestry, Horsebeach and Yes make up my top 5 so far). It was fun chatting with them and getting my albums signed afterwards- if you don’t know the band, go and take a listen...

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

City Daily Photo theme day: Shadow and highlight

City Daily Photo’s theme day for June is shadow and highlightThis is the Whiskey Jar on Tariff Street one evening last week (we went there twice, after Street Art events). 

A really cosy place, especially midweek when there is enough of a good vibe but it’s not over busy as it is at weekends. 250 whiskies (although only one of them is organic), a few craft beers and cocktails. 

The light shades are vintage decanters with their bottoms sawn off, there’s a DJ deck in the far corner, a battered piano and pianola in others, and a good play list too from what I can remember- including Air, an acoustic version of Bowie’s Sound and Vision I’d not heard before and some other mellow music and good sounds from many eras. Go there yourself but please don’t take my space on one of the many comfortable sofas...

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