NOW THEN. KRIS KUKSI. THE ORB. HOLLIE MCNISH. A MAGAZINE FOR MANCHESTER. ISSUE 7. FREE.
is a free , independent magazine published in Sheffield and Manchester. It is all about supporting independence in art , trade and citizen journalism . Local people are strongly encouraged to contribute and each magazine includes artwork from a different featured artist . Now Then is published by social enterprise
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EDITORIAL. For this autumnal issue we’ve welcomed the wonderfully intricate sculptures of Kris Kuksi to adorn the pages – a fittingly gothic scene-setter for the upcoming Halloween, but in truth we need no excuse to feature such gripping artwork.
NOW THEN 7. OCT – NOV 2013. IT’S ALL NATURAL.
On the words front, David Dunnico’s Nowhere Fast series returns, we have interviews with Hollie McNish, The Orb and Ian Townsend and plenty more. Dave Firth’s exploration in home brewing is a cracking read. We’re stepping out into the open world again. You’ll find us in the Deaf Institute bar on 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursdays, and we’ll be joined for each social by a different local label, band, arts group or promoter. Also look out for our collaborative events with Manchester MULE – a gig on Saturday 26th October at Pop Up Bikes with Juke Joint providing the bar, and a political panel discussion on Thursday 14th November at Black Lion. For more info about both, turn to the Favourites section on page 45. IAN. firstname.lastname@example.org
5 // LOCALCHECK. Bag It.
7 // NOWHERE FAST. At Your Inconvenience.
8 // SYRIA IN PICTURES. Photography in a Warzone.
12 // FOOD.
Fermenting a Revolution.
Our world is increasingly unequal, characterised by apathy, disconnection and the interests of the few. We can do better. Now Then is a platform for independent art, trade, music, writing and local news.
16 // WORDLIFE.
Hollie McNish / Moniza Alvi / Helen Mort.
19 // Local Publishing. Literature in Manchester.
It’s about supporting the things that make a community what it is – creativity, cooperation, collaboration, conscience and consciousness.
20 // KRIS KUKSI.
Anyone can contribute to the magazine, both online and off, remotely and in person, in support or in opposition – the discussion is what matters.
22 // GALLERY OF COSTUME.
We want you to write for Now Then. Get involved.
30 // SOUND.
Writer? Musician? email@example.com Artist? firstname.lastname@example.org Poet? email@example.com Theatre? firstname.lastname@example.org Want To Advertise With Us? email@example.com Search ‘Now Then Manchester’ on Facebook. Twitter? @nowthenmanc #nowthenmanc The views expressed in the following articles are the opinion of the writer(s) and not necessarily those of Now Then Magazine. Reproduction of any of the images or writing in Now Then without prior consent is prohibited. Now Then may be unsuitable for under 18s. Now Then is a registered trademark of Opus Independents Ltd.
The Architecture of Fantasy.
32 // LIVE.
Rochdale Feel Good Festival / The Pretty Things / Ramsbottom Festival / Listings.
34 // ALBUMS.
Richard Barry and the Chaps / Kydro / Chantal Acda / Mrs Jynx / Skutch Manos / Ivan Campo.
36 // THE ORB. History of the Future.
41 // THEATRE.
Ian Townsend talks about Criticism, Prizes and the BBC.
43 // FILMREEL. Back to Black.
44 // FAVOURITES. Our Pick Of The Bunch.
Contributors. MANAGEMENT. IAN PENNINGTON. JAMES LOCK. EDITOR. IAN PENNINGTON. DESIGN & LAYOUT. thurston Gore. PROOF & COPY. IAN PENNINGTON. SAM WALBY. FELICITY HEIDEN. ADVERTISING. SAMUEL BUCKLEY. JAMES LOCK. BAIBA AURIA. AD DESIGN. thurston Gore. ADMIN & FINANCE. SARA HILL. FELICITY HEIDEN. PHOTOGRAPhY. DAVID DUNNICO. MATTHEW NORMAN. SARA HILL. RUTH WILDMAN. JANIO EDWARDS. ADAM SPENCER YOUNG. WEARETAPE.COM. DISTRIBUTION. OPUS DISTRO. CONTRIBUTORS. IAN PENNINGTON. DAVID DUNNICO. MATTHEW NORMAN. DAVE FIRTH. CASSIE KILL. JOE KRISS. MONIZA ALVI. HELEN MORT. MICHAEL BOWDEN. RUTH WILDMAN. SAM WALBY. STEFANIE ELRICK. GED CAMERA. JOHN WIGLEY. DAVE JONES. CHARLES VEYS. NATHAN MCILROY. SAMUEL BUCKLEY. FAT ROLAND. ANDREW ANDERSON. TOM WARMAN. ART. KRIS KUKSI. PAGE 3
Localcheck. BAG IT. IAN PENNINGTON.
Nick Clegg has announced that legislation for a 5p charge for plastic bags is to be introduced after the 2015 election. His announcement follows similar legislation in Northern Ireland and Wales, alongside Scotland from October next year. The Republic of Ireland has successfully established legislation for more than ten years, as have other countries around the world. In Manchester, there was a pilot for a boycott of single-use plastic bags across Chorlton in 2007 and 2008. The campaign, run by residents and shop owners from the group Sustainable Chorlton, could not persuade 25 of the 40 targeted local traders to take part, some of whom “expressed concern that they would lose custom if they banned plastic bags”. Others supported the cause but felt “constrained by the economic cost of providing alternatives (10p) to plastic bags (1p)”. In its conclusion the report favoured “a city-wide campaign to promote reusable bags” to stem the production of “over 85 million plastic bags […] issued to Manchester residents each year”. Clegg’s proposed 5p charge only applies to “supermarkets and larger stores”, which would mean many of those Chorlton traders approached in 2007 would be exempt, as would similar businesses across the city, and indeed the country. Camilo Melara, a member of The 8th Day Co-operative, sees the proposed levy as half-hearted and is currently leading a campaign to implement a ban on the bags across the Manchester area. “Everyone still demands plastic bags like they’re part of their human rights or something. I think we need to put breaks in the consumerist culture in different areas, but plastics bags could be the first step – after that, you can talk about plastic bottles, for instance,” he says. For Melara, there are three main challenges for his campaign – to convince consumers, retailers and the council. So far he has encountered responses from a council official that lament the layers of red tape preventing such legislation. He is not alone though, as others are starting to pledge their support. “What we are trying to do is to approach very symbolic institutions in Manchester. At the moment the environmental offices of the two universities are on board and then we’re going to try to attract other co-operatives to also work on the campaign. We’re going to have to do a lot of lobbying, but we’re supposed to have councillors representing the cooperatives movement, so they should do something for us as well.” To help win hearts and minds, he has arranged screenings of the 2010 documentary film Bag It, which highlights the effects that plastic bags have on the environment before presenting the environmental impact of plastics generally, both on human beings and wildlife. It reveals a proliferation of the oil-based material even where unnecessary, such as on screw-top juice carton lids. The film also illustrates the desire for plastics manufacturers to fight their corner and retain the current trend by ploughing money into anti-tax or ban campaigns. The American Chemistry Council, a trade association representing US chemical companies, spent around $1.4 million on a 2009 campaign against the introduction of a plastic bag levy. The pro-tax environmental groups supported their campaign with about $65,000. The last year has seen a re-emergence of high-profile protests against fracking, fossil fuels and global warming, many with the involvement of Manchester activists through groups like No Dash For Gas. But Melara says campaigning in Manchester has been “very quiet” by comparison with previous times – perhaps “related to so many defeats” – and hopes that the plastic bag campaign can also help spark a revival. “We could create a really good network, and if we achieve something at the end then people can get inspired to do something else – other more radical campaigns, hopefully.” Bag It will be screened at the Manchester MULE ‘Friends of MULE’ fundraiser gig on 26th October at Pop Up Bikes on the Red Bank Arches – next to the new NOMA building. For more info, see page 33. To sign the petition or get involved, contact Camilo via firstname.lastname@example.org. MULE is a Manchester based non-profit independent media project, looking to promote social justice by getting out the news and views you won’t find elsewhere, from the rainy city and beyond. They are currently recruiting volunteers for various roles, from editors and writers to campaigners.
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At Your Inconvenience. Taking The Piss. David Dunnico.
Manchester has opened a new ‘Changing Place’ – a fully accessible toilet that includes the space and equipment to let people with profound disabilities or serious impairments use the facilities. Unfortunately the toilet, housed in the Town Hall Extension on Lloyd Street, opened a year after the last of the city’s public toilets closed. Visitor surveys say the lack of public conveniences in the city centre is one of the top three complaints, and the charity Help the Aged says over half of older people stay at home for fear of not being able to find a toilet. It’s not just Manchester. Over the past decade nearly half of all public loos have been closed, leaving services to the hoped-for altruism of the private sector. Ten years ago, Manchester was seeing what it needed to do “for Manchester’s toilet provision to be perceived as best in class and [to] provide users with good quality facilities, which are placed in the right locations, accessible to everyone and maintain the dignity of all users regardless of ability”. The same council report estimated Manchester needed “340 female toilets, 180 male toilets and 39 unisex cubicles”. They noted that “our directly funded provision totals around 20 female toilets, 20 male toilets and 7 unisex facilities” and in their own words there was “a major shortfall”. So they closed them all. In 2010, Manchester City Council and Cityco, a group of business leaders who shape the city centre to suit a business agenda, launched the ‘City Loos Scheme’. This was supposed to get shops to take down their ‘Toilets are for the use of patrons only’ signs and replace them with the scheme’s purple ‘You’re welcome to use our facilities’ notices. Over the past three years the original eight participants have grown to… well, actually, there are still just eight members despite talk of having 30+. Two of these – The Museum of Science and Industry and The People’s History Museum – aren’t even shops (and incidentally are the only two who display the ‘use our facilities’ notices), and two are shopping centres – the ailing Triangle (now called The Corn Exchange again) and the Arndale, (dubbed ‘superloo’ after its tiled facade). Both used to charge for their loos until the Trafford Centre opened and didn’t. The others – Debenhams, Kendals, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols – are the sort of department stores people have always nipped in to spend a penny before spending the next half an hour finding their way out again. Other shops are less beneficent. Starbucks don’t see why they should pay tax, or provide loos for people who haven’t filled their bladders with lattes. They’ve effectively told the council to piss off. When Councillor Pat Karney launched the City Loos scheme he said, “Public toilets tend to attract vandalism and other anti-social behaviour so this is a better solution”. A better solution might have been to keep
toilet attendants. Councillor Karney added, “This marks a real cultural change for shoppers and visitors to the city”. He was right, but in a way he probably didn’t mean. It is another example of privatisation of the public space. Councils in London, Liverpool, Manchester and elsewhere have literally given away parts of their cities to private companies who redevelop the land and run them independently. This usually means security guards enforcing a rule of ‘if you can’t or won’t spend, you’ve no business being here’. It’s the phenomenon of “malls without walls” detailed in Anna Minton’s book Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the Twenty-First-Century City. City centres are seen only as a place to shop and consume. To be there for anything else is seen as ‘suspicious’ or ‘anti-social’. Indeed Manchester City Council unwittingly reinforces this notion of the city by calling its citizens, residents and council taxpayers “customers”. When the shops (and City Loos) close, the bars of the ‘night time economy’ open and fill the bladders of citizen-customers who, for want of a pot to piss in, stagger home washing the streets with wee. The council’s answer was to dump four plastic pissoirs (or Piss Daleks, as they are known locally) in Piccadilly Gardens. When full they were transported over the Pennines to Sheffield to be “decanted”. That answered men’s call of nature, but the council’s equality assessment reckoned women needed “at least twice as many facilities as men”. Women were presumably supposed to use the Gardens’ fountain, appropriately watched over by a statue of Queen Victoria on the throne, marking the site of a long-sincegone underground toilet. They gave up on the Daleks in May 2011 before the evaluation had ended, but after spending £23,000 per year to hire them. And not providing proper facilities not only saves money, it can generate income! In six months in 2005, the police issued 124 £80 fixed penalties for urinating in the city centre’s streets. There is some good news on the horizon; another Changing Place will be opening in Central Library – right next door to the existing Changing Place. Ironically the closed loos have signs directing the desperate to the nearest public library, but now many of those libraries are themselves closing. The Romans and Victorians could meet the basic human need of providing toilets, but it seems we cannot.
You can walk around this article on Google Maps: http://goo.gl/maps/pY94R David Dunnico is a documentary photographer from Manchester. dunni.co.uk
SYRIA IN PICTURES. PHOTOGRAPHY IN A WARZONE. MATTHEW NORMAN.
I’d been working with Manchester-based charity Syria Relief for about eight months when in April this year they asked if I would assist their Vice Chairman, Dr Mounir Hakimi, on an evaluation visit to Syria. This is how, on a Tuesday evening a couple of weeks later, I found myself in a tiny Syrian village, lying on a mattress on a floor in a warzone, armed with only my camera and a false ID card. Through my window I heard the neighbours to the left chatting and laughing and to the right the constant booming of artillery fire coming from the city of Aleppo – my room vibrating with each explosion. It was very unsettling. During our eight-day visit, Mounir and I drove hundreds of miles across the Northwest area of Syria. The country is in a state of near anarchy and there were frequent armed roadblocks. I quickly became efficient at hiding my camera with little notice. The locals have become increasingly suspicious of foreigners with cameras. We saw thousands of desperate families with little food and water, living in makeshift camps, deserted buildings and even ancient underground Roman tombs. It is well-known that Syrian cities such as Homs, Aleppo and Damascus are dangerous places to live right now, but rural towns and villages are experiencing air strikes around the clock, every day – week in, week out. I met countless orphaned children and children with missing limbs. One 14-year-old boy had lost his leg when he had been caught in an air strike whilst playing football. A couple of his teammates were killed in the sudden attack. Many times we learned the village we had visited the previous day had been bombed again that evening. I worried for the
people I was with, those people who had shared the little food and water they had with us and welcomed us into their temporary homes. In the town of Maarat al-Numan we came across a flattened mosque. Whilst walking over the rubble I was informed there were four imams still buried somewhere below our feet. It was an uncomfortable feeling. With the infrastructure destroyed by continuous bombing, civilians in rural Syria are feeling the full weight of the conflict. Hospitals, surgeries and schools have long been destroyed. There is no electricity, no telephone networks; water towers, schools, mosques, dairies, bakeries and main roads are all prime targets for air strikes. In spite of this, the people I met were positive and incredibly welcoming. I only hope they find the peace they all wish for very soon. Matthew Norman is a filmmaker with the Salford-based Soup Collective. Photos by Matthew Norman for Syria Relief syriarelief.org
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Food. FERMENTING A REVOLUTION. DAVE FIRTH.
I was always broke. Each morning I woke up, showered and climbed onto a busy tram. I’d have understood my predicament if this routine didn’t foreshadow a day at work but, somehow, despite only showing my face because they paid me, I always rinsed my wage slip before the next arrived. The tram went first. Hunched like a circus bear over the handle bars of a canary yellow road bike – with its bent back wheel and broken seat – I would pray that a passing Ballotelli might take pity and buy me a helmet or a set of lights. Yet, I was still broke. I started to ‘tighten my belt’, a golem of an expression which came horrifically to life the day I cut the first new notch – eating only tinned fish and rice. Before long the belt couldn’t get any tighter and I had to use a child’s shoelace instead. Each evening I sat in the Port Street Beer House, draining jars of Schneider-Weisse and wondering how it had come to this. I made the mistake of pondering this aloud and I promptly received the answer. While my wages (and those of anyone lucky enough to still have a job) had not changed in years, the price of booze rose steadily. My preference for beer that didn’t taste like piss only made matters worse. Of the £4.50 that I happily paid for a pint, about £1.25 went to the Government.
be tested. I watched with pride as the glasses were raised, our revolution approaching a glorious dawn. With a tear in my eye, I cheered and then waited in agonising silence for the verdict to be returned as my comrades took their first taste. “What the fuck is this?” Someone gagged at the back of the room. Eventually I received more constructive criticism. It tasted like TCP, but not in a Laphroaig kind of way. Perhaps I had not been as zealous in rinsing the kegs as I had been in disinfecting them. Still, the occasion called for a party. As the night went on, fuelled by the demon brew that only I still drank, I became increasingly agitated and rude to my guests. Later, when the pieces were put back together, the beer was attributed to one case of severe cystitis and an upset stomach. For my part, I woke up with a headache that only a multinational food cartel could cure. I’m always broke.
Meanwhile in London, George Osborne poured a filthy bucket of my coins into a cruise missile vending machine. I have always done my best to spend ethically, so the idea of giving hate merchants and arms dealers a penny more than I’m legally obliged to troubled me. I decided to go off the radar and create my own beer. Some good friends invited me to brew with them and introduced me to members of the Manchester Brewing Cooperative, who kindly set us up in the shed behind their house. For anyone interested in home brewing, I recommend that you get in touch with the MBC, who provided us with all the equipment we required and, more importantly, were happy to provide recipes and advice along the way. We spent the day measuring and pouring, boiling and cooling, lifting and hauling – our thermometer always in hand – until we had completed our labour. For a month I waited and all the while a revolution fermented within me. I had felt powerless before, resigned to playing with the House’s weighted die. The numbers were audacious. As law makers bent over backwards to help corporations avoid any contribution to the economy, VAT had increased to ensure that people on low incomes forfeited more than one out of every six pounds they brought home. My relatively minor act of selfreliance had opened a gateway to an organised and communal dissent. In Promethean defiance I refused to be a cash cow for the rich. I would bake my own bread and make my own clothes, and if my fat hands prevented me from wielding a needle I would trade my bread with someone who could make clothes. I dared to dream big. In my mind, I had already moved to a cabin by Walden Pond, writing joyous poems and extracting DMT from the local flora and fauna. We unveiled Santorum Surprise Porter to a crowded kitchen. We had produced a yield of 50 litres of fairly strong beer for only £25, although the value of our investment still needed to PAGE 12
Illustration by Lyndsey Winnington
Photo by Sara Hill
PINE/APPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE. CAKE: 200g butter, room temperature 140g golden caster sugar 150g self-raising flour 25g light brown sugar 2 tsps baking powder 15ml gin 2 sprigs rosemary 3 eggs 2-3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored SYRUP: 200ml Indian Pale Ale 100g sugar 65g honey CREAM: 1 sweet potato 500ml double cream 35g caster sugar 1 vanilla pod 3 drops pine essential oil
Use a standard 20cm (8-inch) cake tin. Heat the oven to 170째C. Cream 30g of butter with the brown sugar until smooth and light, and use this mixture to grease a baking pan. Cream together the caster sugar and remaining butter, then sift in the flour and baking powder and mix in the gin and eggs. Slice the apples into rings about 7mm thick and distribute along the bottom of the pan. Finely chop the rosemary and scatter over the apple slices, then pour over the cake batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean, then rest for five minutes before turning out and slicing. For the syrup, heat the IPA along with the sugar and honey very gently, so that the sugar dissolves and a thick syrup forms. Drizzle this syrup over the cake before serving. For the cream, peel and chop the potato into 2cm chunks, boil and drain well. Blend into a very smooth puree with half the cream, the sugar and the vanilla, then pass through a fine sieve. Beat the remaining cream with the pine oil to soft peaks. Ensure the potato mixture is cool then fold into the whipped cream. Serve alongside the cake and garnish with mixed berries, toasted pine nuts and fresh rosemary to taste.
GARNISH: Mixed berries Toasted pine nuts Fresh rosemary Recipe by Cassie Kill.
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Word life. Collated by Joe Kriss.
Hollie McNish. Manchester Literature Festival is already underway, Don Paterson and Paul Muldoon read at one of the first events last month. There are lots of great events over the following months though, with the bulk of the literature festival kicking off from 7th October including a children’s performance from celebrated poet and novelist Jackie Kay. Among the range of different events, there are several literary walks asking you to re-imagine our city and the always-electric Superheroes of Slam final, where performance poets from across the North battle it out to be named slam champion. There’s also a reading from Pakistani poet Moniza Alvi, whose work is featured across the page, and talks exploring the work of poet Sylvia Plath and emerging graphic novelists. It’s a very strong line-up that celebrates all the different ways contemporary literature is being experienced and shared. It is also worth checking out the line-up of Sheffield’s literature festival Off The Shelf over the Pennines. We’re running a few events over the hills, including Hollie McNish on 2nd November. One of their standout events includes a reading from Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk. Keep the subs coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interview by Joe Kriss. Hollie McNish is a poet from Cambridge who has garnered growing national attention after two of her poems went viral earlier this year. Her Youtube channel has now clocked up over two and a half million views, and she is one of the leading poets to come out of the UK spoken word scene. We caught up with her ahead of her appearance at our closing party for Off The Shelf on 2nd November at Shakespeares in Sheffield. Two of your poems have gone viral – one about breastfeeding and another about immigration. Did you make a conscious decision to push your work this way? No, I still find it quite nuts really. I just feel really lucky. It got up on Upworthy and Reddit and that was 500,000 views over-night. It’s shocking how the internet can change everything. Just before that, I’d quit my job doing education work for a design centre and was thinking about what stuff I could do. I thought I’d put old poems up onto Youtube and those two went really well. I was pleased it was the one about immigration [which was most popular]. This guy wrote to me saying as a young woman I should stick to issues I know about, like boyfriends. I did do a masters degree in international development, including immigration! The performance poetry scene is often quite male-dominated. Do you think that there is more that can be done to encourage female writers? I think it could be to do with putting ourselves forward. The more girls and women that get into this, the more other women will. The one thing that annoys me about gigs is that sometimes I get asked to do gigs because they don’t have any other women. I get a lot of people asking me to come in for International Women’s Day and I joke they could maybe ask me to come in on other days as well. I’ve just sent this poem to Kate Tempest called ‘I’m Not Kate Tempest’, because when I’ve gigged abroad and told people I’m a performance poet they ask me if I’m Kate Tempest. I love her work, but we’re nothing like each other. If I was a guy I don’t think I’d be compared to Kate at all. I may be female, short and blonde, but that’s about it. Have you got any advice for new and upcoming writers? The main thing from personal experience is not to wait, not to worry. No-one’s going to turn to you and tell you you were rubbish. Start sharing your work with other people – start a group, go to open mics, start sharing the box of poems under your bed.
I expected a quiet wedding
One frost-rich, half-invented night,
high above a lost city
a moonbeam like a Sheffield knife
a marriage to balance on my head
cuts through to Brearley in the dark
like a forest of sticks, a pot of water. The ceremony tasted of nothing had little colour – guests arrived stealthy as sandalwood smugglers. When they opened their suitcases England spilled out. They scratched at my veil like beggars on a car window. I insisted my dowry was simple – a smile, a shadow, a whisper, my house an incredible structure of stiffened rags and bamboo.
enchanted by his cast-out work: the steel he’d thrown into the dust held up, studied for its fringe of rust only to find it shining clean… Or scrap the whole enchanted scene and think instead of years of graft comparisons and chucked out drafts and no such guessed-at word as stainless, just shifts and nights and all the aimless work of crafting something new and hoping your best go would do. However it was, the gift’s the same; the metal’s strange and artless name spoken across a world he’d never seen
We travelled along roads with English
except in badly-fashioned dreams.
names, my bridegroom and I.
Or, stranger, metal speaking for itself
Our eyes changed colour
in San Francisco, where the fire bells
like traffic-lights, so they said.
began in Sheffield and were shipped away…
The time was not ripe
And stranger still, how I can watch the day
for us to view each other.
fold over Stanage, listen to the dull chime
We stared straight ahead as if we could see through mountains breathe life into new cities. I wanted to marry a country
of my climbing gear and, when I climb, hold all of it, untarnished, all this time far back and in the best part of my mind. Me, with no tools except for these and no work save for memory.
take up a river for a veil sing in the Jinnah Gardens hold up my dream, tricky as a snake-charmers snake. Our thoughts half-submerged like buffaloes under dark water
Helen Mort. ‘Steel’ is one of five new poems commissioned by Word Life and Off The Shelf to mark the centenary of the invention of stainless steel by Harry Brearley in Sheffield in 1913.
we turned and faced each other with turbulence and imprints like maps on our hands.
LOCAL PUBLISHING. LITERATURE IN MANCHESTER. MICHAEL BOWDEN.
The Manchester Literature Festival returns this month. Trailblazer events have already begun: David Peace graced the National Football Museum to promote his new novel, crime favourite Jo Nesbo launched his latest thriller and Pulitzer-winning poet Paul Muldoon and Whitbread-winning poet Don Paterson chatted about their differing reactions to winning the TS Eliot prize for poetry. When the main run of events kicks off, literature’s equivalent of giants will descend upon the city: Jackie Kay, Donna Tartt, Audrey Niffenegger. That the festival is fast becoming one of the best in the UK is testament to Manchester’s growing literary renaissance. Not so long ago there was a perceived belletristic lapse around Manchester, an ugly void threatening to undermine the cultural weight of the city. There are signs this is changing. Internationally acclaimed authors and poets have held positions at the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University in the past five years, including two Booker Prize nominees and the current Poet Laureate. UoM’s Centre For New Writing holds regular events with world-famous authors, whilst MMU’s Manchester Writing Fiction Competition is among the ‘most prestigious’ (read: ‘most lucrative’) short-story competitions currently held in Britain. With a line-up of authors and events the equivalent of any since MLF’s inception in 2006, the city can stake its claim as a good place for readers. But what of writers? While Manchester has become a UK stronghold for the celebration of literature, what of the city’s publishing credentials? “There’s Manchester University Press, there’s Carcanet, and there’s us,” says Ra Page, founder and editor of Comma Press, an independent publisher based in the Northern Quarter. “After that it gets a bit murky. There are a few that publish books in connection with performance poetry, like Flapjack and Crocus. And there are lots of writers’ groups. Some occasionally publish. But it is a bit murky.” To say the least. Comma is a three-person operation that shares office space and focuses on short-story collections and anthologies. It has averaged at just fewer than 10 books per year since 2003, making it the third biggest literature publisher in Manchester. Considering that this summer has seen the £2.5 billion merger of Penguin and Random House, one senses the infinite schism between independent publishers and international publishing houses. Carcanet Press, the oldest and most reputable of Manchester’s independents, was founded in 1967. Its success and longevity is very much an anomaly in Northwest publishing. Of the 100+ UK publishers listed in the 2013 Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, the authoritative guide to UK publishing, three were listed as Manchester-based: Carcanet, MUP and Milo books (a true crime specialist). One Stockport-based group, Revenge Ink, lists its last
published book as 2011 and has yet to announce the winners of its 2010 writing competition. It exemplifies the brutality of the contemporary publishing industry. With the London and Southeast hegemony over publishing as a whole, recent years have seen Northern publishing houses, magazines and online blogs enmeshed in a quasi-Darwinian struggle for survival. Publishing Northwest, a website run by Comma to list publishing outlets around the city, currently reads like a digital graveyard. The legitimate magazines and blogs sparsely populate a run of broken links, dead ends and websites written in the past tense. The casual browser gets bored before reaching the still-active if p then q, the books of Penniless Press or Transmission magazine, whose 2006 founding received lofty reviews and a host of high-profile names. Seven years later and they’ve vanished from the face of the web. In spite of, or perhaps because of, the lack of established publishing channels in Manchester, the city’s grass roots scene teems with life. Some of the most inventive and original poetry, flash fiction and artistic form appear throughout the city’s regular cycle of spoken word events, poetry slams and writers’ workshops. Through them, much of Manchester’s home-grown literature finds its way to an eager audience. Crocus Books is the imprint of writing development organisation Commonword. Flapjack Press’s publications centre on their impressive list of performance poets. Bad Language’s monthly spoken word nights are supplemented by guest collations in magazines such as Now Then and Twenty Two. There are organisations like Young Identity, Manky Poets, The Monday Night Group – too many to name here. I’ll instead offer this beautiful parallel: Publishing Northwest’s sister site, Literature Northwest, which offers a day-by-day list of literature events in Manchester, is bulging with information about workshops and spoken word occasions. But that dichotomy is not a new thing in Manchester literature. Gaskell, Engels, de Quincey, Burgess, Noon – even John Cooper Clarke; the authors and poets in and of Manchester get caught up in the radicalism that defines this city, regardless of what they react for or against. It is not for me to suggest that the funding invested in MLF might have been better spent further supporting the publishers and outlets that at least give Manchester literature a chance. The festival is an annual delight to Manchester’s book lovers and warrants all the support it receives. Nor will I venture that MLF could be doing more to engage with local groups, though I’m assured this particular viewpoint does exist. I will simply say that Manchester’s literature, like its music, flourishes when aware of its circumferential status. Even in such commercially barren climes, writing in the city fills the canals and floods the streets. The evidence of it is everywhere. Just put down the book and look for it.
Kris Kuksi. The Architecture of Fantasy. Interview by Sam Walby.
Kris Kuksi’s art is so vast that we would’ve liked to have printed a special, double-sized edition for you this month. Even then we could only hope to capture some of the intricacies of his sprawling assemblages. Made over a period of months with all manner of materials and found objects, his sculptures are both profound and humorous – a combination which doesn’t always fit comfortably together, but with these pieces grabs you by the throat and refuses to let go.
What inspires you? There seems to be a big architectural influence in your work, and also a touch of H R Giger. Human psychology and behaviour, the Baroque, architecture, the industrial world, sex, death, deities, mythology, humour, music...
Writing from his home in Kansas, Kris tells us a bit about his work and his inspiration.
The core structure of a piece is the most important thing, so architecture is my biggest interest. I am influenced by a number of people and Giger is certainly one of them, though the old world is really my guide.
What initially drew you to creating art?
How has your approach to art changed over the years?
Just an impulse since childhood. Maybe someday brain researchers will discover an artist gene, but perhaps my rural upbringing brought about an artistic life. Being alone in the countryside makes for a developed imagination.
I’m not sure if it has ever changed. I do this full-time and enjoy life in a very unstructured way. I really enjoy the freedom. This kind of approach when creating makes it seem less like a job or a requirement but rather just a flow of ideas and building of those ideas.
I’ve seen your work referred to as ‘fantastic realism’. Is that a label you subscribe to and, if not, how would you describe it? That refers more to my early years of making art, namely the paintings and drawings I did from about 2000 to 2005. I try not to subscribe to any labels. Humans love to categorise everything and everyone, but I think it is irrelevant and just shows our discriminatory impulses. I’m just a person who composes things and voices it artistically while doing it. What materials are your sculptures made up of and how do you go about assembling them? The materials include wood, plastic, resin, paper, foam, metal, sand, rocks, enamel and acrylic paint. They are mostly comprised of ready-made kitsch objects or model kits that are manipulated in some way to fit the composure I want. Thousands of parts can make up one medium-sized piece - it is a very long journey placing objects in order for it all to look good, and certainly can’t be thrown together on a whim. The average piece can take up to a month, though I do have to have everything to do so. These works tell me what they need in terms of shapes or objects, so I become the task master in finishing up. Where do you source your materials? Everywhere the items are found – in hobby shops, antique stores, donations, eBay, eBay, eBay, and eBay.
What do you dislike in art? I’ve never enjoyed how a few individuals take it upon themselves to say what art is and how it should look. Trends come and go and I am wary of being locked into a slot of fads or trends. I try to stay immune to such things and I work towards something more timeless. Art is like love – you can express what you feel but you can’t always use the limiting words of the human language to describe exactly what it is. What projects or pieces are you working on at the moment? Ten new works for my solo show in New York City at the Joshua Liner Gallery this coming November and another piece for Art Basel Miami in December. After that, a show in Los Angeles in 2014. With such a schedule I always strive to create new things, challenging myself and trying to have fun, stay sane and take care of my family. Do you have any advice for people trying to make a profession out of art? Never give up. Be selfish. Don’t work for free. Settle for compromise only when it is needed. Be crafty. Don’t copy anyone else. Don’t over-commit. Make as much work as you can but don’t make too much. Question everything. Don’t follow trends. Avoid distractions. Travel the world. Do art for humanity. Share yourself through art, but remember that making art is not about you. Constantly be critical of your work. And again, never give up.
Could you give us an idea of the scale of them? Most of them are around 15 to 40 inches in length or height. I’ve done one as long as 11 feet, and I have finished a piece as high as 9 feet. Also on the micro level of within 10 inches by 5 inches.
GALLERY OF COSTUME. PLATT HALL. RUTH WILDMAN.
Platt Hall sits unassumingly in the north-eastern corner of Platt Fields Park. Surrounded by trees, you’d be forgiven for not seeing it, but could be blamed for not going. It is the oldest costume gallery in the country, and the second largest collection of clothes after the V&A in London. The current Georgian, Grade II listed building was commissioned by the Worsleys, the heiress Debra Worsley and her husband Thomas Lees, a merchant in the city, when they married in a combination of old and new money. It took only three years to build. I met Dr Miles Lambert, the senior curator of the gallery, on a drizzly Manchester afternoon to discuss its history and current exhibitions. “The family lived in the house for the first two generations then, with Manchester developing quite rapidly, suburbs began to move out of the city and it became harder or ‘less fashionable’ to live in this district.” The house and grounds were saved after an appeal for them to become a public space rather than housing plots, and was bought by Manchester Corporation in 1907, reopening in 1910 as the park we see today. Throughout the 20s and 30s the hall displayed paintings and sold refreshments. Clothes didn’t arrive until 1930, when some costumes began to appear at the main gallery in the city. The hall became a dedicated costume gallery in 1947, when the Cunningtons sold their private collection of photos and costume, and money was raised by another public appeal. The gallery has been based here ever since. There was a brief hiatus from 2008 until 2010 for a £1.25 million project to refurbish the hall, and it has since seen a steady increase of visitors. 15,500 visited in 2011, which increased to over 11,000 for the first six months of 2013. The renovations allow space for a temporary exhibition and Miles said a visible change was necessary, “I thought [before closing], it’s going to be closed for 18 months, when the public come back they’ll want to see a difference.” Directly in front of you on entry is the original stone staircase, guarded by two Enter The Forest vases by Grayson Perry, on loan from wealthy art collectors. The stairs are worn in the middle where residents and visitors have stepped over the centuries. The original iron railings guide you upwards, towards the old dining room, currently hosting London Dior evening and cocktail dresses. While the downstairs was revamped, the staircase and dining room have remained largely unchanged. Back on the ground floor, the current Dior exhibition arranges collections of clothes by decade, from 1910 to 2010. The displays are representative of both designer and high street fashions. Miles does collect Primark, although not a great deal of it.
The Dior exhibition has drawn in the crowds, with some 200 people attending the opening, but Miles admits that coming at a quieter time is preferable, “Nobody saw Dior as I wanted them to that evening. I want people to see it with a few people in there. I know it’s a luxury, but I want people to have that experience.” The gallery began to collect Dior pieces for this exhibition in 2006, so every piece in the collection had a unique way of arriving at the gallery. Dior’s legacy includes the New Look range, which Miles notes he could not have gone without: “Ten years of Dior, what’s everybody heard of? New Look.” The most famous outfit from the New Look range on show at the gallery was commissioned by Wallace Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, the bodice of which was acquired from Christie’s in 2007. “The bodice came up on an auction. I had the skirt that would go with it and it worked beautifully.” Fortunately the gallery was afforded a grant for the bodice, as a whole New Look outfit could cost between £20,000 and £25,000. By bidding for the bodice, Miles was able to get the outfit for £4,000. Rarer Dior Paris items cost up to £9,000 and the more ubiquitous, less collectable Dior London items cost only £200. As you peruse the Dior collections you are greeted and eased along by Strauss. It gives the clothing an authentic setting, as if you are attending a ball at the house. A few of Dior’s sketchbooks are displayed downstairs, donated by the PA of Marc Bohan, the Creative Director who followed after Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. Another notable piece is Susie MacMurray’s Widow – a dress in the female form made from pins, symbolising her grief – and the gallery also boasts an enormous archive of photographs, magazines and trade catalogues, which are viewable to all on appointment. Miles hopes that the next exhibition will pay homage to the work of British designer Ossie Clark, whose designs he envisions will connect with the women who bought them.
The Dior collection is on display at the Gallery of Costume until 12th January. manchestergalleries.org/our-other-venues/ platt-hall-gallery-of-costume
Performer As CURATOR
Opens Sat 19 October 2013 | FREE Pier 8, Salford Quays, M50 3AZ Copyright Simon Periton, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London
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MANCHESTER ACADEMY VENUES
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Reckless Love – Tuesday 1st
The Boomtown Rats – Friday 1st
The Airborne Toxic Event – Wednesday 2nd
IllumiNaughty – Halloween Central – Killerwatts / Tristan /
Fat Freddy’s Drop + Ady Suleiman – Friday 4th Wheatus + MC Lars – Friday 4th Kids in Glass Houses + Cartel + Propellers – Friday 4th Miles & Erica from The Wonder Stuff – Saturday 5th Mac Miller – Sunday 6th Glasvegas – Monday 7th Johnny Flynn And The Sussex Wit – Monday 7th Kacey Musgraves – Thursday 10th Johnny Marr – Saturday 12th The Orb Live – 25th Anniversary Show + System 7 + Joe McKechnie (Afro Acid) – Saturday 12th
Avalon / Electrixx / The Freestylers / Hedflux / Red Sky Noise / Extra Love – Saturday 2nd
Bring Me The Horizon + Pierce The Veil + Sights & Sounds – Monday 4th Watsky + Wax – Tuesday 5th Deap Vally – Tuesday 5th Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Friday 8th Ian Prowse & Amsterdam – Friday 8th The Union + Tax The Heat – Friday 8th Alice In Chains + Ghost + Scar The Martyr – Monday 11th Gary Numan, Splinter UK Tour 2013 – Thursday 14th Laura Veirs – Monday 11th
Charles Bradley & His Extrordinaires – Saturday 12th
Vice Squad + The Potential Victims – Saturday 16th
Sebadoh – Tuesday 15th
Television – Sunday 17th
Turisas + Special Guests Revoker + Astro Henge – Saturday 12th
Hayseed Dixie + Tom Copson – Tuesday 19th
The Quireboys + Special Guests Bonafide + Bad Touch – Tuesday 15th
They Might Be Giants + Wonder Villains – Wednesday 20th
Goo Goo Dolls + Flesh for Lulu – Wednesday 16th
The Rifles + Dexters – Thursday 21st
Kate Nash + Violet + Vulkano – Saturday 19th
The Virginmarys + Vox Empire + To The Bones – Friday 22nd
Toyah + Alexa de Strange – Saturday 19th
Lee Nelson – Saturday 23rd
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Roachford + Jon Rowe – Tuesday 22nd
Ms Mr – Sunday 24th
Baroness + Royal Thunder – Tuesday 22nd
The Passengers perform the songs of Iggy Pop – Sunday 24th
The Feeling – Wednesday 23rd
Barenaked Ladies – Monday 25th
HIM + Caspian – Thursday 24th
The Fratellis – Wednesday 27th
Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg with Andrew WK on vocals
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Skid Row / Ugly Kid Joe – Thursday 24th The Cult – Electric 13 + Bo Ningen – Friday 25th The Pigeon Detectives – Friday 25th John Power (Cast / The La’s) + Ivan Campo – Friday 25th North Mississippi Allstars – Saturday 26th The Blackout – Saturday 26th Lissie – Sunday 27th
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SOUND. ICE MUSIC. STEFANIE ELRICK.
As technology advances, pioneering minds are developing unique new ways to harness the creative potential of nature in sound and sound in nature. Biotechnology is on the rise. In a shift away from the artificial soundscapes of synthesisers, computer programmes and chaos pads, musicians like Terj Isunget, Michael Burton and Michiko Nitta, jointly known as Burton Nitta, are forging fresh trails across audio terrains with unanticipated techniques. By investigating the perceptual links between our senses and the natural world, projects like Ice Music and Algaculture have been born, illuminating a rich and potentially synesthetic direction in the future of music. The Norwegian musician Terj Isunget originally began as an experimental percussionist in the late 80s, creating Neolithic-looking drum kits out of arctic birch, slate, stone, wood and other rough cut biological matter. It was intrinsic to his practice that the materials were kept in their rawest forms to retain an organic essence as much as possible. They could then audibly translate the emotional qualities we identify in our experiences of nature in the music. Using hyper-sensitive microphones, he recorded and looped the tiniest reverberations of sticks tapping on stones and slate scraping on slate, layering them into expansive orchestral landscapes. During the 1999 Lillehammer Winter Festival, Isunget found himself playing next to a frozen waterfall and in addition to his usual equipment he sculpted the first rudimentary ice instruments from the frozen water of the nearby river. Beginning as rough cut xylophone-style implements, ice troughs and chunky oblong chimes, the ice music genre began. Isunget exposed a strangely hypnotic essence in the song of ice that has fascinated audiences ever since. Dedicating his career to the mystery of ice, Terj went on to collaborate with other specialists, creating bespoke ice harps, ice trumpets and eventually an ice guitar. “You can never tune an ice instrument. You find it as it is and work with it and no two pieces will ever sound the same,” Terj explains. This is consistent in each instrument. All have distinct timbres which give them a specific organic imprint or tonal personality depending on the elemental forces at work during their formation. The density of the water or how quickly the ice has solidified makes a huge difference to the sound and the slightest drop in temperature can make them drastically out of tune. Terj and his collaborators have spent many years
mastering these idiosyncratic structures, one frustration being that they can only realistically play each ice instrument a handful of times before it ceases to be useful and goes back to its liquid form. Of course, the instruments are impermanent by nature. Since the release of his first ice album Iceman Is – recorded at the Swedish Ice Hotel in 2001 – Terj has formed All Ice Records and founded the world’s first ice music festival in Geilo, Norway, which takes place in a specially built igloo during the last full moon in January. Ice music is for those ‘sensible to the poetry and simplicity of sounds’, according to its creator, and it comes as no surprise that Terj describes his music in colours, a type of synaesthesia common amongst musicians like Mozart, Jimi Hendrix and Tori Amos, specifically known as chromesthesia. Creative duo Burton Nitta, from Japan and the UK, have literalised the artistic potential of raw materials and synaesthesia in their project Algae Opera which fuses sound, breath and taste in an ingenious yet relatively simple piece of bio-tech. Through a contraption that resembles a sci-fi snorkel with thin plastic piping extending out from a fixed mouthpiece, they’ve invented a way to let an opera singer, Louise Ashcroft, sing edible algae into being by literally feeding the plant life with her breath. The algae, which is a photosynthetic organism, grows on the headpiece in accordance with the length and intensity of the singer’s notes. The emotional strength of the melody expressed through her breath is said to make the algae itself taste bitter or sweet, a direct energy transfer that can be heard, seen and tasted. The audience present for Louise’s operatic performances are afterwards encouraged to eat the results of the recital, digesting the sounds their ears have just absorbed. What these artists have successfully channelled is not dominance over natural elements, but a symbiotic bond with them. By allowing sound to have warmth and depth, music to have a flavour or space to have rhythm, we begin to amplify our perception and connect with the full non-verbal spectrum of our senses.
isung.no icefestival.no louiseashcroft.com
live. Rochdale Feel Good Festival.
THE PRETTY THINGS.
31st August. Rochdale Town Centre.
13TH SEPTEMBER. BAND ON THE WALL.
Reviewer – Ged Camera.
REVIEWER – JOHN WIGLEY.
The Maldini may not be screaming, but their rich, fulsome sound does carry quite a way – almost from the town hall in Rochdale to the nearby railway station, so that even though you aren’t in the same venue as Screaming Maldini, you can still hear them. If Ben Holbyn’s trumpet blasts seem capable of taking a few chunks out of nearby masonry, then the voice of front woman Gina Walters could knock them down. Fittingly for a sunny Saturday, their bright and breezy songs – including recent single ‘Summer, Somewhere’ – provide the bounce to draw people from nearby bars to engage with the ebullient Walters.
I entered Band on the Wall, as I often do, in a state of excitement. The Pretty Things are hugely important in the development of British music through the 60s – an importance made noble by their shunting to the footnotes of the acid-drenched music boom when anyone with ears knows SF Sorrow is a record so good it takes Sgt Pepper round the back of the club and gives it a paisley decorated going-over.
The Sundowners take to the stage in a quietly confident manner. The two vocalists, Fiona Skelly and Niamh Rowe, look out across Rochdale Square to the Flying Horse pub and its temporary bar, the Flying Mare. The band’s vibrant, sun-drenched sounds then blitz the crowd, who quickly start paying attention and moving to the beats, as nicely aggressive vocals blend well with sharp, earworm hooks. The closing number is a performance with musical intensity akin to The Coral or The Music. With Fiona and lead guitarist Alfie sharing The Coral’s Skelly siblings’ psychedelic blood there’s an obvious connection, but their music can stand on its own, irrespective of acknowledgements to Fleetwood Mac or even The Allman Brothers. George Waites has a bemused look on his face as he too looks out across the crowd. Most festivals have a theme to them but Rochdale Feel Good Festival has trawled across several genres. The ska, rude boy section is represented by a Neville Staples appearance, whilst the popstar corner sees The Feeling take to the stage. Alongside them, several indie type bands, including Waites’ band, The Crookes, also perform. If anything, the theme for Rochdale is diversity. It’s an equally disparate crowd, with some middle-aged punks visiting the indoor bands then nipping outside to see the younger upstarts as they grab a quick ciggie. But, with guitars plugged in, The Crookes just get on with delivering their crisp and clear, guitar-laden songs. Waites is a livewire, his hair flailing around as he generates as much energy as if it were a hometown gig in Sheffield. Sometimes you can take the music to the crowd, and then it’s up to them, really.
I was even more excited when I found myself standing next to the Pretty’s guitarist Dick Taylor while watching the support act, psychedup Mancs The Watchmakers. These immaculately dressed locals were crushingly, brilliantly loud, piling echo on top of echo and making free use of the e-bow. Their tunes were smart and snagging, their playing raw but tight, their roar and pummel thrilling. Altogether ace. The Pretty Things crashed into their opener with little preamble and kept up the pace for the whole show. Phil May, the singer and, from my distance, a passable Dennis Waterman impersonator, sang with fire and soul, and maintained a holler barely tarnished by the band’s 50 years. Taylor’s guitar playing was flat out astonishing – spiky and bluesy with a hint of razor-wire nastiness. He ripped through the tunes with such power that the 70-year-old on stage seemed to melt into a younger, hungrier musician altogether. The band touched all bases during their set. SF Sorrow became a satisfying medley, earlier songs were batted out into the crowd with such stomping energy that you worried for the fixture and fittings, and the band’s blues origins were honoured, most excitingly when ‘Who Do You Love?’ rose menacingly from the sweaty R&B swamp. A really great show, grounded by the back line of newer band members, driven forward by the brilliant singer but set alight by the guitarist. Dick Taylor – original Stones bass player and first Hawkwind producer – Manchester bloody loves you.
13TH -15TH SEPTEMBER. RAMSBOTTOM CRICKET CLUB.
NOW THEN SOCIALS.
REVIEWER – DAVE JONES.
After our foray into the open city again in August, we’ll be returning to Deaf regularly – every 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursdays. First up on 3rd Oct we’re teaming up with Debt Records to stage Richard Barry’s live show plus Biff Roxby’s Wonky Disco. For 17th the band Walk will be DJing, followed by a Mind On Fire Halloween special. In November we’ve invited #FlashTag on 7th and My First Moth Records on 21st, then Caro C curates the 5th December social under her Rare as a Green Dog and Delia Derbyshire Day guises. Now Then contributors will join each time on the decks.
The rolling Pennines adorned with forested land provided a beautiful amphitheatre for the three-day Ramsbottom Festival. A rich, diverse bill on paper promised much. Friday’s kick off included Twisted Wheel, who started out okay but got lost in noodling guitars. Public Service Broadcasting were hilarious. Danny Mahon was like Billy Bragg doing northern stand up. I Am Kloot, an inspired last minute substitution, were their usual ebullient, lysergic selves. Saturday brought us Harp And A Monkey, who mine the deep vein of northern folk music, honing a truly distinct and inventive sound. They could also do stand up. Lazy Habits were a totally different universe; an airtight mix of sharp brass, soul and rap which was just what we needed. The sun came out and we started to dance. They even had Josh Whitehead as a guest – the hipsters! Then it was time for Walk. They play the blues but someone has let these pesky kids with their gizmos loose on it and now it’s groovier than ever. The hottest, hippest ticket of the festival delivered, hands down. The hit of the festival. I will let other people cover the headliners and established bands – I’m here for the local acts. I did see someone throw a drink at Richard Hawley, but that’s Ramsbottom for you. And there is a hurricane coming our way tomorrow… Sunday saw the rain and the wind and the cold and the mayhem. Somehow we still had a show. The locals were ready for it. After all, the local branch of Millets is the only one with an eveningwear section. Eliza Carthy, Bella Hardy and Kate Young were elegant and true, with folk music from another age that somehow cut through the wind and rain. Kirk McElhinney was John Martyn without the echoplex, and was assisted by the sweet keys of John Ellis, who later turned up with Kirsty Almeida, whose great set almost pushed Walk off the top of the tree, but not quite. By then I was done and beaten. They tell me Sinéad O’Connor was wonderful but I was warming up in a local snug by an open fire, elegantly dripping. A sweet end to a smashing festival.
Recommended by Now Then.
Deaf Institute Bar / Free.
CAREFULLY PLANNED FESTIVAL. 19 th-20 th Oct / Various / £12.50.
Again Carefully Planned Festival has amassed a delectable platter for a weekend feast. At the last count, there are 122 acts covering any and all genres being staged across Northern Quarter’s venues old and new – from Night & Day Café to Bakerie.
FRIENDS OF MULE FUNDRAISER.
26th Oct / Pop Up Bikes (Arch 5) / £2-5. We’re teaming up with Manchester MULE for this first instalment of their fundraiser gig double-header. To start with, The 8th Day Coop is presenting the Bag It documentary film (see page 5) then, live music-wise, The Yossarians, The Family Wolves and Beef will bring the archway’s roof down between them, with Mind On Fire’s DJs. WR Audio and Tin Pan Sound are organising the soundsystem and Juke Joint’s bar will have plenty of ales stocked.
GABBY YOUNG & OTHER ANIMALS. 30 th Oct / Tiger Lounge / £8.
In the first of a run of shows at Tiger Lounge for House of Cards Presents, the classically trained singer Gabby Young and her band are set to perform their various folk lilts and jazzy jives. She’ll be joined by our issue 3 music interviewees The Age of Glass and local folky Rachel Hillary. Expect fun and frolics aplenty.
15th Nov / 2022NQ / £5. The electronic duo head up an electronic music showcase staged by former Sankeys resident Jozef K’s latest promotional label Fortsetzen. Apollo / R&S signees Cloud Boat will also bring some records to DJ.
21 st Nov / Salford Sacred Trinity Church / £11. The prolific recording artist, former Swans vocalist and organ droner Jarboe will be performing reworked versions of the recently reformed NYC rockers’ material. Well-matched support comes from locals Die Hexen and Leda and the Swan.
KYDROPONICS VOLUME 2. ROOM 2.
THE DIFFIDENT FECUND ALBUM. DEBT RECORDS.
REVIEWER – NATHAN MCILROY.
REVIEWER – CHARLES VEYS.
In the past decade, Britain has become a well-respected hotbed of hip hop talent, with Manchester strengthening this reputation. Local MCs and DJs have honed their craft at free parties and club nights for years and it’s beginning to pay off. In the past six months alone, the high standard and sheer number of local releases has been staggering. If you don’t have time to search the net for Mouse Outfit, Dubbul O or my personal favourites The Bluntskins – whose smoke plume rhymes are a worthy tribute to everybody’s favourite potted plant – then shame on you. Thankfully for the lazier surfers among us, the main exponents of this burgeoning scene are gathered on the Kydroponics mixtape for your listening pleasure.
This summer the character that is Mr Richard Barry has complied for us, the general public, an exuberant mix of folk-rock with diligent vocals to create the self-professed Diffident Fecund Album. He is not alone in this endeavour, with support he describes as “three hirsute reprobates” in the form of Cleg, Joel and Phil frolicking on guitar, bass and percussion respectively. Input from fellow Debt Records artists Honeyfeet and The Bedlam Six surmise the variety offered by the musicians involved. Numerous phone skits can be heard involving the “album comment desk”, where individuals provide various erroneous hints on improving his artwork, and questionable weather reports describing “sustained periods of doubt”. This is just one of many depictions throughout an album filled with the humorous oddity of its creator.
Like many of his cohorts, Kydro cut his teeth on the free party circuit, but while his DJing contemporaries are still grinding their gums in fear of direct sunlight, he has emerged as the go-to producer for MCs who value eclecticism over beats-per-minute – Ellis Meade, Cheech, Fabz, Chucklez and T-man make up just a third of this mixtape’s talented and unique guest voices, setting a high standard of bars. What I love most about Kydroponics is how many talented lyricists are brought together over their respect for his craft. Whether it’s Diatribe on the Blue Note sampling ‘Broke My Heart’ or Frisko over an Ennio Morricone break in ‘Here’s My Hook’, Kydro is the lynchpin who draws collaborators together with his wealth of musical styles. He gives brilliant MCs a worthy platform for their lyrics and creates something fresh for an underground form that’s often limited in its scope. ‘Innovate’ closes the compilation, an 11-minute ode to creating ‘real hip hop’ that showcases all of the artists featured on the record. It culminates in a poetic description of the human lifecycle by Bill Sykes – from the death rattle through to the rebirth; the embryonic stages through to growth and maturity, articulated with Taoist vision and reassurance. What a relief. Hip hop’s not dead after all.
Kydro’s mixtape launch is on 11th October at Fallow Café as part of the next Golden Egg night.
Regarding the music, melodies flow with a variety of tempos across the tracks whilst the vocals maintain an underlying nonchalant comic feeling. The Bo Diddley riff rings out on ‘Rags to Ditches’ and, elsewhere, fast-paced ukulele strings keep a jive-like momentum that would be equally at home in a 20s New York speakeasy. As the band name suggests, the focus of the album is on the singer-songwriter, with the rest of the ensemble providing an unadorned but integral backdrop. But Richard is not purely a solo artist, having worked on acclaimed collaborations with fellow Debt Records artists Louis Barabbas and Alabaster Deplume on the musical Dead At The Café Styx. His talents are not confined to music as he writes articles published on his website, provides numerous voiceovers, performs comedy sketches and is the quizmaster for the renowned Fuel Pub Quiz in Manchester, at which he regularly threatens phone cheats with “defenestration”. Richard Barry is not an artist, he is a brand, and with so many talents across such a wide spectrum this well-spoken Welshman will continue to regale and delight for some time yet.
LET YOUR HANDS BE MY GUIDE. GIZEH RECORDS.
Diving Loop. Central Processing Unit.
REVIEWER – DAVE FIRTH.
Reviewer – Ian Pennington.
Chantal Acda of Sleepingdog presents her first solo album, aided by some of Europe’s leading ambient players, including Nils Frahm and Peter Broderick. Acda playfully twists lyrics to their grammatical breaking point, but delivers them with a clarity and innocence that is nicely complemented by the arrangements. Piano melodies and finger-picked guitar shimmer, leaving reverb trails in their wake. The use of incidental sounds, like fret noise and the depression of piano keys, contributes to the fragile production. Perhaps a little too concerned with playing nice, Let Your Hands Be My Guide suffers from an excess of politeness, but there is warmth to this record that is hard to dismiss. Verdict: The ideal soundtrack to post-coital embraces in the emerald shade of forgotten cemeteries.
With the emergence of Delia Derbyshire Day and the campaign to recover and properly file her numerous pioneering scores for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, like the original Doctor Who theme, women in electronic music have been gaining recognition in Manchester lately.
SEVEN ANCIENT WONDERS. SELF-RELEASED.
REVIEWER – JOHN WIGLEY.
REVIEWER – SAMUEL BUCKLEY.
Ambition in making music is always to be encouraged, and this album is certainly ambitious, but with the chops and playfulness to back it up. Its driven and heady tunes carry off the trick of honouring influences while integrating them neatly into something new. Skutch Manos harness real thump and aggression to service flamenco-influenced tunes. ‘Mimosa’ fuses genres to give the feel of whiskery 70s tunesmiths Sky re-recording the first Led Zep record. The album then opens out neatly into a kind of finger-twisting Spanish/South American jazz fusion. It is a record with elegant turns and a feel of musical commitment tempered by foot stomping joyousness. ‘Wakey Wakey...’ out-plucks all the recordings of Rodrigo Y Gabriela and they even make ‘Classical Gas’ sound fresh. Complex and brilliant.
Ivan Campo can always be relied on to produce languid warmth in melodies and harmony and they don’t disappoint with their new EP. Rather than matching the epic themes with likewise instrumentation, the trio takes the form of minstrels with the humility of storytellers rather than myth creators.
This collection is as much an homage to the 80s as the recent Kavinskysoundtracked, GTA Vice City lookalike film, Drive. If you’ve seen the film, it’s hard not to recall the pensive, drawn-out scenes featuring Carey Mulligan and Ryan Gosling conversing at snail’s pace as Mrs Jynx’s sythesized delay glistens all around. In particular, ‘Long Lost’ sounds like it’s sampled Alphaville’s ‘Forever Young’, rippling in your headphones as it drifts across an amber and crimson sunset with the dulcet currents of Tycho or early Jon Hopkins.
‘The Hanging Gardens’ waltzes through a Babylonian paradise – snap dragons, marigold lakes and lamenting lilies – it’s all very pretty and as simplistic as a love song could be. It’s hard to know who or what this EP is in tribute to – if indeed anything – or if the mythological themes are just a mechanism to deliver vivid narratives through images of ancient romance. If this is the case, then so be it. It works well enough for song.
The Orb. History of the Future. Interview By Fat Roland.
They’re all getting old, all the musicians. Mick Jagger prances around Glasto like a splintered toothpick. David Bowie is now some kind of wizened gnome who fills his wrinkles with space dust. Lulu, The Who, Madonna: all as old as the universe itself.
“When we played Glastonbury,” says Paterson, “we had lots of young kids jumping up and down. They were under ten. I was very happy with all that. I would like to aim for teenagers but at the end of the day, do they buy music? You’ve really got to think a bit like that now.”
Because of the future-fuelled nature of dance music, it’s difficult to think of The Orb as getting old. It’s difficult to think of that most spherical of pulsating spheres becoming little more than a drooping ballsack of oldaged aches and pains. But with a 25-year anniversary box set and tour approaching, it’s fair to say The Orb have been around for a while.
The Orb are somewhere between remixers and producers, so known are they for their sampling. Indeed their most famous track, ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’, with the sunsets that were “purple and red and yellow and on fire”, landed them in a little legal hot water. Clearing the samples now is a “complete nightmare” and you may well hear the band using different samples when playing live. Still, Paterson is critical of bands that rely too much on software presets to produce their music, and especially of DJs that are little more than mp3 shufflers.
Glastonbury Festival let many old names rip up the stage this year: the Stones, Chic, Elvis Costello, Public Enemy. While experienced performers furrowed the same old grooves, The Orb changed the record by teaming up with the thundering Kakatsitsi drummers from southern Ghana. Imagine a chill-out room fitted with pneumatic drills. “They came in like a giant drum machine,” says The Orb’s Alex Paterson. “All in synch with each other. It’s just incredible, really. Wow. There was one guy playing with his feet.” The Orb are all about collaboration. Alex Paterson is its ever-growing brain – he describes himself as the “livewire within The Orb” – with various producers orbiting the line-up. Sun Electric producer Thomas Fehlmann is currently the other half of the band. That particular partnership has seen The Orb’s most prolific period in recent years. The beautifully-packaged Baghdad Batteries album was followed by Metallic Spheres with David Gilmour (“he came in one day, laid a load of guitars down – never saw him again”) and then two albums with dub pioneer Lee Scratch Perry. The latter had Pitchfork Magazine comparing Perry to Lil Wayne, which is kind of like comparing Shane McGowan to Dappy. “The most beautiful thing was Lee’s wife and manager turned up, made sure he was okay then decided to go home because there were no shops, which was brilliant because then we had him on his own. He became a free spirit for six days. With the Gilmour thing it was more ‘come down to a shack in Wandsworth and do some guitar’, whereas with Lee it was ‘come out to a country studio and we’ll get some chefs in and we’ll write some music’.” The studio was Berlin hideout Sternhagen Gut, co-owned by Fehlmann. The Orb would hang around during the day writing tracks, waiting for the nocturnal Perry to stir. And then the dubmeister would be off, late into the night. “You put anything in front of him and he’ll sing about it. I showed him this book on African mysteries. We’d have cooks come in so we’d have these German-style dinners with a big table, lots of chairs, and Lee would be on the corner watching Nigerian gangster films. And the next night, it’d be Bollywood.” Alex Paterson is speaking to me to promote the new four-disc album History Of The Future – The Island Years, an Orb compendium that includes hit singles ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’, ‘Toxygene’ and ‘Blue Room’ alongside remixes, live performances and the first proper Orb DVD. Watch out for their great Top of the Pops appearances. It’s a collection that will bring the band’s ambient haze to a whole new generation – a whole new generation of illegal downloaders and content streamers.
“I took my daughter round a science museum a few years back and you know what she came across and started laughing? Decks and a mixer, like a DJ set-up in a frame. Part of science history. These days, I meet DJs that are doing sets on memory sticks and calling themselves DJs. It really pisses me off. The craft is to have a CD player and a deck so you can work off both if need be, but a memory stick? Come on! How easy do you want it to be? Knobs. They’re not really learning a trade.” History Of The Future and the silver jubilee tour will bring The Orb to Manchester this month, supported by guitar-toting ambienteers System 7. Being in Manchester should bring back some memories for Paterson, who DJed with post-punkers Killing Joke. “Killing Joke were invited onto a Factory tour back in February 1980 [with Joy Division, Section 25 and A Certain Ratio], and I remember some mad Orb gigs at the old Academy. We used to have an after-hours bar that went on until eight in the morning. I’ve got some really good mates in Manchester. Hello, Doctor D!” And with that shout-out to a long-time Manchester DJ, Alex invites me for a post-gig drink. He really is the livewire within The Orb. He doesn’t stop. “We haven’t broken up, retired, pulled ourselves out of retirement. We haven’t done what Orbital have done.” He’s referring to the headlamped Hartnoll brothers who brought techno to huge audiences before retiring then un-retiring themselves. “I thought it was quite amusing with Orbital, because I don’t know what the family was like at Christmas if they’d split up...” “I saw Paul from Orbital,” Paterson adds. “He came to see us do a warmup gig for the Glastonbury gig with the Africans in Brighton, and I asked him if he’d like to do a remix of ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’. He said to me, ‘You know, I’d love to: you don’t know how many times I get asked to play it.’” Is that another potential collaboration? Happy birthday, The Orb. May your shiny, unwrinkled spheres roll on for another 25 years.
The Orb’s 25th anniversary show is at Manchester Academy 2 on Saturday 12 th October. theorb.com
Photo by Janio Edwards PAGE 37
Theatre. IAN TOWNSEND TALKS ABOUT CRITICISM, PRIZES AND THE BBC. INTERVIEW BY ANDREW ANDERSON.
Ian Townsend is a Manchester-based writer whose play All The Bens won the 24:7 Festival Audience Award in 2012. Since then it has been shown at re:play Festival, and has garnered a host of other prizes. But writing a breakthrough play doesn’t mean television contracts, red carpets and a house in the Bahamas – the slog is much longer than that. I spoke to him about the writing process, career plans and the frustrations of the fringe.
and occasionally a royalty cheque comes through when an am-dram group performs it. But it’s only a few quid, so I don’t think I’ll be retiring from real work anytime soon. But yeah, theatre is what I know and where I want to be. So, even with the awards for All The Bens, it’s still a struggle?
It took two years, and went through lots of changes. Originally it was a full-length piece, but I took it to Bruntwood [at the Royal Exchange], and they suggested that it become a one act play, which really made a difference.
I don’t want to sound silly or pretentious so I wouldn’t say a struggle, but being a successful writer doesn’t happen overnight. The awards were nice, but they’re not why you do it. I still get knocked back for stuff, and it still gets to you. But you realise they probably know what they’re doing, and perhaps they saved you from putting on something that wasn’t ready. You harden to it, but it still hurts – for the local things just as much as the big national competitions.
How important is feedback like that?
But it’s still worth it?
It’s hard to overstate. A few years ago I began to realise that honest feedback, from people you can trust, is the best thing you can get as a writer. When people read something you have done and ask, “Why this journey?” or, “Why does this character act this way?” you realise that if they need to ask then maybe you’ve not said all that you need to say. It’s nice to hear friends praise something, but you need good criticism too.
Yes. Hearing an audience get a joke – something you thought was funny when you wrote it – it’s like you have an instant connection with all these people you’ve never even met. I’d be doing this with or without success. If you love it, then why not?
How long does a project like All The Bens take to finish?
What inspires you to write, and how do you choose subject material? It’s one of those questions you can’t really answer. I don’t know where it comes from, it’s just there. I like things that are quirky or unusual. Like today, I saw one of those ‘living statues’ – you know, with all the white makeup on – just sitting down having a fag. He looked shattered and I thought, “There’s a story there”.
When you have an idea do you then have to do a lot of background research? Not really, because I usually write about things I already know about. One of the good things I have done is role play stuff for medical students to help them with their training. You end up learning about all sorts – how doctors are supposed to deal with telling a patient they have cancer, and so on. Quite unusual stuff, like pretending to have psychological problems, and you have to really get into it. Have you pitched that to anyone? No, I suppose I could. But with people like the BBC there’s no point pitching an entire series, because they’re not really interested in specifics – they just want to know you can write. Have you done any work with the BBC? I had a meeting with them today. It was a sort of ‘getting to know you’ session. I’m on their radar now, which is good. They have people they work with regularly, but they are always looking for new writers too – people they can pair up and who can get sparks off one another. Was this through All The Bens? Yes, that and the BBC Writersroom, which is where I would recommend anyone interested in writing start out. Are you working on any ideas for them now and, if not, what else are you working on? I’m currently trying to get All The Bens on tour and published. It’s hard getting funding, but hopefully it will get somewhere. It can be frustrating, because there’s so much good stuff going on in Manchester, from the short play festivals and one-person shows to full-scale productions at the Exchange. But so much of it is ephemeral, and never has a life beyond Manchester and the North West. It’s a shame. Is that where you see you career path going – giving your plays a life beyond Manchester? It’d certainly be good to be paid for it. I did a small play a few years ago,
Photo by Adam Spencer Young PAGE 41
BACK TO BLA CK. TOM WARMA N.
Dark, fatalistic, pessimistic, cynical, sexy, sinister, urban, seedy, corrupt – however you describe it, film noir is one of those genres that defies precise definition, yet continues to attract such an ardent following, both from film-goers and film-makers alike. If the 24-hour noir-athon at the Cornerhouse, to start its autumn Double Indemnity season, is any metric to go by, the cultural relevance of all things noir is well and truly alive. It’s more than can be said for the celluloid body count accumulated in the nine films shown virtually backto-back during this audacious spectacle of cultural programming, which places a confident stiletto heel on Manchester’s ever-pioneering arts and cultural venue this autumn. Almost arriving bang on cue, my attendance for the preview on Friday 13th September was heralded by a biblical downpour – surely confirmation that Manchester should be the film noir location of choice for any director seeking atmosphere and more than just aesthetic obedience to the almost obligatory requirement to include an anti-hero sporting a trench coat. But why this fascination with film noir, and why on such an allencompassing scale? The answer lies in the daring vision of New York writer and curator Michael Connor, who clearly sees the starting point of one film, Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity with its key themes of desire, power and complicity, as a powerful lens through which to explore the wider cultural significance of the genre with a contemporary audience via as many artistic mediums possible. Sarah Perks, Cornerhouse’s Director of Programming and Engagement, also provides a compelling rationale: “Using Double Indemnity as a starting point for an exhibition has allowed us to consider more expansive subjects and diverse types of art than with a traditional ‘theme’, where one inevitably ends up using the art works to illustrate the theme.” All of which made me think of the very modern and all too prescient relevance of film noir in contemporary culture with the publicly documented and visceral rise and fall of the tragic femme fatale of the noughties, Amy Winehouse, whose haunting ‘Back to Black’ not only prophesised her early demise, but documents a film noir obsession with patriarchal desire and the imbalance of power this creates.
Take, for instance, one of two commissions by artist Anicka Yi – a sensory, dark space in which a unique fragrance emanates from a black box held between two glaring car headlamps to evoke the essence of Barbara Stanwyck’s character from Double Indemnity. Described as being ‘cold, icy with desire, metallic, with hints of floral notes, menthol and booze’, this heady affront on the senses not only conveys the mix of tensions inherent in the fragile character of Barbara Stanwyck, but perhaps reflects a broader universal feminine persona, one based on conflicting cultural pressures to be feminine, self-driven, successful and desirable, suffused with a hefty dose of cynical self-preservation. All of which brings me to Bound, the exuberantly mischievous and hugely enjoyable 1996 reworking of the genre by sibling directors the Wachowskis, who subvert the well-seasoned ‘dominant male, objectified female’ formula with a lesbian double act. Here they challenge our definitions of female desire and male power to create a stunningly fresh perspective, which convincingly argues that money, power and corruption are a recipe for disaster when vested in an uncritical collective of egocentric men. And in this glorious bloodbath of deceit and double dealing, the women reign triumphantly, with their final victim meeting his end in a pool of white paint. Ironic? Perhaps. Profoundly clever? Yes. But are these just clever games by the Wachowskis or a more telling comment on our times? I think the latter. Just take a look at any of the recent headlines on the woeful state of the male-dominated banking and finance industry. If you think film noir has no resonance with prevailing issues of desire, in all its forms, then Cornerhouse’s outstanding My Noir season will make you think again. The Double Indemnity season continues at the Cornerhouse until 5th January. cornerhouse.org
“You went back to what you knew so far removed, From all that we went through, And I tread a troubled track, my odds are stacked, I’ll go back to black.” It is perhaps this disillusionment with romance on equal terms, and the often cynical objectification of women, that was mirrored in one of many smart one-liners delivered by Humphrey Bogart in his role as blackmailsolving, private detective Philip Marlow in the 1946 classic film The Big Sleep. Performing opposite Lauren Bacall in the last of the nine films shown in the noir-athon, he shrewdly quips: “You can have a hangover from other things than alcohol. I had one from women.” While Amy Winehouse isn’t explored in the supporting gallery exhibitions, it’s fair to say that many of the themes that she and her contemporaries are troubled, fascinated and captivated by in contemporary life are compelling, and that Double Indemnity, as an exhibition, is as much a mirror as a lens to the modern soul.
Photo by WeAreTAPE.com PAGE 43
MCR SCIENCE FESTIVAL. MANCHESTERSCIENCEFESTIVAL.COM.
There’s plenty of everything in the arts during the autumn stretch. We haven’t got the space to list them all, but here are some picks… Blank Media Collective’s next exhibition, Invented Identities, is lined up to adorn the Contact Theatre’s walls from October to January. Its central theme is a prominent one in this digital age of pseudonyms and avatars – four artists are exploring the escapist realm of the projected self by developing new stories around characters in their work. Again following a theme of what is real and respected, the Manchester Marauders exhibition compiles a photographic collage of Manchester’s hip hop personalities over the years, selected by the photographer Air Adam. Tweaking the concept of the classic A Tribe Called Quest album cover, the 2022NQ display will bring 49 musicians together into the same centrepiece, alongside a selection of other photos depicting the achievements and activities of the genre’s local musicians. There’ll be a cipher involving some of the ‘Marauders’ themselves at the launch event on 17th October. On the ale trail, Common and Port Street Beer House welcome Beeraphilistic at the start of October. The exhibition features paraphernalia, from beer mats to bottle caps and cans to pump clips, with the aim of displaying and understanding the wide cultural and historical significance of the alcoholic brew. A disused shop space in Cheetham Hill’s precinct, formerly a Peacocks store and now named Unit 25, is the venue for Desire Lines, an exhibition exploring the urban green spaces around the Irk Valley river. That display by Andrew Dodds will remain on the walls from 10th to 20th October, and then for the next six months Unit 25 will become an open community arts venue for the area, encouraging new small business ideas, workshops, training and local community initiatives, meetings and events. Finally, The Spoon Inn’s artwork swap shop looks worth a visit on 13th October. The instructions state that you just need to select the art print that you’re after, and then trade it for that kitchen wall art print you’ve been looking at for too long, with a £1 admin charge. It’s curated by Skyliner, so already has that seal of quality, and will tie in with Chorlton’s Barlow Moor Road Parade Festival.
Not long ago there was uproar when it was reported in the MEN that one of Manchester’s cultural crown jewels, the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), might be under pressure to start charging an entry fee or, worse still, close altogether. More likely is that a funding message was being sent by the museum’s owners, the Science Museum Group, to the council, government and general public. Regardless of conjecture, the museum thankfully lives on, as does one of its shining lights, Manchester Science Festival. The seventh incarnation of the festival features exhibitions, workshops and a mixture of free entry and pay-in events aimed at any and all ages. Among them is a special show by the everinventive Denis Jones, who has been doing something of a local museums and galleries tour of late, with two appearances at Whitworth Art Gallery before it closed for renovations and now this gig at the Museum of Science and Industry. Taking place on 10th October as part of the Manchester Weekender and named Wired: Brains at night, the gig features a quiz based around our grey matter and the museum’s Brains exhibition before Denis Jones’s AV performance. Also at MOSI, Ice Lab seeks to document the contemporary architecture of Antarctica through a variety of media. It runs from 23rd October to 6th January. The festival isn’t confined to the walls of MOSI. Salford University’s links with MediaCity have forged an exhibition over the weekend of 19th and 20th October that will travel back into recent history and the early days of home computers and computer games, as well as the evolution of television technology. Elsewhere there are affiliated events and exhibitions being staged, from Origins at Nexus Arts Café to the Synthesis exhibition at Victoria Warehouse Hotel. Snowballs in Space at Jodrell Bank down in Cheshire looks worth a visit – the interactive show’s explorations of comets, asteroids and meteors runs from 23rd October to 1st November.
OUR PICK OF THE BUNCH.
CO-OPERATIVES. PHM.ORG.UK/WHATSON. Last year was the UN’s Year of Co-operatives, casting a light on the 1.4 million co-ops worldwide. Continuing the trend, The People’s History Museum is featuring The People’s Business exhibition in celebration of the modern co-operative movement, launching on 12 th October as part of Creative Tourist’s Manchester Weekender. The Rochdale Pioneers coop is widely reputed to be the start of modern co-op lineage, a story dramatised in the recent film The Rochdale Pioneers. Themes covered across the display include the movement’s principles, ethical consumerism, environmental consciousness, campaigns and ownership. From the 8th Day and Unicorn grocers to the diverse range of fellow forward-thinkers – Manchester Film Co-op, Open Space Co-op, the Carbon Co-op and many more – Manchester has its share of socially responsible and ethically sound businesses. Keep a lookout for them.
FRIENDS OF MULE. MANCHESTERMULE.COM/DONATE. We’re working with Manchester MULE to stage two events over the next two months. There’s a gig on Saturday 26th October at Pop Up Bikes with Juke Joint providing the bar (see page 33 for more info), and a political panel discussion on Thursday 14th November at Black Lion (free entry). The discussion panel will be covering topics such as urban policy, policing and town planning and the impact on power, culture and society in Manchester and Salford. Morag Rose from the Loiterers Resistance Movement will chair and compere, and confirmed panellists include Skyliner’s Hayley Flynn, Salford community worker Graham Cooper, and a council representative, with another special guest TBC.
OPUS DISTRIBUTION. OPUSINDEPENDENTS.COM/OPUSDISTRIBUTION. Opus Independents is the not-for-profit social enterprise that publishes this very magazine, producing a fresh issue every two months. As well as the magazine, we also run a popular and affordable flyer and poster distribution service, which has been working exclusively with independent traders, community groups, charities and local government for five years now. Last year the service branched into Manchester, South Manchester, Stockport and Trafford, and we can cover a wide geographical area including Sheffield, South Yorkshire, North Derbyshire, and more, plus distribution runs based on specific demographics. Our regular clients include Sheffield Theatres, Sheffield City Hall and the Showroom cinema, but the service can be customised if you are working on a smaller budget, with runs starting at £25. Visit the above web link or email email@example.com for more information.
KEN FOSTER’S CYCLE LOGIC. KENFOSTERSCYCLELOGIC.CO.UK. BARLOW MOOR ROAD, M21. Given that the recent Velocity funding bid – to improve Manchester’s road layout systems for the two-wheeled among us – won’t be fully realised until 2025 (which almost sounds like the distant future you’d associate with a sci-fi film), reliable cycle traders with fully accredited workshop facilities are more important than ever to keep us roadworthy in the face of potholes, rogue tyre-nipping glass and buckled spokes. Step forward Cycle Logic in Chorlton, a shop which celebrates its 60 th birthday next year. From Shimano to Raleigh, Mavic to Brompton, the big bicycle and mountain bike makes are stocked, along with all necessary locks, lights, pumps and cyclewear, including their very own Cycle Logic hi-vis vest. There’s also 10% off non-sale items instore when you show this magazine to a member of staff.
DELI-LAMA. @DELILAMACAFEBAR. CHAPEL STREET, M3. Here at Now Then we love a good pun, so Deli-Lama ticks that box from the very start. We also love a good platter and this deli-café-venue based on Bexley Square just off Salford’s Chapel Street has ticked another box with their menu. Often serving produce supplied by the community-led whole foods enterprise 78 Steps, Deli-Lama offers a fine seasonal selection – sweet and savoury, breakfast, lunch and evening meals. Even as relative newcomer having opened last summer, they’re swiftly developing a reputation as a perfect location for chilled out live music, having hosted electronica acts at this year’s Sounds From The Other City Festival and acoustic guitarists at Salford Music Festival last month. Add to that the regular reggae vinyl night (Reggae-Lama, last Saturday each month), folk afternoons with the Jane & Mike Band (3-6pm every third Saturday), and their artistic inclination having prettied their walls with art exhibitions for Salford art students and other local artists.
SAMUEL BUCKLEY. Sam will be leaving us after this issue to go travelling around India, where he has ambitions of finding himself and other such clichés. It may have been said before, but there’s no way we would have been able to launch the magazine you’re reading now without Sam’s effort and commitment. Cycling through the pouring rain or scorching heat to reach meetings on time – including one 27-minute burst from the city centre out to near Fletcher Moss Park in East Didsbury, breaking the land speed record in our own minds. Sam’s ability for an anecdote and witty ways with the written word will be missed. Good luck.
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