Greater Manchester


Not Coming Back

I’m getting out more, now. Not rushing out to pubs and all that stuff, but leaving the flat for more things than just going to work or shopping for food.

After last week’s jaunt, I decided to go for another bike ride around Manchester City Centre. This time, I thought I’d pay respects to three Manchester venues that this week announced they won’t be re-opening.

In reverse order of their importance to me-

Nexus RIP

Nexus Art Cafe has been one of my favourite coffee shops for years. I’ve gone there to write, do life drawing, and meet friends. It was a quirky semi-basement space, which hosted art exhibits and all sorts of other events. A not-for-profit, it was run by a Christian group that displays all the best qualities of religion- caring, inclusive, and all round decent. I’ll miss it, and I hope something as lovely rises from the ashes.

Deaf Institute RIP

The Deaf Institute. Two bars and a mid-sized music venue. I’ve drunk in there a few times, but may only have been to one gig. I would have liked to go to more….

Gorilla RIP

I don’t know if I’ve ever been in Gorilla. I’ve been too broke for too many years to do the gigging I wish I could.

I’m sure these buildings will be taken over by new management, and the new venues that are created will hopefully be as good. It just sucks that they had to end this way.

I have a job now, and a bit more disposable income, so I’m going to do what I can to get the cash flowing for other local small businesses. After I’d taken my photos, I took the time to go buy some stuff in Fred Aldous and FanBoy Three, because I don’t want to be posting photos of their locked doors in a few months time, saying how much I’ll miss them.

Update: Embedded Nexus’ farewell Facebook message below-


The first ride since lockdown

First ride after lockdown

I finally left the flat for something other than work or food shopping. Just an easy ride into Manchester city centre to check out car free Deansgate, then around a few familiar places, and back again. You may have to click through to enjoy the full gallery, depending upon what mood the embedding code is in.


The Ruins of Bolton

A fortnight ago, I went for one last photography wander before starting my full on social distancing*. But I thought I’d go further afield, and hopped on a train to Bolton. If the Flickr embed below isn’t playing nice, you may need to click through to see the whole gallery.

Ruins of Bolton

*Even more distant than the social distancing I’ve been doing for the last few years.


A couple of walks on the fringes

Feb 1st Wander

I started the month with a walk around the area close to Mayfield Depot, on what I think of as the Ancoats/Ardwick border. Lots of interesting stuff, and I finally found the location of Dirt Factory, where I plan to throw bikes around some day soon.

Pendleton Decay

My next wander was closer to home, and more of a hunt for something specific. I watched a couple of episodes of car customising programme Goblin Works Garage, and kept seeing the Beetham Tower in exterior shots. So I went for an explore in street view, but couldn’t find the exact location of their workshop. Until one of the shots showed ‘Pendleton Cooperative Industrial Society’ carved into the bricks of their neighbours. The building was less than a kilometre from where I live, so I went and visited at lunch time, and got some shots of the neighbourhood.


A Flashback to Reclaim The Streets

Reclaim The Streets, Manchester, 1996

Last week’s Extinction Rebellion protest reminded me of Reclaim The Streets, and other demos I went on in the 90s. So I took a dive into my boxes of photos, and found these. The demo closed Oxford Road for a while in 1996. (I checked the release dates of the films on the Odeon billboard to get the year.)


Rebelling

Weekend of Rebellion

After Pride over the Bank Holiday weekend, this last one was more focused on Anger. Are we working our way through the seven sins? Next week, maybe I’ll just stay in bed for Saturday and Sunday. A big feast the one after.

I can’t wait for Lust to turn up.

Extinction Rebellion was in town from Friday to today, closing a section of Deansgate to traffic, and making it civilised. I visited, and took photos, on Friday and Saturday. It actually upset me, in a strange way, because it reminded me of the Reclaim The Streets demos I participated in in the 90s. We didn’t see the change we called for then until fairly recently, and then only slow and flawed. We don’t have two decades to wait for things to get done about climate change.

Also on Friday was August’s Critical Mass. But I’d walked in, so I just took some photos.

Saturday saw my second visit to Extinction Rebellion, and the Stop The Coup demo, which started out in Cathedral Gardens, and made its way to Albert Square, despite starting in very heavy rain.

Then it was down to Platt Fields for something not angry- the Festival of Manchester. I got some nice photos, then there was more heavy rain, so I abandoned it early.

It’s going to be a busy Autumn, and I’ll try to get to as many of these demos as possible, getting photos and video when I do.


Manchester Pride Parade 2019

Manchester Pride Parade 2019

I set off late for Pride, so didn’t get as good a vantage point as usual. But, to compensate, I have a better camera than in previous years, and every so often, a shot framed by the crowd in front of me worked.

Nonetheless, of the 489 photos I took, I only liked 35 of them enough to put into the album. Click on the image to see them.


The Ruins of Manchester City Centre

Manchester, August 2019

As yesterday was the first day for a week where it wasn’t pouring down, I grabbed the chance to head into the city centre and do some writing. Once I’d got a thousand or so words out, it was time to take the new camera, and have a walk through the back streets on the edge of the centre. There are still some run down buildings in the Northern Quarter, but also a number of more surprisingly unused ones nearer to Piccadilly. I also found an industrial age chimney, rising up out of a building halfway between a couple of the busier streets, that I swear I had never even noticed before.

Enjoy the gallery (you may have to click on the image to see it at Flickr). I have also added some of the images to the Ruins of Manchester collection in my Redbubble shop, so you can get prints, cards, and other items with them on.


Sunday Morning Manchester Ride

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. Today, I finally got around to it.

Getting up at 4am, I had a cup of tea, pumped the bike’s tyres up to a good running pressure, and headed into Manchester city centre. I videoed my ride around some random streets, and added some music, and here it is.

Okay, it’s no C’etait Un Rendezvous, but I had fun. If someone would like to lend me an electric motored mountain bike, and maybe some GoPros, I’d have a go at a point to point across the city centre, with a higher speed up the hills, and overall. (I might set out later, though. I hadn’t expected there to be so many people still around at 5am. Maybe at 7 or 8, the clubbers would mostly have made it home, and there’d be fewer cabs on the road.)


The Ruins of Manchester

I get around to most jobs, eventually.

For years, I’ve been taking pictures of run-down and characterful buildings in and around Manchester (and elsewhere, when I’ve been able to visit other cities). I’ve finally started uploading them to Redbubble, so you can get them printed onto various items. Every image is available as a card, but some of them are also available on mugs, phone and tablet covers, and as larger prints. You can even get a redbrick miniskirt.

I’m only up to 2010 so far, so there’s more to come. Keep dropping in to see what’s new. Ruins of Manchester isn’t the only series I’m doing. I’ve got other photos, and several designs, that are also available. Check out all my works here.


Paramount Books

Paramount Books

Paramount Books is the shop I wish I bought more stuff from. If I had more money, and a lot more bookshelf space, I could happily go wild in this shop. As it is, I’ll pop in every so often to pick up a few old copies of Starblazer or similar sized cowboy adventures or romances.

It’s only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so you can’t always pop in on a whim. There was a worrying time, last year, I think, when it looked like it might be closing down. As it’s still there, I shall continue topping up my Starblazer collection.


Who’d have thought that Police cuts would lead to an increase in crime?

I’ve heard of people being told that the crime against them won’t be investigated because the sum stolen was too low. Even though the criminal had cleared out their bank account. If they were wealthier, perhaps the Police would have investigated, but poor folks aren’t covered because the return is too low.

Something to remember when I get started on the next Rain and Bullets story.

Crime is rising in the region as crooks ‘take advantage’ of policing cuts, force insiders and fed-up victims have told the Manchester Evening News.

Home Office figures show that crime rose by 31 per cent – an additional 70,000 crimes – in the year up to June 2017.

The statistic represents a crime report every two minutes.

Source: ‘We can’t keep up’ – crime rising as crooks take advantage of police cuts – Manchester Evening News