Manchester


Inside London Road Fire Station

London Road Fire Station

London Road Fire Station opened its doors yesterday, as the developers showed off some of their plans for its future. I headed down to get a glimpse inside, after all these years, and take some photos.

I’ll put exterior shots into the same folder, if I ever find any that I’ve taken. I was positive I had some, but haven’t found them yet.


Petition · Trafford Council: Stretford’s Essoldo Should Be Compulsory Purchase · Change.org 1

I’ve always rather liked the curved frontage of the old Essoldo cinema in Stretford. I think it was a bongo hall when I first came to Manchester, and I believe it housed a roller rink at some point as well. Some of its original grandeur was lost to road widening in the sixties or seventies, and it would be a shame if what’s left of the building simply rotted away.

It’s not as great an architectural crime as doing nothing with London Road Fire Station for over twenty five years, but it is a waste of an interesting building, so I support this petition calling on Trafford Council to make a compulsory purchase and find a community use for it.

Source: Petition · Trafford Council: Stretford’s Essoldo Should Be Compulsory Purchase · Change.org


Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year 2016

Against the trend of the month, yesterday morning was sunny, if windy. Which was good for the Chinese New Year parade. Here are a few pictures of dragons and other paraders.

After the parade, I needed a couple of coffees to warm up again. By the time I’d finished them, the weather had changed again, and there was hail coming down.


The collapse of the Biospheric Foundation

I visited the Biospheric Foundation a couple of times during the 2013 Manchester International Festival. It was an interesting project, taking first steps towards a self contained urban farm.

Sadly, it has gone bust, with over £100,000 in debts and tales of bad behaviour and rotten business practices from people who worked with it.

It’s a terrible shame, and it’s likely to put people off funding similar projects, which just makes it worse.


New owner for Manchester landmark London Road Fire Station

Some, potentially, good news. London Road Fire Station has been sold to developerswho actually appear able to get things done with their properties.

The building has been sitting there, waiting for a new lease of life, since before I arrived in Manchester an unmentionable number of years ago. I’d really like to see something done with it.

I’d really like to see inside it before any work begins, as well. I wonder who I have to ask about that?

Grade II*-listed central Manchester landmark London Road Fire Station is to be sold to Spinningfields developer Allied London and be renamed Manchester Firehouse. Originally opened in 1906 as a fire, police and ambulance station as well as a coroner’s court, the building had lain empty under its previous owner since 1986 – although it did have planning permission to be redeveloped into a hotel.

Source: New owner for Manchester landmark London Road Fire Station


Disrupt

When I’m earning enough (buy my books!) I’m going to donate to causes like Reclaim. Its Disruptive Leaders initiative is playing the long game against the corruption of wealth and patronage that gave us the current bunch of immoral idiots ruining the country. It’ll take a lot of years to have an effect, so it’s good they’ve started already.


80,000 people walking around Manchester

TUC Anti Austerity Demo

Here’s a slideshow of some of the pictures I took at yesterday’s TUC march.

Police estimated 60,000 turned up, the organisers said up to 100,000. The true number’s usually halfway between the two. I was quite near the front, so I got to see Billy Bragg perform before we set off, and got a seat in Castlefield Arena before the Police started claiming it was full up (it was nowhere near full up, don’t know why they’d make such nonsense claims). After getting the word out, several thousand more folk got in.

The event had a positive vibe, overall. Sure, there’s a lot of anger at the disastrous and callous shower currently in Government, but the turnout showed there’s a strong, and growing opposition to their plans to destroy the country for profit. And some of the pig related signs were excellent.

80,000 people marched, and there were only 6 arrests. The Police themselves put out a release saying the event was peaceful. However, most of the media coverage dwelt on those arrests, the one Tory hit by an egg and the journalists hassled by anarchists. Stuff that shouldn’t have happened, sure, but a tiny, unrepresentative part of the march as a whole. The Press have their narrative, and it’s that we’re a bunch of disrespectful yobs, because heaven forbid they show their viewers and readers the validity and wide base of support there is for opposition to austerity. It just shows that the premise for Kettled was valid. (Yes, I did just plug one of my books. :-P)

So, if you were there, tell friends, family and colleagues how much fun it was. Show them photos like these that depict what it was really like. Undermine their belief in the negative spin they’re getting from the papers and TV. We don’t have the media on our side, but we do have the power of word of mouth- from sources more easily trusted than the papers. Spread the word.


Kettled- Rain and Bullets 4

kETTLED-CVR-200Kettled is published on October 2nd. Pre-order your copy now.

The Tories are in Manchester, and thousands have turned out to protest their presence.

In the midst of the peaceful protest, a small group of hired troublemakers are planning to cause trouble. They want to start a riot, to distract from the demo’s message, and usher in new laws.

Irwin has been working with an MI5 agent to track them down before they can do any damage. But now, she has been stabbed, and he is trapped in a big crowd being held on a square by Police. Just the right place to start a fight.

With the reluctant help of Kay Wood, Irwin must track down the troublemakers before it’s too late, and find out who stabbed the MI5 agent.


Just your average Saturday in the city

Another Saturday in the city
The National Front were in town on Saturday, all ten of them. I went along to get some pictures. Mostly, I needed shots of Police doing crowd control, as reference for a planned book cover, but getting some images of the white shame parade was also a plan.

I ended up wandering around for a while, before the yobs finally came out of the pub. I saw a, completely unrelated, gathering of- I think- Palestinians; a wedding party on a vintage bus; some graffiti; and (though I didn’t get any pictures) a junior athletics event.

Finally, the knuckle draggers made their way toward Piccadilly. Here, they met a much, much larger group of anti-fascists, and had their speeches drowned out by a sound system. After an hour or so of posturing, they were ushered onto a double decker (they didn’t fill it) and taken away.

These ‘White Pride’ marches seem to be happening more often, but the turnout is dropping incredibly each time. Those of us who go along to take photos or chant are really giving them more attention than they deserve. But, hey, I had an interesting afternoon out around town.


Taking to the streets

Anti Austerity demo Manchester, May 23rd 2015

I’m not one of life’s chanters. I get all self conscious about it and it never feels comfortable*. Nonetheless, this feels like a year where I need to be in the demos, part of the numbers swelling the crowd, if not part of the noise it makes.

Anti Austerity demo Manchester, May 23rd 2015

So, yesterday, I was part of the anti austerity demo which assembled in Piccadilly Gardens. Police say there were 500 of us, the organisers claim 2000. I always presume the truth is halfway between the two claims.

Anti Austerity demo Manchester, May 23rd 2015

I was there with some of Salford Greens.

Anti Austerity demo Manchester, May 23rd 2015

There were speakers and singers, and, in smaller groups, we headed to the homeless camp on St Ann’s Square. This is one of the reasons it’s hard to get a solid turnout figure, because the demo was fluid, with break aways heading down Market Street or off to Albert Square, and returning, all the time.

Anti Austerity demo Manchester, May 23rd 2015

Just to make things more interesting, the Green mini-march bumped into a Hare Krishna procession at the bottom of Market Street.

Anti Austerity demo Manchester, May 23rd 2015

And, just as we were entering St Ann’s Square, these guys were coming out. I don’t know if they were associated with the demo in Piccadilly, or doing their own thing.

Anti Austerity demo Manchester, May 23rd 2015

This is, mostly, the Manchester Green Party contingent of the demo.

Anti Austerity demo Manchester, May 23rd 2015

Ding Dong. I promised this guy I’d crop his face out if I posted the picture online.

There are a few more photos in the album at Flickr.

*I have weird boundaries. I’ll happily cycle through the city centre without clothes on as part of the World Naked Bike Ride, but I have a hard time talking to new people- no matter the state of our attire- or shouting out rhyming couplets about what I’m doing.


London Road Fire Station: exclusive images give glimpse inside historic building for first time in 10 years – Manchester Evening News


And the M.E.N. can reveal Capital & Centric, the firm behind Manchester’s planned new Kampus quarter, are considering a swoop for the controversial building

Source: London Road Fire Station: exclusive images give glimpse inside historic building for first time in 10 years – Manchester Evening News