BBC News – How Danger Mouse became king of the TV ratings

Thirty years ago children’s cartoon Danger Mouse topped the TV ratings, beating even Coronation Street. But what happened to the legendary Manchester animation house Cosgrove Hall Films, which created the rodent secret agent?

Voiced by Only Fools And Horses star David Jason, Danger Mouse was the flagship of Cosgrove Hall Films, based in a quirky studio in the Manchester suburb of Chorlton-cum-Hardy.

via BBC News – How Danger Mouse became king of the TV ratings.

Chorlton Green Festival

Chorlton Green Festival

Chorlton Green Festival was on Saturday. It was overcast but didn’t rain in the end, luckily for all the stalls that were outside. I chatted to Friends of the Earth and the local Green Party, blagged quite a few goodies and picked up a few leaflets.

Practical Cycles had a load of interesting bikes.

Manchester Free Software gave me a Linux boot disk. I may soon be in the position to det up a Linux box, if only to re-learn how to use it.

Little Valley Brewery had many interesting beers, but I didn’t think midday drinking, and potential falling off my bike, was such a good idea.

There are more pictures on Flickr.

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Objects of Desire- More Morris Minors

I’m not obsessed, honest, it’s just that all of a sudden I’m seeing them everywhere. I think it might have something to do with the Morris Minor Millennium Company, which is on Upper Chorlton Road.

This bunch were all in Chorlton, there was a cabriolet as well, but I spotted that whilst I was on my bike.

Chorlton Morris Minor Chorlton Morris Minor Chorlton Morris Minor Morris Minor Traveller Morris Minor Traveller

Fiction- Ron

Notes I’m working my way through the archives looking for stuff to collate into a book of short, and very short, fiction. It’s inspired in part by some of Warren Ellis’s musings on the papernet. I’ve been sticking little chunks of fiction on here for a while. Some have been set ups for longer stories that never happened, others were self contained. This piece followed Tribes and All Stood Still but, as far as I can tell, has never appeared on the blog before. It’s an experiment in layout and dialogue which may be a bit of a mess. I fully expect to go back in and tweak the html.


I’m Ron. It’s short for Saffron.

Oh. Right. I’m Sam.



Did you just see…..?

Yeah. On the dancefloor?




I saw someone do that in TK Maxx this morning.

I saw it on Market Street.

This is fucked up.

Yeah. Er, wanna drink?




So what?

So, who you buying a drink for?




Damn, that’s one short transvestite.

Short for Saffron.

I’m not sure that’s any better.


Two bottles of Brown, please.


Who’s your friend?


Some sort of karmic G love thing?


I don’t know. It just…. Sort of…… Sounded right.

He saw it too.

The… It, the…. thing? In TK Maxx?

Here. There was one on the dancefloor.

There are a lot of freaks on the dancefloor, Ron.

That appear from thin air?


No. I guess not.


Brown. This is Dave.








Oh. I love this song. Seeyas.





I should take the hint, shouldn’t I?

See you later.




I told Sarah.

About the… people appearing from nowhere.


She thinks I’m crazy, I think.

I think I’m crazy.

But I wouldn’t dare assess your sanity.

Crap to this. You dancing?



Sam. Could you be any more beige?

It’s what I wear, alright.

I don’t like jeans.

Do you own any black?

Some. No trousers.

Why do you come here?

Dave’s got a bad goth habit.

Hey, so I do goths from time to time. I can handle it.

See? My jacket’s black.

Flasher mac.

Where are you heading?

I’m in Rusholme. He’s in Longsight.

We’re in Chorlton, or we’d offer to share a cab.

There are normally a few outside the hotel, up there.

Bus stop’s just down here.


I thought you were catching the bus?

Oh I am. I just thought….

Can I have your number? So we can talk about…. y’know.




That’s work on the front, but the number on the back’s my mobile.

Okay. See you.


Thoughts from Paris

It would have been nice to have someone to share Paris with, but I love the freedom to just head off in a direction because it looks interesting and chase down whims. My feet didn’t appreciate it, but the blisters will go down.

Every time I visit another city or country- and I’ve visited more in the last year than the previous decade- I seek out hidden corners and interesting museums. And then I vow that I should do the same when I get back to Manchester. I’m making the vow again, let’s see if I can keep to it.

Comparing Manchester to three capitals- London, Paris and Budapest- and New York is to risk diminishing it. It doesn’t have the scale, and it certainly doesn’t have the grand boulevards, of Paris, Budapest and NYC. As the first industrial city it is one of the most important places of the last two centuries, but it’s a sort of geek history, lacking the populist narratives of bombardment, occupation, liberation and unrest. Nonetheless, it punches above its weight, and it’s home. Certainly, if someone were to fund it, I’d move to Paris or Manhattan. But that’s not going to happen so I’m staying put and seeing if a few of the better foreign ideas make it to the dirty old town.

The first thing we need to do, which may come about because of the congestion charge, is sort out public transport. Even London is doing a better job of it than we are. Budapest probably did it best- one ticket for bus, tram, RER and Metro. Oxford Road may be the busiest bus route in Europe, but only because there are so many different companies competing for business on it. Stagecoach charges twice as much as Finglands for the same service with vehicles that are only slightly better. Meanwhile, radial routes suffer. It’s not impossible to get from Withington to Chorlton, but it’s not exactly easy either. Let’s re-regulate the buses and/or subsidise the secondary routes.

Budapest and Paris were both more bike friendly than Manchester. The proliferation of Velib bike stands in Paris meant that even people British non-cyclists might label as “normal” could be seen pottering around on two wheels. Next time I visit I’m packing jeans and a backpack and braving the mad French drivers. In Manchester we’re tolerated at best. One only has to read the comments on any Manchester Evening News story about bikes to gauge the low opinion too many drivers have of us I’m sure some of the commenters have chosen to pick on cyclists because it’s no longer acceptable to be openly racist. Few of the suggestions arising from these discussions would be much practical use. The only way to make cyclists safer, for themselves and others, is to get more of them onto the streets.

I’ll do my part, promoting cycling wherever possible and just getting out there as much as possible. I’ll also see what I can find out about the cycling part of the council’s pre congestion charge plans and report on them over at Two Wheels Good.

Urban exploration- wandering along abandoned railway lines

Waiting for the Ghost Train
Originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

Inspired by the Play exhibition at Urbis and because I’ve been meaning to do it for a while, I went for a wander along some abandoned railway lines earlier today. I’d found a gate, just off Lapwing Lane, that would let me into the overgrown cutting I’ve often looked at from the bridge on Burton Road. I closed it behind me and carefully half slid, half walked down the embankment.

I found myself on an old platform, which research tells me was for the Albert Park station on the Manchester South District line. From here I headed west toward Chorlton. I’ve watched too much CSI, so it was quite eerie at first. This sort of slightly naughty wander is always interrupted by the discovery of a body. When none was forthcoming I became more confident and strode toward the Burton Road bridge.

Just before the bridge is a potential future archaeological site. Rubbish, old televisions and unwanted toys have all been thrown over the back fences of the houses on one side. It’s pathetic, really, but fascinating at the same time.

The wander in this direction didn’t get much further. The bottom of the cutting is a pond, from side to side. I got a short way in, but soon discovered that at least one of my boots is no longer waterproof. I headed back the other way.

There are some very large trees down in the cutting. I think the line was abandoned in the ’60s, so they’ve had long enough to grow. A fair few were blown over in the storms earlier this year and had to be clambered over. Close to the bridge under the Lapwing Lane/ Palatine Road junction, the cutting became a pond again. I’ll have to try this again in the summer. If it’s as hot as promised it may be dry down here. Alternatively, I guess I could find some wellingtons.

This part of my wander was a bit disappointing, being quite short, so I followed the alleys alongside the railway toward Chorlton and rejoined it on the far side of Princess Road. This section is open and even has a footpath along it, so wasn’t as much fun. I did discover a small BMX track, possibly abandoned given how overgrown it is, and joined the cycle path near St. Werburgh’s Road.

All in all, quite a pleasant morning out and about. There’s a set of photos up on Flickr.

So Much To Answer For- Part 8


“Hello. Is that Rachel?”

“That’s me.”

“It’s Joe Wilkinson. We talked yesterday. About you buying some of my art?”

“Hey! How are you?”

“I’m good. I’m good.” Joe lied. He was too frustrated to work and had wandered for a few hours. Now he was in Chorlton Water Park, confusing the geese by throwing stones as if they were bread. “You said to call you today. To arrange a meeting.”

“Of course. Look, I’m booked up for the rest of the day. How about we meet this evening?”

“Okay. Where and when?”

“Seven o’clock in Kro on Piccadilly. I know how to find that.”


“I’ll see you there then. Bye.”


Now Joe was horny rather than frustrated. Just the right state of mind to paint. He stopped messing with the waterfowl and headed for the studio.

Part 9
Part 7
Part 1

NaNoWriMo Progress

Notes No update on Monday, because I’ll be far too busy all day. Normal service will resume on Tuesday.

Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.

Fiction, ,

Just put my remains in a cheap box and grill me

Yesterday I spent a few hours wandering around the sprawling Southern Cemetery in Chorlton. One thought that formed whilst staring at headstones was that I want (in 60+ years preferably) to be buried in a biodegradable coffin with a tree planted on top of me. I’ll work on other ways to create lasting memorials to satisfy my eternal ego. I was going to do some research and post on the subject but, coincidentally, City Hippy did just that today.

(Title from Second to last will and testament – Carter USM)

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Life On Mars

Life on Mars was one of those TV series that (almost) everyone talked about. Not enough to make me want to go and get a television again, but enough that it’s now in my Amazon rentals list.

Also out tomorrow- Jarhead, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels special edition

Recent releases- Brokeback Mountain, Nightwatch, The Producers

Coming soon- Aeon Flux, The New World, Seven Swords, Memoirs of a Geisha, Mirrormask, Munich, My name is Modesty, Chorlton and the Wheelies, Spaced: Definitive Collectors Edition, Lucky Numver Slevin

All titles in bold I’ve seen and recommend, the others have been added to my rentals list.

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Chorlton Arts Festival

FRIDAY 19 – SUNDAY 28 MAY 2006

Welcome to the 5th Chorlton Arts Festival. This year brings the biggest programme to date, with over 80 performances, in over 40 different venues, over 8 days. There is everything you could wish for: dance, drama, music, poetry, film, art exhibitions, the arts in schools programme, and the annual arts trail on the meadows of Chorlton Ees.

via Why Did I Go Wrong

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Lies, damned lies…….

Shipped Item Report For spinneyhead, October 1, 2004 – December 31, 2004


The Whole House Book: Ecological Building Design and Materials (New Futures)

Art of Imagination: 20th Century Visions of Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy

Pyramide: AS: Student Book

Gareth McConnell

Going Postal (Discworld S.)

The Pillars of Creation (Gollancz SF S.)

The Wishsong of Shannara (The Shannara Series)

Knights of Madness

The First King of Shannara (Prequel to the Shannara Series)

The Wizards of Odd: Comic Tales of Fantasy

Mammoth Book of Seriously Comic Fantasy (Mammoth)

The Flying Sorcerers

White Wolf

Where Did It All Go Right?: Growing Up Normal In the 70s

The Essence of Happiness: A Guidebook for Living

501 French Verbs

How Do Aeroplanes Fly? (Ask Isaac Asimov S.)

The Little Book of Wisdom


Golddiggas, Headnodders & Pholk Songs


Franz Ferdinand

Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned


Video Games

Halo 2 – Limited Edition In Metal Box

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas


The Ultimate Matrix Collection – Limited Edition with Figurine and Collector’s Book [1998]

Harry Potter Six Disc Box Set: The Philosopher’s Stone / The Chamber of Secrets / The Prisoner of Azkaban

Superman [1978]

The Complete Chorlton & the Wheelies: Series One [1976]

Top Ten click throughs of 2004

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas 177

Another Education: AND Ruby Red 134

Northern Soul Memories Vol.1 124

Steppin’ Out 83

Coupling: Complete Series 3 79

Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars 78

The Best of Van Morrison 77

Sixpence None the Richer 75

Never Loved Elvis 75

The La’s 75

Alice in Sunderland

Bryan Talbot, one of Britain’s finest artists, has completed a 250 page graphic novel about Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell and the nature of storytelling. Amazingly, he doesn’t have a publisher for it!
This is the guy who wrote and drew one of the greatest comic stories ever- The Adventures of Luther Arkwright (criminally the full version is unavailable at Amazon, though they do have one of the books Gotterdammerung)- the most borrowed graphic novel from libraries- Tale of One Bad Rat and the gorgeous and intricate Heart of Empire. He’s also contributed to more than his fair share of comics icons.
I highly recommend a potter around and check out the Heart of Empire CD rom, which is rarely more than an arm’s length from the PC and will be heavily referenced for storytelling tips when I sit down to write my Union Jack proposal.
And finally- the man himself is doing a talk at Longsight library in July. I went to see him at Chorlton last February and it was a very informative talk, so I’m up to doing it again.

Busy day.

I bought the bike. It was practically half price, and still quite expensive. To be honest, it’s probably more bike than my current riding ability deserves, but I guess I’ll just have to improve.

Then this evening, I went to see a talk by Bryan Talbot at Chorlton library. Very interesting, I learnt a lot about page layout, pacing, speech ballon placement and colour. A lot of it is stuff that’s lodged in your subconcious if you’ve read enough comics, but it’s good to hear a master of the art on the subject. You absolutely must buy Tale of One Bad Rat, one of the best graphic novels ever.

I feel a little embarassed to mention Bulletproof Poets after talking about the man. But, hey, here’s page twelve.