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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.)


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.


FittedUK 2019

FittedUK 2019

I know, I know. What’s a Green Party member doing at a car show?

I like cars, particularly ones with a bit of individuality. If I ever get to the point where I can afford to run one, switching it to electric power will be part of the customisation. Until then, I’ll enjoy the looks and styling of other folks’ rides, and steal ideas for models for the Spinneyworld Shop.

Enjoy the Flickr album. You may have to click on the image to go to the site, depending upon how temperamental the embedding code is being today.

I just got a second hand digital SLR, so I was trying it out and experimenting with settings a bit. There was definitely a lot less noise than I got from the last camera I used in EventCity, but even with aperture priority set to its widest, and ISO at 800, exposure times were enough to introduce the occasional blur from shaking. I’ve not included the worst of those, of course. And cars with darker paint jobs are less well represented as well. The autofocus had issues differentiating them from dark backgrounds.


A Death In Didsbury

A Death In Didsbury is available from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online stores.

When a woman is shot dead on a quiet street of trendy shops, Detective Sergeant Kay Wood is reunited with an old acquaintance, and has to work with retired intelligence analyst Irwin Baker to help them out.

Unexpected violence flares on the streets of the Manchester suburb of Didsbury, and the investigation is soon tangled up in links to Russia and crimes dating back to the Second World War. As the intelligence services are drawn into the mystery, two witnesses find their lives turned up side down, and threatened, by their connection to the victim.


Where To Buy My Stuff

I thought it would be a good idea to collect together a list of the various places you can find my creations, so you can see all the cool things I’ve created, and buy loads of them.

Books

The obvious place to start. Under my own name, I’m selling on Amazon and Smashwords. These are the two shops I upload to directly, but Smashwords also distributes them to Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and more. They’re also available from Apple iBooks, but I can’t link directly to my books, I think you’ll need an account to search for me. Do a search on your favourite ebook shop, and you’ll probably find mne. If your local library gets their ebooks through a service called Overdrive, you can borrow my books from them.

As Garth Owen, I’m on Amazon and Smashwords. And, of course, there’s also Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and more. They’re also on Apple iBooks, and others. He’s on Overdriveas well.

Patreon

If you’d like to help keep my cash flow level as I create the stuff you love, then you can support me on Patreon. Patrons at the basic level ($1 a month) get to see my current work-in-progress as it develops. There are also $2.50 and $20 a month levels. $2.50 gets you early access to the comic I’m working on, and ebooks when they’re published. $20 supporters will get signed paperbacks. The more support I can get, the more time I can give to the projects, and supporters will get more stuff, faster.

Art, Design, and Photos

I use Redbubble to sell my designs and photographs printed on clothes, cards, and more.

Hand made and physical items are available from my Zibbet shop, which includes cool vintage stuff I’ve found, as well as my own creations.

My 3D designs, mostly modelling components, can be ordered from Shapeways. I started out creating bits I needed for my own and my father’s projects, but I’m expanding the range now based upon input from other modellers. If you have something particular you’d like to see built, drop me a line on the site.

Vintage and Collectible

Zibbet isn’t the only place where I sell interesting old stuff. I’ve got several listings for old postcards and other cool stuff on Delcampe. The front page of my shop could be better laid out, but it’s a good auction site once you get into it.


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.


What Is The City But The People

What Is The City But the People

This year’s Manchester International Festival opened with What Is The City But The People? Created by the same guy who did the original Manchester Day, it was a wonderful slice of city life, weaving narratives around shared and separate experiences.

I had the camera in the phone on burst shots- five of everything- and I hope I’ve picked the best of them for the album.