Friday, June 30, 2006

Film fest shock!

Commonwealth Film Festival is closing June 30, for good.

This is bad news. Every year the festival showed an intriguing programme of films that might have trouble finding an audience otherwise, particularly emerging Asian cinema. When was the last time you saw a Malaysian movie at the cineplex?

It's not clear from the website why the festival is closing - and the way things are worded here, suggests that it was only intended to run for five years. If this was to be the last year all along, you'd think it would have been mentioned in the literature for this year's fest, but it wasn't. I'm guessing that money is the problem...

The Commonwealth, as an entity, doesn't seem to hold much water these days, and for younger folks it may actually possess a negative association, a reminder of Britain's distasteful imperial past. The film fest was launched in the runup to the Commonwealth Games, and managed to keep going for five years, which is a credit to its great staff. But festivals and organisations launched for such milestones (e.g. Capital of Culture) aren't always sustainable once the raft of grants and funding floats away to the next big cultural thing.

However, there's some good news too. I got this email today:

*Kinofilm launches MiFF... Manchester International Film Festival

*Filmmakers and lovers of cinema need to start planning right now
for a trip to Manchester between *26th October to 4th November
2007,* when *Kinofilm* launches the new biennial *Manchester
International Film Festival*. The new festival will combine an
eclectic mix of *Features, Shorts, Animation and Documentary*, and
will showcase exclusive premieres and outstanding new talent.

As well as promising to bring a feast of *International Independent
Cinema* to the *City of Manchester*, the festival will provide a
much needed platform for talented filmmakers from the UK, many of
whom have successfully made the transition from shorts to features.
The *Manchester International Film Festival* will champion original,
low budget and independent new features, and will include
retrospectives of such directors as *Lynne Ramsay *and* Damien O¹
Donnell* both of whom gained important early exposure through

What's up with all the *asterisks?* I have no clue either, but a new film festival is a good thing for the city, and a biennial one should be easier to sustain.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Okay, it's a World Cup post

Got back from the motherland yesterday morning, still a little jetlagged and bleary.

I expected my month in the states to be a World Cup-free experience, but to my surprise soccer does seem to be taking off - a bit - in the states. Of course, it'd take off a lot faster if we didn't play so dismally, but, even so. I watched part of the USA-Italy match crowded around a tiny tv during a wedding reception with a room full of unexpectedly into-it soccer fans (the mother of the bride kicked us out around halftime because they needed the space for pictures) and even in rural Vermont, it wasn't hard to find bars showing the games. It's always been big in New York, probably because of the huge immigrant population, but lately soccer seems to have become the cool sport to follow in media circles. Still, I was more interested in watching the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Edmonton Oilers in the action-packed Stanley Cup finals (that's ice hockey, folks.) I didn't want to go nuts watching football over there because I knew that when I got back to blighty it'd be football city morning noon and night.

And it is. Oh yes, it is. It's like a St. George's cross bomb exploded in Tesco. My partner and I drove into Liverpool today, and we walked by a bar with a big sign:



Everyone's getting into it. A barber's in Walton had this one:

And then went to lunch at the London Carriage Works, the posh-but-reasonable-for-lunch restaurant attached to the very tasteful Hope Street Hotel. The food was good. They handed us this card with our bill:

Throughout the World Cup, the Residents' Lounge will be screening all the major games so you can enjoy the tournament in luxury. You will receive first class table service throughout the game so you need not miss a minute of action!

Watching the match in luxury seems somehow wrong, though. Don't you have to be in a pub full of sweaty, shouting blokes clutching pints of lager?

Oh, and the picture is actually England flag contact lenses. No joke.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Time Out IS coming...

Time Out to launch Manchester, Liverpool eds in February (Independent)
But first they need to raise a million quid.

(Thanks to alert reader Kate T. for the tip-off)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Mighty mighty

DPercussion might be cancelled, The Music Box and Jilly's might be converted into a Tesco, and Band on the Wall might never reopen. Hmmm.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

New blog about food

Oops, forgot to include this new foodie blog in my roundup the other day. Moreish is a blog about "living deliciously in the Northwest", and looks to feature the best of the region's food and drink: From parkin to pho bo, from vimto to vol au vent, if it's good (or exceptionally bad) then I'm going to write about it. I'll uncover culinary mysteries, tracking down the fabled "slappy" in its natural habitat, scouring remote moorlands for forgotten pubs, and unearthing the last Temperance Hall in existence.

Moreish's first few posts include a review of the Three Fishes in Mitton and a description of a farmer's market at Hoghton Tower near Preston.

Monday, June 12, 2006

New kids on the blog

News of a few new Mancunian blogs has crossed the Atlantic to Vermont (where it has been raining since I arrived, natch...) and we have three additions to the blogroll this week.

First up is Mancubist, a blog connected with music promotion outfit Hey! Manchester. The Mancubist describes the blog as a different take on the Mancunian identity. "I'm just a fan of Manchester - though neither red nor blue - and arts, music, media and life in this fair city. I'm one of those weird people who like the rain." And there's no connection with the Londonist or Gothamist blogs, in case you were wondering - he just liked the name. He's started out with some really interesting posts about sundry things like Chinatown bakeries and The Salford Star, a new "grassroots glossy" Salford-centric mag to be distributed free across the river.

Then we have Continuity in Architecture, a blog run by academics and architects in Manchester and Preston. It's hooked up with the Manchester School of Architecture, where CiA is a teaching studio. It is, naturally, pretty heady stuff, but a lively writing style and interesting topics keep it from becoming totally inacessible to those outside of the industry. Those with a healthy side interest in buildings and stuff (and there are lots of you in Manchester, I know) may want to check in regularly - recent posts explore wayfaring, facades and the evolution of Rome's Porta Maggiore.

Finally, ConnectMedia Northwest is a professional network that holds workshops and get-togethers for journos, photogs and flacks in the Manchester area (the next one is Wed, see site for details.) They also host a blog, and sitemeister Craig always has his eye out for interesting media tidbits, like this recent item about the MEN's foray into blogging. Cool.

(Thanks to Lord Rich of Manchester Bloggers Aggregator for the new blog tips.)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Blog meet in July

Hi y'all. I'd like to organise another Manchester blog meet for a Saturday or Sunday in late July. It's nice to get the blogging brethren together for a cup of tea from time to time, and I also have some news to share about a blogging event that's going to happen during the first annual Manchester Literature Festival this coming Autumn, one that lots of you should be involved in.

This is going to be an hour-or-so-long casual meet somewhere in the city centre. So, I'm putting this out there to solicit input about what's a good day/time/location for people, and also to see if anyone has anything else that they'd like to talk about at the meeting (new blog-related projects, burning questions about templates, etc...) Please respond in the comments with your thoughts, or you can also email me at themanchizzle at gmail dot com.

And... I'm just about to do another new bloggers post, so let me know if you've got any new candidates for the blogroll.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

NW Enquirer gives blogs some space

I just noticed that the North West Enquirer has started a new online feature called North West Blogwatch, where they excerpt NW blogs. They've already featured some folks who are on the blogroll, but if you want to let them know about your blog then there's a form you can submit on the blogwatch page. Should hopefully get some new folks into blogging, or at least bring us more readers. And it's nice to see a newspaper with some net savvy - Their website is more user-friendly than most, and they had RSS feeds up from day one.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

YouTube hearts Salford

Okay, so I am supposed to be on vacation, but having some free time on my hands I just dipped a cautious toe into the ocean of amateur video bizzareness that is YouTube, and I found some Salford-related goodies that I just had to share:

1. "The Salford Lad"
A clean-cut yet angsty young man walks awkwardly through what could be the rougher bits of Salford and... eventually... smokes a cigarette. Apparently the homemade video for a German(?) band's homage to Manc urban blight. I don't speak German, so I'd love to know what they're saying (C?) but I think that the chorus is something like "three cheers for the Salford Lad!" What, no hoodie?

2. The Salford Lads Club
Some slightly more famous Salford Lads, and a performance of The Queen is Dead from a 1986 gig at Salford University Students Union. Look how young the Mozmeister is!

3. The Salford Lads Fight Club
"Hold on tight, because the most incredible kung fu adventure, ever, is about to begin." The Dragon Fist Fighters unleash their righteous fury on Salford. Oh my gawd.