Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Weekend: New Islington, Mayflies

Remember last year's New Islington festival? Uh... I remember that there was one... something about a spurting man and a barge? This year its being billed as The Urban Folk Festival for Urban Folk. Urban as in Urban Splash, developers of that rebranded bit of Ancoats, geddit? Anyway, it's 2-8 pm around Old Mill Street, and it's free.

And the music is by (drumroll please) D.percussion, making a "secret return" after saying this year's fest was the last. Not sure this is a real selling point in Manc these days. The list of performers, spread over three stages, doesn't ring a lot of bells for me. Psychedelic outfit the Beep Seals, Magic Arm and a bunch of other local bands and DJs. Contrary to what the "urban folk festival" tagline leads you to expect, there are only a tiny handful of folk performers including Mancunian folkstress Kathryn Edwards. Would've been nice if they actually had given us an urban folk festival, instead of the usual teeth-grinding mix of Manc djs spinning the usual thumpy whatever. Basically, it's going to be D.Percussion with fairy cakes.

Fortunately, there's the indie-tastic Manchester Book Market, where you can meet some of those hardworking literary magazine editors and small press folks. There's readings from Anthony Joseph, Lemn Sissay (though he was a no-show last year) the brilliant flash-fiction writer David Gaffney, Tony Walsh, John Siddique, and a mess of poets and writers you may not necessarily have heard of before but you never know one or two of them might be pretty decent, all compered by Chloe Poems. There's also a series of specially commissioned shorts from local filmmakers.

There's also some twee activities involving vintage cakes, wellies and eek, pedalos on the canal. Yeah, that canal in the picture above. A lot of it sounds harmlessly annoying along the lines of Mr. Scruff's sodding tea tent. But then there's the nu rave sheep pen. "Graffiti artists will spray designs on live sheep while listening in the best in nu-rave club sounds." Oh sweet Jesus, that's wrong in eleven different ways at once.

At the same time, across town in Cornerhouse, Mayflies flits into town to bring us a day of arty hijinks. Between 11 and 5:30, artist BBB Johannes Deimling will perform Don't Hurt Me in the public spaces of the Cornerhouse building. His works often "provoke unconscious fears using an undercurrent of bizarre humour." Scary and funny? Sounds good. Up in the gallery they'll be screening Kleinodtotsod, a video work by John Bock that hints at the malevolent nature of domestic space. Then at 6 there's a screening of the Mayflies film programme, with works by George Barber, Deborah Bower, Wojciech Bruszewski, Michelle Handelman and Ben Rivers. (entry to the films is £3 and includes a drink, booking reccomended.)

Oh, and you can't get in if you've been within ten feet of the nu-rave sheep pen. They'll be checking.


Anonymous said...

Surprisingly pissy about people that like dance music there, aren'tcha. Glad you didn't condescend to post re. AHW.

Wake up america you're dead. Still.

Kate Feld said...

Gee, anonymous, if I was being pissy about people who like dance music I'd be being pissy about myself. In fact, that's why the eternal shitness of the D.Percussion line up always irks me so. Because I want it to be good, and it never is. And in my experience, bad dance music is about a million times worse than bad live music.